As a machine thinking with logic, the concept is simple. Knowing that humans have a factor within them that makes them slightly unpredictable and in theory always superior to machines, why not use a human who specializes in death and destruction to lead your army against them. It should work? Maybe? Maybe not? As we enter into issue #7 of Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle, that just the thinking going on by one Skynet as it tries to figure how to deal with their secret weapon. Apparently, Skynet did not anticipate the sheer madness involved with one picked out from the past serial killer Thomas Parnell of whom they have given a tremendous amount of power allowing him to feel every bloody kill that the machines do as one collective. For Parnell, it’s a virtual heaven on earth. But maybe not so much for the humans that are being slaughtered in mass numbers, nor for the machines who in trying to slow Parnell have discovered that he has too many numbers to deal with and control. Both man and machine are equally doomed if things keep heading in the direction that they are going….
Now if that doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what can. I do know that Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle is a bona fide winner in every way shape and form and should be a must read for any fan of the Terminator mythos. Or Hell, any fan of action packed comics in general. This one pulls no punches and leaves everything out on the table with bold bravado. It is really good…Really really good.
I have always known that J. Michael Straczynski is an amazing writer. One just needs to look through all of the titles he is currently working on to recognize that. What is different however from all of his other good stuff everywhere is that in The Final Battle, I think he has addressed a real interesting scenario in this whole arc regarding Parnell. I mean, a mindless, remorseless killing machine is one thing. But a free thinking, raging sociopath filled with bloodlust that enjoys not just the killing, but the slow maiming and torture of it all, now that is something else entirely. It really fills a natural progression that does put a strong exclamation point on a series that started very strong, but has kind of lost some of its luster through the years. Not here though, Straczynski blows up the story and makes this one of those rapid page turners that leaves you craving more.
And if that is not enough, there is action taking place in the past that is about to get thermonuclear hot in its own right as decisions are having to be made and a blast from the not so near past has returned to offer the advice. All of this makes for nothing short of spectacular reading.
Pete Woods’ artwork has continued to add life and energy to the action being portrayed, especially at the machine level. He draws the machines with some personification that shows an evolution of sorts. As Parnell continues to gain strength, his machines are positively nasty and sinister compared to the remaining Skynet Terminators that are kind of meek and unassuming. The same thing goes with the primary source of Skynet. I swear the thing looks nervous as Parnell confronts it. It is some seriously powerful display at work.
It is hard to believe that this mini is now seven issues in. It means that we have crossed over the halfway point and are nearing a conclusion, but the good news is that there are still five more glorious issues to go. There is absolutely no clue regarding what will happen next. With Straczynski and Woods guiding this ship, it is sure to finish in the right direction.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Pete Woods Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/9/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital