Real World

Halo: Escalation Issue 16

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

  Halo: Escalation Issue 16  


Dark Horse Comics

Publication date:

March 25, 2015


Duffy Boudreau


  • Douglas Franchin (penciller)
  • Rob Lean (inker)
  • Michael Atiyeh (colorist)
  • Jean-Sébastien Rossbach (cover artist)

Number of pages:

32 pages


Halo: Escalation Issue 16 was released on March 25, 2015 and is the sixteenth comic in the Halo: Escalation series.[1] It is the fourth and last part of the four-issue story arc "The Janus Key".

Official summary[edit]

It's total war as Dr. Catherine Halsey and Covenant Commander Jul 'Mdama launch their final assault to regain control of the all-powerful Forerunner Janus Key. The thrilling Halo saga continues in this ongoing Halo 4 story by Duffy Boudreau (BlackAcre) and Douglas Franchin (Person of Interest).

Plot synopsis[edit]

After waiting for an opportune moment to ambush Dr. Halsey for some time, Commander Palmer and Spartans Thorne and Ray observe a group of Jul 'Mdama's Phantoms arrive to claim the Janus Key half from the Sangheili who defected from Sali 'Nyon's rebel faction. Meanwhile, Jul 'Mdama continues to eliminate 'Nyon's followers. Jul is informed that his forces have excavators in position and ready to be used against 'Nyon's rebels. With the rebellion in its death throes, Jul is confident that Halsey and her escort will not be ambushed and diverts most of the Phantoms to deal with the UNSC forces elsewhere on the island. While Infinity and its sub-vessels continue to engage 'Mdama's fleet, Captain Lasky queries Roland about Palmer's whereabouts. The AI informs him that he can only contact Spartan Grant's team, while Palmer has gone off on a mission of her own and taken two of the Spartans with her.

Back on Aktis IV, Dr. Halsey and her Zealot escort meet with the Sangheili defector. The Minor expresses surprise that a human has been sent to retrieve the Key, but a Zealot forces him to give her the artifact. One of the Zealots then promptly executes the Minor with a plasma rifle. Another Zealot, indignant, asks him why he killed the Minor before he could give them the location of 'Nyon's hideout. The Zealot states that they already know the location of the hideout. Before a conflict between the two arises Halsey tells them they need to return to the Song of Retribution, but they are ambushed by Palmer, Thorne and Ray. With their Phantom surrounded by the Spartans, Halsey and a Zealot flee to the forest. Palmer gives chase while leaving Thorne and Ray to deal with the Covenant forces, kills the Zealot guarding Halsey, and captures the doctor. Elsewhere on the island, Jul's forces destroy the last of Sali 'Nyon's outposts. A wounded and restrained 'Nyon is brought before 'Mdama, who intends to keep the traitor alive for his punishment.

As Palmer is leading Halsey through the jungle the doctor begins to argue with Palmer, calling her out for acting as Admiral Osman's puppet. Palmer accuses Halsey of defecting but Halsey points out that she merely sided with the party that was not actively trying to kill her. When Palmer decries Halsey as a traitor and war criminal, the doctor points out that her work had the full backing of ONI and the UNSC. Palmer declares that her job and armor are soiled because of Halsey, only for the doctor to retort that the armor would not exist without her. Halsey goes on stating that ONI turned her into a convenient scapegoat and rewrote history to suit their claims. With Palmer's judgment momentarily clouded, Halsey escapes. Palmer gives chase, only to come face to face with a Harvester. Halsey gets away while the ground below Palmer is blasted by the Harvester's main beam. Palmer falls off a cliff and attempts to propel herself back up using her armor's thrusters, but she is hit in the back of the head by a falling rock and falls into a crevice. Halsey contacts Jul 'Mdama and is picked up by a Phantom.

Three days later, Lasky meets with a humbled Palmer in an interrogation room on Infinity. Lasky informs her that two ONI agents are demanding to speak with her and that Ray and Thorne were furious about her behavior on the planet. While Roland stalls the ONI agents Lasky asks Palmer to tell him what happened. Palmer explains that she could not bring herself to kill Halsey and that the doctor was able to distract her and get away with the Janus Key, thus giving Jul 'Mdama access to both halves of the artifact. Meanwhile, Jul and Halsey use the combined Janus Key to project a holographic map pinpointing the location of the Absolute Record.

Production notes[edit]

In one of the scenes in which Jul 'Mdama is eradicating 'Nyon's forces, several large Forerunner spires are seen in the background despite no such structures being present on the island most the action takes place on, nor its immediate vicinity, when it is seen in its entirety in Issue 14. It is possible that Sali had hideouts in different locations on the planet far enough from the island for the structures not to be visible in the previous issues.


  • Palmer looks through the scope of her DMR despite most UNSC weapons containing a smart-link that allows the user to zoom in without having to look through the scope.
  • The Janus Key half acquired by Dr. Halsey is depicted as red, even though this particular half should be the blue one. This mistake was carried over from the previous issue.
  • On the fourth panel of the seventh page, Halsey's line art becomes extremely off-model.



See also[edit]

Preceded by
Issue 15
Halo: Escalation comic series
Issue 16
Succeeded by
Issue 17