Angry Atriox Brings Hell To Halo
Jun 17, 2017
by Vince Brusio
Saying one is a “good soldier” is a loaded term, and subjective. It could mean the individual follows orders religiously, despite their weight and repercussions. It could also mean the individual adheres to the “code,” and looks out for his peers on the battlefield, and will readily choose death before he leaves a fellow solider to die alone. But a good soldier can also mean the individual is a whirlwind of pain. The rider on the pale horse. Death on two legs. It might mean Atriox. In Halo: Rise of Atriox #1 (JUN170010), writer Cullen Bunn explains that Atriox will exemplify the meaning of a good soldier who exists for only one purpose: to destroy any and all opposition, and to never stop. To stop for nothing.
Vince Brusio: Cullen, what can you tell us about Halo: Rise of Atriox #1 being structured as “an anthology based on 2017’s Halo Wars 2”? Does that mean your story is self-contained, or does it in some way relate to stories that are coming afterward? Is there any continuity being established with your tale?
Cullen Bunn: My story is completely self-contained. There are elements in all of the issues that connect, but as far as I know all the issues stand alone. My story focuses on a single moment in time, a battle that Atriox took part in. It serves to introduce Atriox to the readers and demonstrate what a powerful, near-unstoppable force he is.
Vince Brusio: You write a lot of horror. So did you let any of the monsters out of the closet for this story? Or did you take a different approach, as this is a licensed book and there were certain parameters you had to acknowledge while racing along on the bike trail?
Cullen Bunn: Some horror elements rear their ugly heads in this story. This is absolutely a story about the horrors of war, about staring into the face of hopelessness. There were parameters to follow for sure. This had to fit into the tone of the Halo mythos, and it had to fit smoothly into the history of Atriox, but I feel as though I was still able to tell my kind of story. It’s dark and cruel and vicious.
Vince Brusio: So how did you get inside the head of Atriox? Were there certain “rules” or guidelines (a la the video game) you had to follow in developing his voice or thoughts? Did someone hand you a character sheet? How much liberty did you have in formulating his personality for your story?
Cullen Bunn: I was given a lot of reference in regards to Atriox, but he was still a bit of an enigma. To dig into his brain, I had to consider the purpose he was supposed to serve. Atriox was thrown into battle again and again, and he was never expected to return. He was the picture of expendable, and his masters genuinely tried to expend him, to waste him, to use him up. He saw so many of his comrades-in-arms die for no real reason, and it started to weigh on him. It created a chip on his shoulder. It set a flame of seething anger burning inside of him. He’s conditioned for war, taught to be a good soldier, but he is so, so angry.
Vince Brusio: Have you seen any of the pencil work come back yet from artist Eric Nguyen? What are your impressions? Did it give any extra depth to what you originally submitted in a script?
Cullen Bunn: No, I haven’t seen any of the art yet. The anticipation is killing me, though!
Vince Brusio: If all shackles were dropped, and you could allow Atriox to speak freely, what would he say directly to the soldiers stationed at the UNSC military outpost? Imagine his thoughts are projected in a pirate broadcast that the marines could hear at the base. What would Atriox say?
Cullen Bunn: He would tell the soldiers that they, too, are nothing but expendable. They are nothing more than cannon fodder to be thrown at their enemies. He would tell them that he doesn’t blame them for what they are. He bears them no malice. But he would also tell them that he offers no mercy. They have a role to play, just as he does, and that means that he must kill them all.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.