The name to this twelve issue story arc released by Dark Horse Comics says it all…”The Final Battle”. This is to be the ending clash between the robotic Skynet forces and the humans of the Resistance with the winner taking all. What will be left however for the victor remains to be seen. Issue one begins after the Terminator Salvation movie and unlike other comic installments of this franchise, “The Final Battle” will rely heavily upon the mythos of the four movies and finally give fans of the franchise a look into the final battle that has been talked about so many times, but never actually seen. The time is right and the time is now. I have always been a fan of the Terminator franchise and still remember the impact the first movie had on me when I watched it on a VCR tape way back in the 1980s. Since, the movies have been a mixed bag with some good (T2), some okay (T3), and some just plain horrible (T Salvation). The comics have likewise been a mixed bag as well, never really hitting the core issues of the story in relation to perseverance, evolution, and survival. Those comic stories tended to go into different areas of the lore rather than hit that base provided by the movies. Not here though. Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle promises to return to the source and go from there.
If this first issue is any indication of that promise, then I put this story arc as one of the best ones in the making. Beautifully written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by Pete Woods, Terminator Salvation: The Last Battle #1 is a rip-roaring action pack ride that is not only entertaining, but enlightening as well pondering those issues that make humans human and robots… well… hopefully more humanlike. Issue one starts that ride solidly and it doesn’t look like it is going to stop until completed with issue twelve.
Issue one works in both the past/present and the future to tell the story. It currently has three distinct story sub lines occurring simultaneously that only a master like Straczynski can do without turning it into a confusing mess. He writes it to flow like a movie and Woods’ artwork helps to convey that movie tone that is set. There is even a page dedicated to explaining the continuity as to why Skynet hasn’t learned from its mistakes and failures which is a particularly nice touch in this issue.
Another element here that we haven’t seen much in any of the Terminator franchise is a more concise look at the Skynet side of things. Sure they are evil mindless robots, but Straczynski shows a human element of adaptability demonstrated through interactions here in the issue. It’s as if they see their failings as robots and wish to become more human so to succeed. I liked it and am excited to see where things go from here.
Anyone who watched the Terminator Salvation movie will recognize a lot of the characters here, but we see them in different capacities and with different things going on that do a wonderful job in setting the tone for this story. I highly recommend it after this reading. Well done guys.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Pete Woods Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/4/13