Review: Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #6

As a part of my “day” job in mental health, I am required to take training every year to learn the ways of physical holds and defensive escape moves. One year, I had an instructor who rendered a line that I have remembered for a long time. That line is that as a clinician, you should never ever underestimate a person with a severe and persistent mental illness. I think his exact words was to remember that “crazy is crazy” and that there is no real way to know how a person who is psychotic will react until it happens. And after several years of experience, I have realized that the instructor’s comments were true. I’ve seen some wild stuff for sure. I believe that J. Michael Straczysnki might have had similar advice at sometime in his life as much of the focus on this Issue #6 deals with Skynet and its handling of one Thomas Parnell, serial killer extraordinaire, and recent addition into the Skynet mainframe being used to fight the human invaders with human “psychoticness”. I know that “psychoticness” isn’t a word, but that is the one I am using. Apparently, Skynet ran some contingency strategy and determined that they would eventually fall to humans due to the sheer heart, will, and survival instinct of humans in general.  The machines are way far off the evolutionary chain and have thousands of years of catching up to do. So enter Parnell, and the added human assistance of Dr. Serena Kogan, plucked from the past to help make this mad plan become a reality.  Thus far, it appears to have worked, but things are beginning to change that might require some action.

Both Kogan and Skynet recognize Parnell’s ability, but only Kogan knows how truly mad and evil Parnell is. And neither, in spite of all of their intelligence and ability, remember to recognize that “crazy is crazy”. Old Mr. Parnell might just wipe out the machines along with the humans once all is said and done. It’s a pretty scary thought that begins to churn into a reality as Issue #6 progresses along.

But maybe, just maybe, Skynet and Kogan might actually have an idea that “crazy is crazy” and they have a little something to fight Parnell if necessary. It is possible and things are set in motion in this the sixth installment of an epic mini detailing those aspects of the final battle within the lore of the Terminator. This story likewise ties up some loose ends within the movie continuum as well. All of it so far has been magnificently written by Straczysnki and illustrated to perfection by Mr. Pete Woods.  This mini continues to build in both momentum and entertainment value month after month after month.

Terminator Salvation TFB #6 CoverAlong with the Skynet story, this issue also follows along within the time portal and in John Connor’s sending of a T-800 off that would become the one from the Terminator 2 movie. The references from that movie are wonderfully brought in by Straczysnki as we have a Guns and Roses reference, a thumbs up, and a hug from Connor and the machine that leaves a pleasant place in your heart. The only thing missing is an “hasta la vista” sendoff. But everything is well done and never forced.

Of course there is still a battle waging outside of the time portal and Parnell’s psycho brigade of machines are winning ground one mutilated human at a time. Things are getting ready to enter the unknown as far as our characters know and us too for that matter. But we are just to the halfway point of the story.  There’s a whole lot more to tell and I cannot wait to see it all in its beautiful and brutal splendor.

Woods’ art has been a perfect complement to Straczysnki’s words as he manages to personify the Skynet machines to a level that I have not seen. It’s almost like watching an evolution of the machines as they learn, grow, and begin to develop into whatever it is that they are going to become.

Everything in this issue spells for one super bang up power punch of action and drama that may just be the best to date. Man, I have said that a lot regarding issues in this series. But I have meant each one. In fact, it seems to me like each coming issue has built on what was made previously and has become the “best” issue to date. Straczysnki and Woods are on a roll and they show absolutely no sign of stopping or slowing anytime soon. We are just at the halfway point for crying out loud.  If you haven’t been able to follow this classic in the making, perhaps here at Issue #6 is the perfect time to get on board. It finishes up almost all the movie knowledge and is about to enter into all new and fresh ground.

Score: 5/5

Writer: J. Michael Straczysnki Artist: Pete Woods Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price:  $3.99 Release Date: 5/7/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital