Tastes Like Rock! Geekonomicon

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #1
Dark Horse Comics
Posted 12/1/13 11:15 PM ET

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski

Artist: Pete Woods

Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Cover Artist: Pete Woods

Pencil Variant Cover Artist: Pete Woods

Release Date: 12/4/2013


Dark Horse Comics' Official Solicitation: "A-listers J. Michael Straczynski and Pete Woods unite for the biggest Terminator story ever! Hopping between the future and the past, this sweeping, twelve-issue epic counts down the end of the Machine War—but not the one fans expect! Everything’s at stake, and the fates of Skynet and John Connor will be told!"

Picking up eleven years after the end of the Terminator Salvation film, Straczynski hits the ground at full pace. The writer gives enough info for fans of the original films to know where they are reading in the alternate timeline of a world where humans are at war with a self aware software program that has mercilessly and systematically taken the world from humanity. Expanding on the original films as well as the 2009 prequel/sequel film, obviously, this twelve part maxi-series promises to be better than  Terminator Salvation. As a longtime fan of the franchise, this reviewer is happy after reading this first issue, it appears Terminator fans are finally getting a worthy sequel after the lackluster Terminator 3 movie and while Terminator Salvation was good and stood head and shoulders above T3; it still did not meet the heights of Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

I admit to some bias as a fan of J. Michael Straczynski's writing both on Babylon 5 back in the 90s and his long run on Amazing Spider-Man in the early to mid 2000s. Granted his realtionship with Marvel did not end well and many fans didn't care for his adding a mystical side to Spider-Man's powers during the Morlun and The Other storylines, and many outright revolting against him for his posthomous treatment of Gwen Stacy in one of his final storylines. Those criticisms from the fan community aside, I believe he added to the Spider-Man mythos deftly and added story elements that were valuable and a boon to the character. The Gwen Stacy/Norman Osborn bit was all I wasn't really a fan of.

Digression concluded, Straczynski's story telling will serve the Terminator franchise well, and just from this first issue here's hoping that this series has great influence over future Terminator films/remakes/reboots. The series is already marked by the deep subject matter of intelligence versus artificial intelligence and what truly decides the difference, human pathos, and spots of humor even amidst the action and death that were cornerstones of the original films and truly cornerstones of any cyberpunk tales worth being dubbed cyberpunk. One last aside, this reviewer always finds it funny that the Terminator franchise is rarely lumped in the cyberpunk genre except by cyberpunks.


Pete Woods' artwork is suited to the story and the franchise, solid, realistic but not to the point of hyper-realism like some of the CG artwork increasingly used in newer sci-fi comic properties. His line work, as stated, is realistic but still clearly grounded in comic art style defined by the some the past greats. This is refreshing for me, the comics I've been picking up lately for personal reading have taken to a more Warholish pop art style both in line work and colors; which I like but not as prevalent as I've seen the past couple of years. But, take that from whence it comes, I find myself a little more nostalgic over comics than I used to be especially concerning art styles as some favorite artists have passed over the last decade. 

Digression number two concluded, Woods' artwork is a nice fit to the story, Matthew Wilson's colors work nicely with Woods' line work and style, vivid but not over the top. Brightness levels detract form the pathos of the overall concept of Terminator at a few places in this issue, but not to the point of ruining the atmosphere of the story in both time settings that this point in the story is split between, 2003 and 2029. I believe I've seen Wilson's color work before, the title escapes me at the time of writing, but he has a very good sense matching pallets to scenes; he let's the colors work with the story in a true partnership for the most part as opposed to making the visuals force the atmosphere of any given scene.

Definitely recommending adding this series to your pull list if you're a Terminator fan, even if you're a casual fan this is setting up to be a good addition to the franchise, as I said before, for hardcore fans that have wanted a good sequel for years but also for the casual fan who just wants a good read with badass cyborgs.

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #1 of 12 gets a solid 4 out of 5.

For more from Dark Horse Comics check out www.darkhorsecomics.com.

- Michael Meade

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