Disclaimer: I don't have my HGN to hand, so I apologise in advance if I mis-state anything.
I've trawled through what HGN posts I could find on the forum so far, and I think there's a couple of things that have not been mentioned so far that are worth mentioning. I've also included my own impressions and opinions on issues already raised about the HGN.
In no particular order:
- The Legate on the Infinite Succor was "minister for etiology". Etiology is the study of the cause(s) of disease(s). Who better to know things about the Flood? It is also clear from the Prophet's comments that knowledge of the Flood is potentially open to anyone who wishes to study their (religious?) documents, and that the Prophets a) know about the Flood, and b) see them as an obstacle or test to overcome before setting out on the Great Journey. With this Prophet's demise, how will this impact on the Covenant's (detailed?) knowledge of the Flood, seeing as the minister who is probably responsible for their study is now doing some up-close field work :)
- Half-Jaw uses the lights on the front of his armour to project some kind of light onto the control panel when he is trying to use the security codes. The Supreme Commander also uses a hologram earlier, possibly showing the Infinite Succor (not sure if I'm remembering that correctly).
- Half-Jaw's treatment of the Prophet could hardly be said to be respectful. This could be a symptom of the stress he is under, but he gets no rebuke from the Prophet for his actions. Who has seniority here?
- My interpretation of the images of the fight with flood-infected Kusovai is that the swords can be switched into a shield "mode", and Half-Jaw does so several times, changing each hand independantly from offensive to defensive and back again. However, it looks like one of his sword/shields runs out of power or is defeated in some way, leading to the sword being embedded in his left arm and eventually slicing off half of his jaw just before he kills Kusovai. Perhaps what we are seeing is a different form of sword that can perform either function - analogous to the Brute version of the plasma rifle, i.e. a different version of the sword. I would not be surprised to see this variant/new ability of the sword in Halo 3.
- We don't actually see the destruction of the Infinite Succor, so there is the possibility that the proto-Gravemind being constructed onboard was able to use the prophet's override codes to change the co-ordinates of the Slipspace jump in time to escape.
- Bisley's art style has evolved somewhat since I last saw it in the 80's in 2000AD. I loved what he did with the ABC Warriors, and his vision of Sláine was stunning. I find myself slightly disappointed with how his artwork looks in the HGN, though this is most likely due to rose-tinted memories and the passage of time :)
- I loved the artwork in Breaking Quarantine. Full of movement and detail - highly atmospheric. The lack of dialog didn't bother me one bit - who would Sarge talk to anyway :) As for the plot being disappointing (he "just walks out"), I disagree. He clearly has to fight his way out, dealing with being sent flying across the room, leaping from a disappearing light-bridge, fighting off the Flood with no shields or armour. Bad ass and a half! As for what Johnson may or may not be, see down below where I talk about P.122
- I liked Armour Testing, and the computerised colouring reminded me of Akira - which I never completed collecting :( I think the story really showed how good the Spartans are. I doubt even the ODSTs could have taken those shots from free-fall, and it did take a room full of them to take her down in the end. Of course the more interesting question is who is Maria? I think she must be a Spartan-II, mainly because of her number, but also because of the novel references which imply that only S-IIs could use the Mjolnir armour. Of course this may not apply to the latest issue, but her height would also imply she's a Spartan. As for her "retiring", the Conversations from the Universe booklet certainly implies there's a way out for the Spartans, as others have already pointed out. Depending on when she left active duty, she may not have been included in the tally when the Spartans gathered at Reach, including being not counted in those unable to attend.
- Moebius's piece was interesting, if a little confusing to follow at times. As has been suggested elsewhere, I think he used the Art of Halo as the basis for much of his work, and has probably never played the game or even seen screenshots. However, we may be seeing a different race entirely, or possibly just a different gender of Elite. Possibly a different caste, or even a different age group - who knows how Elites develop over their lifetime? There do seem to be similarities to those figures spotted in the video about the making of the H3 trailer, but still no real answers.
- The key part of this story is where we see the Elite(?) saying something, and then hear the translation where the Ark is mentioned. I wonder if this might be our Rosetta Stone, leading to deciphering of the glyphs? I haven't had the chance to look at this yet, but if those three glyphs have appeared in-game, then we may be able to start working out how the "alphabet" works. On a related note, the military man with him seems to have some knowledge of the Ark, or at least recognises the importance of the Elite's statement.
- Some have commented that the ending is poor. I disagree, I think it is poignant and very human. In the face of destruction the protagonist sacrifices himself to save a child, getting the vital information out of the city, saving others but not himself. For someone who has spent his recent past in helping the government lie to its people, perhaps he sees this as some kind of redemption and can help save others by getting the truth out there.
- The gallery pieces are excellent - even Mister Chief :). Of course the one that potentially gives up most information is p.122. It has been confirmed at ComicCon that it is Johnson in the pictures. He is sniping a target at over 4km distance as part of an operation on Harvest, apparently assasinating a dissident leader, in 2502. The transcripts apparently state that Johnson is a "one", and later mention his proximity to "twos", which would imply that Johnson is a Spartan-I. The transcripts also seem to imply that both Dr. Halsey and Stanforth have been inquiring about him, both unsuccessfully. The timing of Halsey's inquiry seems to match the time when she is checking his medical history from First Strike. She is fed a different file, presumably containing the "Paris/BS" information, which is likely details of the Boren's Syndrome he is supposed to suffer from. This would appear to be cover, so that the real reason he didn't get infected by the Flood is not shown. His real medical history would clearly show whatever procedures he has undergone as part of the Spartan-I project. He may have no natural immunity to the Flood, but rather used his abilities as a Spartan-I to get away, as shown in Breaking Quarantine. No normal marine would have survived, but then Johnson, it seems, is no normal marine :)
- The operation that Johnson was part of on Harvest was one which presumably helped quell sedition on a colony. From what I remember from The Fall of Reach, the Spartan-IIs were also designed more as colonial counter terrorism forces that defenders of human civilisation. Perhaps this is further evidence for Johnson being a Spartan-I, and that the Spartan-I project had similar roots and purpose, i.e. special counter-insurgency forces. I suspect that the marine that helped train the Spartan-IIs (Major Silva?) was also a Spartan-I.
- There's been questions about Johnson's age. If he was on Harvest in 2502, and 50 years later is running around Earth and Halo apparently less than 50 years older, how can that be him on Harvest? Some have speculated that maybe this is a side affect of being a Spartan-I. I think it may be simpler than that. He's been zooming around the galaxy from planet to planet in the service of the marines. Slipspace travel may effectively mean FTL travel between locations, but I don't think the space vessels themselves actually travel at speeds faster than light - they just take a short-cut that gets them places quicker that light would take in normal space. However, their speeds are likely to be significant to move around solar systems quickly. Special Relativity shows that a body that moves faster than you experiences time passing slower than you do. So, if the military calendar is based on an Earth frame of reference, then if Johnson has been travelling at a reasonable fraction of the speed of light for much of the 50 years between 2502 and 2552 as measured on Earth, for him it would in all likelyhood be much less than 50 years as measured by him. Cryo-sleep may also play a part in this, but it would not be necessary to explain the apparent discrepancy between Johnson's apparent age at Harvest in 2502 and on Earth in 2552.
- It's interesting to see Bungie weaving aspects of ILB into "canon". Spartan-Is seem to be in, but nothing about 1.5s, or rampancy.
- Why is the sword hilt included with all the human weapons?
I'll post more when I get the chance to compare the glyphs in the HGN with the collection on the Halo Story Page.