Spanning the Sci-Fi Generation: A Review of ‘The Art of Halo 4′ and ‘Flash Gordon’
Unlike most weeks, spent hunting down material for new posts or aimlessly surfing Netflix, the past month yielded a crazy amount of free time thanks to the holidays. During that downtime I was able to actually read (yes, books!), something that rarely happens anymore. Aside from getting hooked on Lou Scheimer’s Creating the Filmation Generation and David Wong’s
This Book Is Full of Spiders (both of which I’ll get to later), Titan Books was also cool enough to pass along copies of their latest releases; Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 and Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo. Since the two share a similar background in science fiction I thought it only natural to do a combo review!
Of the two books, Awakening was perhaps the most foreign to me. While I’m familiar with the Halo franchise I’ve never actually played any of the games so much of the games’ characters and mythology is completely new to me. It’s partially because of my very ignorance of the series that I felt like some of the impact of this book’s awe-inspiring artwork was lost on me.
Regardless, Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 is an expansive collection of concept art, revealing just how much minute detail went into every chink of Master Chief’s armor or the alien environments players encounter over the course of the game. From a full tour aboard the UNSC Infinity to specifics on every character, alien race and weapon (and their multiple variations) gives readers a thorough look at just how much thought went into the game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A treasure trove of impressively detailed art for die hard Halo enthusiasts, but not necessarily intended for the casual gamer.
While I’m definitely more familiar with Flash Gordon, mostly because of the 1980 film (Bring me… the bore worms!), I’ve never actually read any of the original comic strips by Alex Raymond which is a shame because Raymond’s work is fantastic! Every panel is crammed full of lush detail that brings personality to not only the characters but their environment as well.
Much like the Tarzan Centennial, Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo starts off with a brief history lesson on how the strip got started and its rise to fame which apparently included a 1940 episodic serial film called Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe! Unfortunately, this volume picks up in the middle of the series with two volumes that have preceded it and at least two more to follow. On the upside, there is a (very) short The Story So Far… page, but it’s hard not to feel like you’ve missed a lot of background on what’s going on.