Halo: Helljumper is the collection in graphic novel format of five comics that came as a prelude for the Halo 3: ODST expansion game. As comics/graphic novels go it isn't particularly great but at least it does attempt to offer an adventure, create a true plot, although a very simple one, and show to the reader a little more about who these elite soldiers of the UNSC are.
I don't believe the story would win any awards, it is quite simple and straightforward, and it borrows visually a little from Aliens the movie but with clearly identifiable Halo Universe elements and creatures. At the end of the day it is more a moment in the life of two good friends, who happen to belong to the Helljumper squad, than a true graphic adventure but at least it has a some degree of narrative depth. Alas it adds nothing to the franchise.
The plot goes beyond what we see in Halo: Uprising, a little more in the line of the short stories presented in Halo the Graphic Novel but I still belive they could have given us more. More story, more lore, more about the extensive material that can be associated with the Halo franchise. The focus is too much the art and the vistas rather than its actual narrative content. It's not bad, I would like it to be more.
I truly can't understand why it is so difficult to use the graphic novel/comics environment to offer other points of view of the huge intergalactic war that happens as we, as gamers, play the important but small part in which Master Chief is the hero of the day. And I don't believe age has much to do with it since Halo: Helljumper is recommended for 17 and above.
If the whole idea is to try to capture the shooter feeling of the games in paper, I would say that they ought to put that aside and give us instead something worth reading and seeing. To get an FPS feeling we already got plenty. It should come naturally that there are some things that you don't try with some types of media, unless they are more concerned about it as some art-form rather than about offering a good, readable, visually compeling and enjoyable comic/graphic novel, which would be sad.
Visually the style is very mature and realistic in a very american manga sort of way, which is one of the highlights of the work. There is also plenty of graphical combat and the resulting damage to environment and individuals that it causes. Halo: Helljumper is, if nothing else, nice to see.
Personally I belive that the Halo fans, and the public in general, is ready for a true graphic novel based in Microsoft's/Bungie's franchise, something alike what we can see, and read, for characters like The Punisher, Batman, Wolverine, The X-Men and so many others. Works that offer unique and distinctive visuals but that also present some story we can chew at and enjoy.
With Helljumper and spin-off games like Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST, and the soon to be released Halo: Reach, it seems the franchise has reached the maturity to leave behind its subtle dependence on the Master Chief and --indirectly-- the AI Cortana, something that should be followed by those immersing themselves in the Halo Universe to create graphic novels, comics or movies. So far the novels have done such a great job. There is so much more to the Halo Franchise than Spartan John-117's adventures, and I would love to see it.
The collection is written by Peter David and illustrated by Eric Nguyen, the work is published by Marvel Comics.