The second of a twelve-issue series from Dark Horse Comics written by J.M. Straczynski, art by Pete Woods, with colors by Matthew Wilson, and lettering by Nate Peikos of Blambot, Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #2 continues with what is supposed to be the final note on the Terminator series. I say “supposed” as we all know that if someone can think of a way to make more money off this series, they will.
This issue spends more time in the past (pre-Skynet) to show us that what drives Dr. Serena Kogan is not only her desire to stay alive, but to finish many of the projects she has started. It’s unknown at this point whether she understands that her participation will start a war to annihilate the human race, but it is clear she is so obsessed with her work that she doesn’t bother to ask too many questions of her Terminator guardians. We get hints of Marcus Wright’s role in the future before the story shifts back to Simon’s mission in 2003 to either kill or apprehend a serial killer named Thomas Parnell before the three Terminators from the previous issue do. So far, all that we know is that Parnell is instrumental to what makes the Terminators tick. Back in the future, John Connor prepares his people for what he plans will be the final assault against Skynet.
The art is terrific, as Pete Woods captures the urgency and the violence which ensues as well as the small emotional moments which are what hold the story together. The Thomas Parnell scenes are the most entertaining, if not the most disturbing, as he prepares to flee the scene of his latest crime spree. What is disappointing are the John Connor scenes. Though we know he has a great relationship with his wife, we really haven’t seen what makes him such a great leader. Why are men and women laying down their lives for this guy? Instead of demonstrating those qualities to the remnants of the human race who are following him, three pages are wasted on him giving the standard “As we go into battle” speech. This would have been a good opportunity to learn something about John that we never knew before other than he likes peanuts on his sundaes.
All-in-all a very solid job; however, this series is really for the hardcore fan. The second issue should be available in January 2014 at your local comic book stores.