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on 6 September 2001
Transvision Vamp once did a song called 'Hanging around with Halo Jones'. If anything's going to turn you off this it's that, but don't be deterred!
For while 2000AD comic has produced some pretty decent stories in the past quarter century none, I think, have been better than this, the story of a galactic space heroine, which first appeared in the mid-eighties.
Its main strength, of course, is that Halo Jones is no Barbarella but a normal, realistic female character (unusual for 2000AD) in a bizarre futuristic environment.
The first of these three stories is probably the worst. Based almost entirely in The Hoop, a subterranean metropolis, Moore deploys potentially alienating slang throughout Book One which is slightly annoying at best, off-putting at worst. Moore is no Burgess and he abandons this after Book One. Yet it is easy enough to follow and there is fun to be had as Halo hangs out with her friends and Toby the robotic dog.
If this sounds unappealing, don't be put off. In Books Two and Three (all included here) the story ascends into levels of brilliance rarely seen in comics. In Book Two, Halo escapes Earth altogether to work as a waitress on a luxury space cruise liner. Every episode is a triumph, whether anecdotally telling the life story of a character whose name escapes me to the more dramatic episodes concerning Toby.
The third and longest book depicting an older, more cynical Jones as she becomes drawn into a devastating war in the Tarantula Nebula is quite literally brilliant. The 'fast forward war' on the gravity-warping planet Moab is particularly effectively realised. Here, Moore and Gibson utterly surpass themselves. It is at times hilarious, harrowing and devastating. For me, the greatest tragedy is that Moore and Gibson never returned to Halo - but perhaps they could never have maintained this high standard anyway. Either way, if you're feeling like trying out a graphic novel, try this one. You won't be disappointed.
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on 7 July 2011
Having the complete Ballad of Halo Jones in one handsome volume is great, but it is a pity the Rebellion edition is in a rather small format; much of the detail of Ian Gibson's art is lost. The size is far too reduced from the original 2000AD newsprint page.
The original Titan Books editions (three separate books)are much better.
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on 27 February 2006
One of the greatest comics of, well, ever. Gives even Watchmen a run for its money, and certainly provides the reader with a different experience to any other comic out there.
As a non-fan of stereotypical superhero action comics, the prospect of a thoughtful, clever sci-fi drama immediately attracted me to The Ballad of Halo Jones. The unusual portrayal of a female character (she wears a sensible amount of clothes! She's capable, despite lacking super-powers!), the fact that the plot actually *goes* somewhere (though it ends too soon, sadly - the series was cut short thanks to management issues), the excellent writing and art - all of these helped to get me besotted with the title.
Halo Jones, as a character, remains one of the most interesting, most three-dimensional characters to appear in a comic, and the situations she is thrust into - though extraordinary - manage surprisingly well to avoid feeling contrived. There are twists and turns like you wouldn't believe, and the story manages to mix action, drama, romance and pathos with aplomb.
In all, this stands out as a seminal work, and has the power to move almost any reader. An absolutely essential purchase to anybody with a passing interest in comics - and even those who don't.
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on 29 March 2004
Transvision Vamp once did a song called 'Hanging around with Halo Jones'. If anything's going to turn you off this it's that, but don't be deterred!
For while 2000AD comic has produced some pretty decent stories in the past quarter century none, I think, have been better than this, the story of a galactic space heroine, which first appeared in the mid-eighties.
Its main strength, of course, is that Halo Jones is no Barbarella but a normal, realistic female character (unusual for 2000AD) in a bizarre futuristic environment.
The first of these three stories the worst. Based almost entirely in The Hoop, a subterranean metropolis, Moore deploys potentially alienating slang throughout Book One which is slightly annoying at best, off-putting at worst. Moore is no Burgess and he abandons this after Book One. Yet it is easy enough to follow and there is fun to be had as Halo hangs out with her friends and Toby the robotic dog.
If this sounds unappealing, don't be put off. In Books Two and Three (all included here) the story ascends into levels of brilliance rarely seen in comics. In Book Two, Halo escapes Earth altogether to work as a waitress on a luxury space cruise liner. Every episode is a triumph, whether anecdotally telling the life story of a character whose name escapes me to the more dramatic episodes concerning Toby.
The third and longest book depicting an older, more cynical Jones as she becomes drawn into a devastating war in the Tarantula Nebula is quite literally brilliant. The 'fast forward war' on the gravity-warping planet Moab is particularly effectively realised. Here, Moore and Gibson utterly surpass themselves. It is at times hilarious, harrowing and devastating. For me, the greatest tragedy is that Moore and Gibson never returned to Halo - but perhaps they could never have maintained this high standard anyway. Either way, if you're feeling like trying out a graphic novel, try this one. You won't be disappointed.
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on 30 April 2003
Let me start by saying this book is brilliant. I've heard a lot of people say this about it, and thats what convinced me to buy it just recently, and I haven't been disappointed.
Its incredibly destinctive, in more ways than one. The artwork has a beautiful flowing style to it (gotta love those ladies funky hairstyles!), that really helps emerce you in the story. The story itself a break from the usual action orientated stuff that (i at least) might expect. Thats one of the the best things about Halo Jones - it dosen't need page after page of action to keep you interested, the high quality of the writing can do that on its own.
The story is slightly unusual in its approach. It starts with, of all things, a shopping trip. From here it evolves into an epic tale literally spanning the galaxy and charts the growth of Halo Jones from an innocent, naive 18 year old, to a hardened thirty something year old.
Early on, the character of her friend Rodice is far more dominant than Halo (she's got a bigger mouth anyhow!), but once Halo decides to leave the Hoop (an enormous floating ghetto for the unemployed) she soon get left behind. From the Hoop (which is in Manhatten, if i remember right) she gets a job as a hostess on board a starship, and heads off, vowing to meet up with Rodice (who couldn't get on board with her because there was only one vacancy) in a years time.
Her year on the Clara Pandy (as the ship is called) is pretty eventful, but I won't spoil these bits for you...
From there its on to...war! There's some self piting alcholism before that, epecially after Halo gets in touch with Rodice after the year is up...
The war is probably one of the best bits in the entire ballad, focussing much more on the pyscholgical aspect and the desensitising effect it has on Halo, which at times is pretty shocking. The later parts on the high gravity world of Moab are fantastic, particuarly the idea of the gravity compacting time -five minutes in one particular warzone passes months out in the rest of the world. The shocking senselessness is brilliantly portrayed.
The story takes you on the epic journey along with Halo, and it really is worth the ride (quite a good ending there i thought..)
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on 12 September 2010
I started reading comic books in the late forties and have been reading them ever since. Halo jones is definately the best story with the best drawings I have come across. To me only Hogarth's drawings equal the ones in this story.
I first read Halo Jones when it was serialised in 2000AD. When it ended I went to the Forbidden Planet Shop in London and bought all three books as they were then printed seperately. I still have those most cherished books. I keep them close to me in a drawer in our bedroom. On occasion I still read them.I think that like the extremely successful movie 'Avatar' this story would make the most fantastic 3D movie. I hope some film maker somewhere thinks of this before I come to the end of my life on this wonderful Planet Earth.
I would say to anyone 'reading this story and looking at the drawings is to me one of the 'Must Do' things in life.'
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on 13 February 2007
This story is one of Alan Moore's earliest but is no worse for it. Halo Jones is an eighteen year old girl growing up in the 50 century in a floating ghetto off the coast of Manhattan. Jobs are scarce and most inhabitants choose to either have music implants so they just become zombies (and this was before iPODS!) or join a violent gang; and when it gets too much there are euthanasia gardens to end it all.

Eventually Halo has had enough and breaks away, first working on an inter-stellar cruiser, followed by other journeys from world to world before joining the Earth's army at war against the colonies.

Like most good science fiction the human story could have taken place today, in the recent past or in the Middle Ages. The second half of the story - the army years - contains a jungle warfare episode that was pure Viet-Nam but equally there is a battle on a giant planet that is a real Sci-Fi highlight.

This story shows poverty, desperation, violent death and the effects of warfare but still has a central character that keeps going. Without spoiling the story, the ending was left as if either the publishers or the authors expected a follow-up. But it never happened. Nevertheless, the story stands alone and is a worthy addition to any Alan Moore fan's bookshelf.

This book was originally published in serial form in "2000 AD" and as such the art is black and white.
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on 18 July 2001
It starts somewhat imposingly - the reader dropped literally through the ether into the crowded, volatile and suffocating world of the Hoop. And it ends with perhaps the greatest last line in graphic comic history (a line I have to struggle not to repeat here, thereby pre-empting genius). It's the tale of an unremarkable woman whose search for meaning, for an escape from the crushing realities of a life speedily going nowhere makes her remarkable, iconic, loved. Ian Gibson's art cannot be praised enough, depicting Halo's future nightmare in all its despicable glory - but the real credit must go to Moore, breaking new ground as ever, blazing a trail few can follow but many can appreciate. I have this tale in its original, weekly format but I've always coveted a one volume edition. It's here, now, and is an essential purchase, as relevant to the Moore canon as anything the man has done. Enough; this reader is signing off. "Out."
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2012
So may fond memories of reading the Ballad of Halo Jones when it was originally published in 2000AD. Those progs are lost to me now, so I was overjoyed to be able to read the whole, prematurely ended, saga in one volume.

This is some of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson's finest work. Halo lives in a future that seems less and less sci-fi every year. Great ring cities, no daylight, no employment, no hope and no future for the masses. It is a matriarchy though and most of the characters, particularly those in Halo's immediate family circle are female. Halo wants, and is destined for, more though and her ballad soon sees her leave Earth for a life of travel, adventure, and killing as she joins the military, one of the few jobs left for the youth of the world. the planets she travels to, the wars she fights in, the people she meets (and sometimes kills) are all stunningly realistic and fantastic at the same time.

Halo Jones was ahead of her times in so many ways, not the least of which her premature cancellation. Like so many great sci-fi epics, Ballad was cut short so my memories of her adventures are bittersweet. It seemed like the story had just got going, at least there was so much more promised, and then - it was over. Most likely never to return, given Moore's reluctance to go back to old stories or characters.

The Ballad of Halo Jones still stands then, as some of the finest work by some of the finest talents in British comics. It is a classic and should really be at least read by all. Be prepared to thoroughly disappointed when you reach that last page though, and realise you will never be told the answers to so many questions.
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on 19 March 2003
Halo Jones is a legend.
Halo Jones is Everyman.
Well, she's a girl actually, but you know what I mean. She's anyone who's ever felt threatened by their everyday life. After it swallows two of her friends, she takes up arms against it.
The story of her triumph, and the monumental work that is its illustration, will haunt you forever.
If you only ever read one graphic novel, read this one. Now.
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