Half-Life fans have always craved for more of the universe’s story ever since the second game left us with a cliffhanger. Now, we finally get more glimpses into that universe. Half-Life: A Place in the West features new characters struggling in a broken world. Each main character is fleshed out well, but in ways that slow down the story’s progression. In Issue 4 especially, the velocity of the story is severely hindered by the mass amount of drama occurring between the political oppositions. Illustrations of many moments are really underwhelming as I was always wanting more detail. Backgrounds of people talking or some action scenes were sometimes only one color or had very little detail. I was distracted by wanting to see more of the world rather than what was going on due to the lack of detail. It also took away from the story as I never got the best representations visually.
Issues 1 – 3
Issues 1 through 3 contain the bulk of the story’s progression. A man by the name of Albert Kempinski has lost his daughter and is on the trail to find her. As he makes his way for the town that the kidnappers originate from, he runs into a woman, Leyla Poirier, and her alien companion, Dreyfus. They are headed for the same town as it houses a scientist with an objective that they wish to support.
These three characters work great together most of the time as each attitude toward the world is different. Their contrasting perspectives on the world give us great insight into what happened to Earth. These perspectives do everything they can to give the reader a sense of what has happened to billions of people and alien species from the Combine.
Development of the story grows as the characters try to reach their destination and their first few initial days within the town. Action packed scenes are featured often here as it explores more of the ravaged world. A jump in time lines is also prominent. The reader is taken back to random character flash-backs that seem almost out of context. It feels that there are other times within the narrative that these stories should have been more appropriate. Once the three protagonists begin to settle in, the story comes to a halt. Newer characters are introduced, but not as fleshed out and I began asking questions on why they matter.
Issue 4 contains the slowest progression within the Half-Life comic. At this point Dreyfus and Leyla have become wrapped up in a political war all while dealing with their own mission. As they take care of their problems, Albert’s narrative has stopped dead. He finds himself reeling over his late wife who died some time ago. This is all brought up by his missing daughter and a recent love interest who felt sorry for him. Of course, Albert is furious with this resulting in a violent outburst, and that is the last we see of the him during this issue.
The direction Albert goes within this issue is disappointing due to the fact that he is the main focus of the series. While his story does intertwine with something much bigger, the development of his character is minimal to say the least. Leyla and Dreyfus are our two main focuses in issue 4.
They are much more involved in the political war which features bigger picture events on the horizon. However, their involvement is also limited. They provide support for the political good guys all while having a master plan in the background. The lack of our three main characters really bogs down issue 4 making the read a strenuous task.
Half-Life: A Place in the West has some pacing problems that I think it can work around following the next issue. Its three main characters, especially Albert, should have been explored more in terms of character development and progression of story. Lack of detailed scenes and backgrounds ruins some potentially great moments for this series.
- THE GOOD
- Three Main Characters
- Story Progression in Issues 1 – 3
- THE BAD
- Lack of Deatail
- Political Conflict
- Time Frame Jumps
- Pointless Supporting Characters
Half-Life: A Place in the West features three interesting characters who’s story is bogged down by a political rivalry and the lack of detailed illustrations.