So to retaliate against all my saltiness, my brain brought up something quite pleasant that I hadn’t noticed before.
Sexiness is practically non-existent in the Halo universe.
Like, probably the closest thing we have to sexy is Cortana, and she’s not even portrayed as sexy, she simply has the appearance of a nude, young woman. Yet her nudity is never brought up. She’s considered beautiful, not sexy.
Halo has few female aliens (which they make up with a near-equal ratio of male/female human characters), but those few female aliens we have seen don’t even have breasts or “feminine” traits. We had a book cover featuring a female Sangheili and her chest was completely flat (which is a blessing, considering Sangheili are based off reptiles.)
Armor is completely gender neutral, and it wasn’t until the Spartan VIs that the armors appearances gained more personality. And even then….
One of these Spartans is a woman, can you guess which?
And then there’s my favorite bit: the topic of beauty. Sexiness doesn’t play a role in Halo, but beauty most certainly does. Of course, we all know Cortana’s considered beautiful, but you know who else is considered beautiful?
This is Isabel, a new character to be featured in Halo Wars 2, and this is the commentary given by Craig Drake, who painted the game’s posters:
“I’m elated to contribute my visions to the Halo Wars 2 universe. It was an honor to depict Decimus’ crushing brute power as well as Isabel’s intelligence and beauty.”
By many accounts, Isabel would probably be considered pretty, not beautiful, but Halo says otherwise.
The majority of Halo’s women are not conventionally beautiful; they’re old, they have eye bags, unfull lips, and “too” big noses, all the traits that mainstream media teaches us are ugly. And yet not a single one of these women are deemed ugly by the narrative. They’re all unique with vibrant personalities, all beneficial to the story - their appearance does not define them and yet they are all so beautiful.
Halo has done a quite a few shitty things to their women [side-eyes Halo 3 and Halo 5], but they have such a progressive and natural way of depicting them that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other video game, and it’s why Halo will always be my favorite.
“It is still vivid in my mind,” I said, closing my eyes. “Those massive bands reaching up like arms into the sky: they were bluegreen and rich with life within, and a cold ashen metal without. I can still see its shape, twisted and fractured in the cracked viewport of my ship. I remember watching it shrink into the distance just before we left.
Even back then, when machines of that scale were ordinary and expected… Halo took my breath away.” [Halo: Fractures - Epilogue]
A sketch page based on a Pre-Halo event Fire Team Quiver when they first received their MJOLNIR Mark IV armor systems. Before that time they wore the SPI Armor Systems as they are SPARTAN IIIs.
I wanted to add more sketches, like 3 of the Spartans taking down a Mgaelekgolo or even more CQC between Spartans and Sangheili and Jiralhanae. But decided that nah! I don’t have any good design/angles for these moments and I want to save them for the comic in the future.
Lasky: Chief, I won’t pretend to know how you feel. I’ve lost people I care about, but never anything you’re going through.
Why is this important?
Because Lasky has lost everyone. His brother, Cadmon. His squadmates: Chyler, Dima, JJ, Vickers. His instructor, Colonel Mehaffey. His Commanding Officer General Black. All of his schoolmates save for Michael Sullivan and April Orenski. And at this point in the universe, he has probably lost his mother too. And this is just the ones we know. We know nothing of his time as a Navy pilot, or really anything between Corbulo and the UNSC Infinity.
So here we have this character who has gone through so much pain and suffering comforting John, who, in retrospect, only lost an AI. Not a flesh and bone person, not someone who lived a long life, or had a life cut short or anything really comparable to the losses Lasky has suffered. Yet, he still finds it within himself to genuinely and truthfully sympathize with John, and acknowledge John’s emotions without any prompting, and know when he’s pushed John just enough.
This is by far the main reason why I love Tom Lasky so much. His selfless, empathetic persona is a fantastic contrast to the grim and stoic UNSC personnel we’ve seen. Tom is someone deeply in tune with his emotions and unafraid of them; a rarity in the military (that comes from personal experience). His emotionalism almost destroyed him at Corbulo. He let his anger towards Cadmon’s death reign, but Mehaffey saw the value in it. A soldier with empathy and compassion…a unique trait that set Tom Lasky apart from the rest of his squad and later, from the rest of the Infinity crew.
Lasky has a trait that balances him perfectly against John, who vehemently rails against his emotions at an increasing rate through the game. And this, I think, is something often overlooked within Halo 4.