Hoop Life Hero
Book One | Book Two | Book Three | Book Four?



Halo Jones, ahh Halo....Who was Halo? no one special, she wasn't brave, wasn't heroic, wasn't particularly strong , just someone who had to escape the everyday monotony of life and escape she did.

The place was New York, the year was 4949, and the local unemployed live in a gigantic, prison like sanctuary called the Hoop, tethered off Manhattan. With little or no chance of finding work they spend their days watching holo-soaps and living off state provided credit cards. Leaving your living space is risky and a trip to the store for groceries requires military style planning.

This is where we find Halo, living with Rodice, Halo's smart-talking friend, her dota-playing friend Ludy, her mechanical dog Toby and their older roommate Brinna. It's from here that she sets out on adventures that will lead her to the far ends of the galaxy, through war and peace, trial, despair and triumph.

Halo Jones was originally told as a series of episodes or 'progs' in the comic 2000ad between the years 1984 and 1986, these individual episodes were eventually gathered into three separate volumes and then finally into one complete book, however the individual volumes remained as separate stories within this larger complete ballad.

The rumour mill has it that Halo was originally supposed to span ten volumes in total, but somewhere along the line it got truncated down to the three volumes that we know today, will there ever be a book four?

Book One

Different Drummer Book one in the series, as you would expect, is pretty much the scene setter for things to come. It establishes the world in which Halo lives, her friends who will shape her forthcoming adventures and the slightest hint of the story arc to come, although you probably won't spot it right away I know I never did.

The basic plot line running throughout this first book is Halo's determination to get off the Hoop and to get to see the universe, a series of personal tragedies surrounding her friends pushes her even further and stokes this determination even more, I won't give too many details away here.

The desire to escape and leave behind her world is symbolised by the interstellar cruise liner, the Clara Pandy, the last of the giant luxury cruise liners, suffice to say that Halo ends up here working the tables, but at least it's a ticket out, and it''s from here that the adventures really start in earnest.

Book one originally published Prog 376-385, 51 pages, reprinted Best of 2000AD monthly 40.

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Book Two

Toby Book two is where the story really starts to take shape, it starts however with a kind of epilogue to the whole story set fourteen hundred years in the future, where we learn that Halo has become some kind of cultural icon to future generations, it also serves as a nice reminder of some of the plot points from the first book and helps explain some of the minor details that were not that apparent the first time around.

Once the story moves back into the current time frame we find Halo where we left her, working passage aboard the Clara Pandy on her way to the world of Charlemagne, where Rodice has agreed to meet her.

During the course of this book she hooks up with Toy Moloto, her cabin mate, who will go on to play an important role in book three. Other minor characters are introduced to help flesh out the story including the fascinating, err, 'whatsisname', a character so confused about who and what they are they don't even know themselves, and more hints are dropped about the ongoing war in the Tarantula Nebula.

As the story progresses Halo manages to fall into more adventures, including becoming an unwitting pawn in the upcoming war, and as more personal tragedy befalls her she eventually reaches Charlemagne before Rodice only to discover that.....well, that'd be telling.

Book 2, Prog 406-415, 56 pages, reprinted Best of 2000AD monthly 42.

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Book Three

Soldier Halo Book three starts with a prologue to the main story where we catch up with what Halo has been doing since we last saw her on Charlemagne, it charts her adventures as she passes through the known worlds until she ends up destitute on the little known world of PWUC. It's here that she is reunited with Toy where, with nothing better to do and little in the way of future prospects, she joins the army, where she is told she will see little if no action.

This doesn't turn out to be case as the military, headed up by the giant General Luiz Cannibal, is actively waging war in the Tarantula Nebula, Halo and Toy quickly find themselves transported to the war zone and sent into combat in the heavy gravity world of Moab. The sequences on Moab are some of my favourite in the book. The concept of time moving slower in the heavy gravity zones, or as it's know 'the crush', is really something else, fifteen minutes in the crush is equal to two months in real time, this really gives the story a strange twist.

Tragedy again strikes Halo again in this volume and we start to see a very changed Halo to the one we saw when we first met her, the psychological scars of war and death finally catching up with her. This book is probably the most political off the three with Moore seemingly examining subjects like religion, war, and political backstabbing.

Needless to say, Halo survives the war on Moab and sets out to get even with those who put her in the position she's in. The book ends with Halo taking charge of her own destiny once more and setting out to do what she originally intended to do, getting out...

Book 3, Prog 451-466, 80 pages, reprinted Best of 2000AD monthly 65,66.

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Book Four?

Will this story ever continue? or is that it ?, no one really knows for sure, however there are a few quotes dotted around in various books that go someway to explaining the situation.

"While there are currently no plans to continue the series, due to external circumstances and considerations. I think it's fair to say that were these circumstances to alter,both Ian and myself would be only too pleased to resume The Ballad and continue to relate the history of a character to whom we have both grown very attached over the couple of years that we've worked with her. You know how it is... we've been out with her a couple of times and the chances are that if she's free, one day we might go out with her again. Who knows? Maybe we'll let you come along too." - intro to Book 3 graphic novel, written by Alan Moore.

So, with that in mind, the answer is probably no, Halo did resurface a few years later in the 500th edition of 2000ad in a one off special strip of "Thargshead revisited", but that's about it.

Personally speaking, I'd prefer it left as it is, it's pretty much perfect as it is, but that's just my opinion.

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