Half-Life 2: A Concerned Retrospective (Part 1)

So, as you probably know if you’ve found your way to this site, my LP of Half-Life 2 is complete. Now that it’s done, I can finally, finally, FINALLY devour all of the brilliant and hilarious comic Concerned.

Rather than another long winded, rambling post about my HL2 thoughts–I’ve honestly said 99% of what I want to say about it at some point in this blog anyway–I figured I would format this ‘retrospective’ a little differently: by using various Concerned comics and commenting/analyzing/laughing about them. It seems like a fun and fitting way to end all of this, and look back at the last five years (!) through a slightly different lens.

There are a LOT of comics, obviously I’m not going to address even close to all of them, but this will no doubt take more than one article. But for now, here is part one!

Concerned #001

We have to begin at the beginning, right? This entry obviously parallel’s Freeman’s arrival by train into City 17, and I’ve always loved this strip for turning the terrifying and oppressive feeling of that arrival on it’s head. It also does a very good job of endearing Frohman to us (well at least, to me.) I mean, haven’t we ALL had those moments of, “Hah! I know better than tha–OH MY GOD I TAKE MY MONEY!” Plus, his happiness at having a picture with a strider is just so infectious!

Concerned #005

I’ve touched the issue before,  but Freeman is a fantastic name for our hero–even if it is a little beat-you-over-the-head symbolic. While Freeman is obvious, I do love the way it morphed from his name to a title–the One Free Man. I feel like he might have been given that title even if his name WASN’T Freeman.

I do wonder what inspired that title, though. Obviously he’s not the only (or even the first) one to resist the Combine. Perhaps it’s because he missed most of the war and occupation–he isn’t tainted by that failure; he hasn’t experienced that yolk. He’s still free.

Maybe I’m overthinking it, but either way, it’s a cool name.

Concerned #007

Mostly I had to add this just because it’s god damn hilarious that Gordon apparently has telekinesis, and all he uses it for is to move trash around.

Concerned #012

I did always wonder where G-Man got to when he pulled his disappearing acts. Now we know.

Concerned #014

As an English major, I’m contractually obligated to include this one.

Concerned #24 and #25

I am curious exactly how the human to combine process works. If I remember right, it involves things like organ and limb removal, etc, so it’s not at all pleasant. One of the few real missed opportunities in this game, I think, is the lack of emphasis on the body horror of what’s actually being done to these people. Jump scares in Ravenholm are one thing, but this is far, far more terrifying.

Also, I love that Frohman still can’t get a date.


That’s the end of this section of Concerned, and I think it’s a good place to take a break! Next time: A Read Letter Day!


10 responses to “Half-Life 2: A Concerned Retrospective (Part 1)

  1. But I like your rambling, long-winded posts about HL2, Hawk! Oh well, I have a feeling Episodes 1 and 2 will end up giving you quite a bit more to think and write about. Plus Human Revolution and Dark Souls are hardly lacking in that department either, so I’m hopeful for lots of deep thoughts about both games in the coming months.

    Funnily enough, some of the later parts of Concerned actually explore the whole Combine body horror thing a bit more than the actual game. HL2: Episode 1 also provides some (disturbing) detail on the whole business. Between HL2 and Human Revolution you really seem to have hit the body horror jackpot. Lucky you?

    • For that matter, so does Final Fantasy–although that’s much more personal rambling and less story oriented. (Although, if you’ve ever read any of my entries on “Around World Mythology in D&D Minis” there might actually be more there to ramble about than I initially think.)

  2. Greetings, Hawke. I haven’t commented before but I’ve been watching you ever since Shamus Young plugged your blind Half-Life LPs. Congratulations on (finally) finishing HL2 and Portal 2.

    Just wanted to point out that there’s another layer to that “the part where he kills you” joke near the end of Portal 2 that I don’t think anyone mentioned. Remember commenting on how much you liked the background music in that scene? Guess what the title of that track is.

    • It’s “The Part Where You Finally Get Cake” isn’t it.

      Also, I’m so glad you found and enjoy my work <3. A very belated welcome, and thanks for the comment!

  3. Now that you’ve finished Half-Life 2, I recommend watching the music video “I’m Still Seeing Breen”

    It’s like a retrospective of what Breen allowed the Combine to do, and Gman’s role in taking him down.
    All using sequences from the game.

  4. Pingback: Half-Life 2: A Concerned Retrospective (Part 2) | The Hawk Nest

  5. If you liked Concerned, I recommend watching the YouTube series, “Civil Protection.” It’s basically a buddy cop in the HL2 universe. Hilarity ensues.

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