In Review: The Ballad Of Halo Jones Volume 1

Halo Jones looks set to entertain a new generation.

Synopsis: When Halo Jones grows bored with her life in The Hoop — a futuristic slum where jobs are scarce and excitement is non-existent — she yearns to escape and see the galaxy. But in a city where dangerous riots happen at the slightest provocation and even going to the shops is an ordeal requiring careful planning and a handful of zen-inducing-grenades, the price of freedom might prove to be more than she bargained for!

Review: Back in 1984 Alan Jones teamed with artist Ian Gibson for a new comic strip that would run in the sci-fi anthology comic 2000 AD. The story that Moore and Gibson came up with was called The Ballad Of Halo Jones and it was revolutionary in that it focused on a regular teenage girl who was not a gun-toting superhero.

The folks at Rebellion have recently re-released the first volume of Halo Jones adventures in the graphic novel format and we’ve been lucky enough to receive a review copy.

Moore throws you right into the futuristic world of Halo Jones and as a reader you are left to figure it out for yourself. Meaning that there isn’t a backstory or pages and pages of exposition. Instead, you figure it out through the conversations between the various characters and the news feeds that they are watching and listening too. It’s an impressive bit of world building because you are sucked in right away.

The Hoop as drawn in the book by Ian Gibson is a well fleshed out futuristic world. Although the characters tend to be a bit pouty, I think that is rather funny given that Halo is hanging with other 18 – year olds in the first part of the book. I like Toby as the group’s pet what have you. I was not sure if it was a dog or a robot of some time, but it proves to be a fun companion and formidable protector in the first story in this collection.

There references to futuristic technology while fun seems very dated now and do age the book quite badly. Especially when you get to the end of the second issue, which sees the group has run out of food and having to make a treacherous shopping trip. Most of us would just use the internet now. But back in 1984 shopping was indeed a treacherous thing to do. I mean you had to get on a bus and all sorts.

The story while pretty good did suffer from being a bit soap operish at times and veered toward melodramatic. While the artwork was serviceable to the story and made for lots of intriguing futuristic backdrops. I enjoyed how we got a notion of the world that Halo Jones inhabits via the various news feeds and background information we get given from television broadcasts and the like. The book is full of great world building stuff like that.

Overall. I quite enjoyed this book. Yes, it could get a little wordy sometimes and occasionally felt like reading a somewhat melodramatic soap opera but set in the future. But I found I could relate to Halo’s need to escape the tedium and boredom of living in the hoop. This is certainly not the sort of comic I’d normally read. Have always been more of a fan of action adventure with a bit of satire and biting social commentary thrown in. All that said. I can see the potential for Halo Jones to be adapted for a US network like CW, but I doubt CW would include too much of the biting satire.

This collection includes early promotional artwork as well as commentaries from Moore and Gibson about the creation of Halo Jones.

With two more volumes to be released. This is a great opportunity for newer readers to jump on and check out some of the work for Alan Moore’s early days.

9.1
The Ballad Of Halo Jones Volume 1
  • Covers
    9.0
  • Story
    8.8
  • Artwork
    8.8
  • Lettering
    9.2
  • Colours
    9.4
  • Extras
    9.6

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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