This new offering in the Terminator continuum has been one if my favorite comics in recent months. J. Michael Straczynski's giving the reader a front row seat of the final battle between the humans and the machines has been exciting, suspenseful, and utterly satisfying as we have been granted access to events of the past and the present that are slowly shaping the future. What has made this story so great however, is that though we know the battle, we really don't know the true outcome. Plus, Straczynski has thrown us some really interesting plot twists that make this nearly 30 year old franchise fresh and vibrant once more. The first three issues have been excellent, filled with lots of bold action and drama working partly in the past and partly in the present/future. With this issue, we get just a little bit of past, but mostly present/future. I believe that what I read here in Issue #4 has made this the most satisfying of the series to date of an already good series. It is well done and uses a most interesting plot design to give you the machine's side of the story, but as being told to a human being, The machines actually try to convey how it feels to be them by explaining various emotions.
Of course that sounds kind of weird after I wrote it. Why in the world would the machines want to do that? I can't answer that, but through the use of an instructional video of sorts, this plot design allows the reader to not only know what the machines are doing, but also why. I do not want to give any spoilers as the reading will give you great satisfaction. But I will say that the machines have decided to fight fire with fire based on experiences and history. Their fire looks to be pretty hot too and should put the humans on their guard in future issues.
J. Michael Straczynski has switched his focus in this issue perfectly in his featuring of the machine's side of things in the story. He doesn't miss a beat and actually leaves some very interesting personification of the inhuman machines. The use of the training movie to center the plot is perfectly done as it fills in all that needs to be said. It is a unique plot design that I do not recall seeing done before.
As with previous installments, Pete Woods' art continues to enhance the story in a perfect way. Everyone is drawn with strength and emotion making it anyone's guess as to who will emerge victorious after the final battle. Older versions of Terminator stories have typically made the machines as the ones with the upper hand. Woods brings down his art acting as an equalizer showing the humans just as strong, maybe even a little stronger. Or at least a little stronger until recent events. We shall see.
After a raucous and adrenaline charged Issue #3, #4 slows it down and begins to establish the upcoming events related to what counter plans the machine's have in regard to the battle. This issue works perfectly in establishing that counter and it also allows the reader to prepare for the coming onslaught that awaits. It's on people and it's winner take all.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Pete Woods Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/5/14