This article contains spoilers for Halo episode 8.
Halo episode 8 finally shows just how strong a Spartan is without their armor – meaning the super soldiers can finally be compared to the MCU’s Captain America. Inspired by the legendary first-person shooters, Paramount+’s Halo TV series marks the live-action debut of the Master Chief and his fellow Spartans. These super soldiers were created by Dr. Catherine Halsey, who conducted sophisticated dangerous experiments to grant them superhuman powers.
Dr. Halsey wasn’t content with transforming her Spartans into super soldiers, however; rather, those experiments were necessary so the Spartans would have the ability to use their Mjolnir exo-armor. This makes it difficult to properly evaluate the combat capabilities of a Spartan without Mjolnir, simply because they are never expected to operate in combat without it. Halo episode 8 breaks with this tradition, however, with a fight scene in which the Master Chief battles two of his fellow Spartans while he’s out of armor; another scene shows Kai showing off among UNSC marines, letting them bet on whether she can pull off specific feats. These glimpses naturally mean it’s now possible to compare Spartans to other super soldiers in fiction – most notably, Marvel’s greatest supersoldier Captain America.
Kai is certainly formidable. Halo episode 8 shows her using pulleys to lift an actual Warthog – estimated to weigh around 3 metric tons – with three people sat inside. The MCU’s version of Captain America is a blend of the main comic timeline version of the character, and the Ultimate Universe version, who could lift up to 2 tons; but he’s been powered-up substantially, and several of his feats require a far greater degree of strength. In Captain America: The First Avenger he lifted a motorcycle with three women on it over his head; in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he was able to lift a heavy metal beam while suffering from multiple injuries. Captain America’s power-levels are handled inconsistently in the MCU, but he certainly appears to be stronger than Kai. It seems Abraham Erskine’s Vita-rays and super soldier serum are a more effective process than Dr. Halsey’s genetic experimentation and cybernetic augmentations.
This is not to say, however, that Captain America is stronger than a Spartan in Mjolnir armor. The Mjolnir battlesuit amplifies a Spartan’s strength by an unimaginable degree; in the main canon, tank-flipping isn’t just a game mechanic, it’s supposed to be something a Spartan can do with ease. That means a Spartan wearing Mjolnir armor will be capable of far more impressive feats of strength than Captain America. Nothing quite on this scale has been seen in the Halo TV series yet, but again it’s surely only a matter of time.
It’s important to note that Dr. Halsey had a different purpose in mind when she transformed her Spartans into super soldiers. All her experiments had the goal of turning the Spartans into men and women fit to wear the Mjolnir armor; she never envisaged them operating without it. In contrast, Dr. Erskine simply sought to unleash what he considered to be the potential greatness within Steve Rogers. Both scientists succeeded, and in both cases against the odds; Dr. Halsey had over 70 candidates, but around 30 of them survived, while the US government struggled to duplicate Erskine’s super soldier experiments against his death. Both Captain America and Halo‘s Master Chief should be considered rare and unlikely successes in their respective universes.
New episodes of Halo release Thursdays on Paramount+.
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