I'm very familiar with the lore of the Halo franchise, and it's great to see the expansion of content over the years. The Halo Omnibus Volume 1 contains a series of comics. This includes the entirety of the "Initiation" run and "Escalation" issues up to twelve. The general narrative follows the journey of Sarah Palmer as she becomes a Spartan. It's based around her, and the Spartans that she directly works with. This is a new generation of that program.
It largely covers the latest attempt at the program, while digging into the back story of events between the games. It's set between the aftermath of Halo 4, and prior to Halo 5: Guardians. It sets up a number of stories present within the game, while taking care of loose threads. It's actually really interesting if you're wanting additional context for the random placement that occurs within the fifth main entry of the Halo franchise.
That aside, I've never found Palmer to be a particularly interesting character. It's great that they build her up to be something special in this, but I wasn't too blown away by her journey. She appears to just be another powerful, loyal soldier to the UNSC. That aside, if you're a fan you'll get full details on some of the work she does to get where she is.
With this being a series of comics, it features tons of artwork with text dialogue added over top. For the most part the panels are heavily detailed, featuring designs that are true to the franchise. You'll get to see a number of familiar characters from the games, while also getting details about others that sneak throughout the lore.
The general focus of this omnibus is to build towards certain events while presenting separate stories. There are points of intersection, and these parts provided a decent pay-off. I found the area that went over what The Master Chief has been up to, to be the most interesting element. Some of the parts felt a bit off in terms of not exactly building action though narrative is always at the forefront.
There are many parts of the Halo universe covered here, and while the flow feels random at times it does keep itself relatively cohesive. The collection feels like a quality package with thick pages, and beautiful cover art. There are even some lovely extra behind the scenes inclusions. I also appreciate this type of extra inclusion.
The Halo Omnibus Volume 1 book brings a decent set of stories that expand the narrative of the events between Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. I thought the characters could have been better selected in terms of the focus, but you do get a wide range of perspectives. The tales seemed to bounce around a bit, but it did still feel like a cohesive package.
The artwork is great for the most part, and the writing was solid. It helps explain a lot of back story on the lore of the games and it should be a good read for hardcore fans. I'm not sure the casual Halo reader would gain a lot, but it appears to be setting up some rather interesting future parts. There's pay-off, and many characters that should be familiar throughout the pages. There's a lot of material here, and it's an appealing package in that regard.
Halo Omnibus Volume 1 Book Review
Authors: Brian Reed, Chris Schlerf, Duffy Boudreau
Review Copy Provided by Penguin Random House Canada