The stories behind the stories

Halo: Rise of Atriox #3

“You are not as clever as you think. Too bad for you.” — Atriox

“Rise of Atriox, Part 3”

Atriox contends with an army of drones, mysteriously under the control of another…
Published by Dark Horse • October 10, 2017
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Jonathan Wayshak

Lettered by Simon Bowland

Colored by Jeremy Colwell

Cover by Aleksi Briclot

Edited by Spencer Cushing and Kevin Burkhalter

After I wrote a prose story for Simon & Schuster‘s Halo: Fractures and a graphic novel story for Dark Horse’s Halo: Tales from Slipspace, the latter publisher and I began talking about a miniseries that would spotlight Atriox, the villain from Halo Wars 2, which had released early in 2017. Others were interested in the series, however, so I wound up writing two chapters out of five: the third and final issues of the miniseries. Each told a self-contained story, so that wasn’t awkward. Still, it was a unusual situation for me, as I usually write whole miniseries.

The idea was that the middle chapters would feature episodes revolving around specific characters as they become fanatics for Atriox. This time, it was Decimus.

I received a large amount of input from the video game designers, and it really was necessary, given that much that was being detailed drew upon the game they’d worked on. I had to learn in what circumstances I could use the alien species’ real names, and when I could use the more familiar terms that the human characters use for them.

“Mark my words, Decimus. Those who see us will join us. That is a promise!” — Atriox

The opening sequence includes a bit with explosive decompression on a spaceship, and having tried a bit like that in an issue of Knight Errant, I’ve come away feeling that it’s very hard to depict something like that on the comics page. It’s all about wind, which you can’t really draw except to show items and characters blowing about.

I don’t remember why there was such a time gap in between the third and fifth issues. But that issue was out in time for my one signing appearance with artist Jonathan Wayshak, at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle in early March 2018.