When I was given the list of possible comics to review and saw the first issue of Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle from Dark Horse Comics was on it, my first thought was, “I want that.” A long-time Terminator and Joe Straczynski fan, there have always been endless possibilities on the how this world could be developed further. The writer and artist do not disappoint.
Sticking closely to the Terminator canon as originally written by James Cameron, this first of twelve issues does a great job of setting up several different plot lines which will obviously meet head on in later issues. With a brief prologue which introduces a new character by the name of Dr. Serena Kogan and includes the back story of Marcus Wright and a young Kyle Reese in its premise, the story begins with John Connor preparing for what he believes will be the final assault against Skynet. It is here we meet a young soldier named Simon who will clearly be an important part of saving earth for humanity.
The story shifts between the past before Skynet became self-aware (2003) and the future (2029), where part of this battle will take place. Simon is sent back in time to look for someone by the name of Thomas Parnell who turns out to be a serial killer and possibly much more. At the same time, three Terminator units are sent back on a mission that isn’t revealed until the end of the first issue. I must admit my favorite part was the female Terminator unit’s reaction to purple high-heeled strappies. It was a nice touch. (Sorry, guys, but probably only women will get this reference.) The action moves swiftly but with enough exposition so as not to leave the reader thinking, “Huh?” (When you’re dealing with time travel, you have to spend a little extra time explaining how the past affects the future and vice-versa.) Not wanting to give away any of the terrific plot twists, let’s just say the gun lobby will be very pleased as the theme, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” pretty much sums up where this story appears to be heading; however, I will withhold final judgment on that until the series is completed.
The art by Peter Woods is terrific as he sets tone, character, and mood very well. The structure of the panels is reminiscent of film frames which is not only appropriate but makes you wonder why they just didn’t develop this storyline as a movie. Maybe this was discussed at some point by the powers-that-be and was dismissed or is in development.
Only the future will tell us how many more Terminator movies we have to expect (or comics for that matter).
Well paced and with a clear sense of direction, I look forward to reading the rest of the series and discovering the real truth behind Skynet.
As a side note, I read the comic on an iPad mini retina, and it was pretty sweet.