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Review – The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1 (2000 AD)

Find an Escape in The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1

Halo Jones, often lauded as one of the first feminist heroines in comics alongside a few others, will hit the shelves once more in a remastered edition. Written by Alan Moore, The Ballad of Halo Jones told the story of a young girl who wanted to escape the harsh conditions of the slums in which she lived. She wanted more from life.  She wanted freedom. The Ballad of Halo Jones is a tale that has influenced many over the years, including the likes of Neil Gaiman.

BALLAD OF HALO JONES - BOOK 01 ARTIST: IAN GIBSON
BALLAD OF HALO JONES – BOOK 01 ARTIST: IAN GIBSON

Beginning as a serial in the 1980s in the 2000 AD magazine, Alan Moore and Ian Gibson created a space opera about an everywoman. She was not the Princess Leia of her time, nor was she Wonder Woman. She was just Halo Jones. Yet, she did just as much – if not more – than both of the aforementioned characters. For its time, the story was rather odd. But, Alan Moore put together a compelling tale of heroism mixed with a little bit of absurdism. Now, modern audiences can re-experience the influential tale, remastered and in full color in The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1.

Story

The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1 tells the story of a teenage girl living in a futuristic slum called The Hoop. Very early in the story, Jones mentions that she is sick of the violence in The Hoop and believes there is more to be gained in the universe. Volume 1 takes place over the course of one day, wherein Jones runs into trouble while shopping, stumbles upon a murder, and a friend joins a cult. The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1 is a character-driven drama whose heart will capture the attention of its audience from page one.

Writing

Alan Moore is a master when it comes to dialogue and developing deeper characters. The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1 displays an excellent balance of dark humor, thought-provoking dialogue, and action. These three elements maintain a sense of realism in the futuristic world Moore and Gibson developed. There’s definitely a lot to love in this first collection. It’s full of Moore’s classic quips and action of the dramatic fashion that many have come to expect from Alan Moore.

Art

Ian Gibson’s original artwork has been preserved and enhanced in The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1. His artwork is gorgeous in a strange, almost alien sort of fashion. Gibson’s illustrations mirror the futuristic society that is unfamiliar to readers. Readers may glean some insights into the world of Halo Jones as the world seems tangible enough. However, that sense of unfamiliarity conveyed, not only by the setting but the illustrations of the characters themselves act as a reminder that we cannot totally understand this society.

The highlight of The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1 is not only the classic story wonderfully woven by Moore and Gibson but also its recent remastering. Barbara Nosenzo painstakingly chose a palate that matched the tone of the collection and the color schemes that were most popular during the 1980s. In fact, Nosenzo stated in an interview with Richard Bruton of 2000 AD’s website that she chose subdued and dirty colors to suggest a sense of “uselessness and deterioration” in The Hoop. Her coloration of the collection really displays an understanding of the stories deeper themes and tone.

Conclusion

The Ballad of Halo Jones Vol. 1, the first in a three-volume set, is a must-have for 2000 AD and Alan Moore fans. Much of the story can resonate with modern readers. It is a unique story that follows an ordinary woman as she takes part in many misadventures. The fact that this story does not reflect the ideologies of the decade in which the character and her story was written speaks volumes about The Ballad of Halo Jones. Halo Jones is the embodiment of all women. Halo Jones broke down boundaries and did some extraordinary things. For, as most know, Halo Jones made a difference by going out and doing everything.


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About the author

Joshua Page

Joshua is a recent college graduate with a B.A. in English who once wrote a 2,700 word essay on Harley Quinn in a literature class. Not only is he a massive DC and Harley Quinn fan, but he is obsessed with the Alien and Star Wars franchises. When he is not reading comics, he is studying beer. By definition, he is a nerd and proud of it.

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