Let me give you some context for this review. I am a fan of the “Terminator Universe”. I didn’t really realize it until I sat down to write this but I’ve sought out a lot of Terminator content over the years. I have, of course, seen the films*, also the two seasons of Sarah Conner Chronicles, read a smattering of comics (most notably, for me, the Zak Whedon minis) and even a few of the prose novels (the best being the recent Timothy Zahn books or the Terminator 3 tie-ins by Aaron Allston).
I am listening to Brad Fidel’s score for T2 right now.
Out of all of that my least favorite work is McG’s Terminator Salvation, which I found to be boring, overly referenced, full of logical leaps and needlessly complicating. So when I heard that this new series was tied to that film I was less than enthusiastic. However I have enjoyed the work of J Michael Straczynski before, probably more often than not to be honest,** so I remained hopeful.
That didn’t work out.
There’s always the possibility that this comes together in some fantastic way 12 issues down the line, but this issue, as a “satisfying chuck”, as an individual work, was aggressively mediocre. It is a blandly written 22 page info dump. It takes place in two different times; 2029 as both Skynet and the Resistance prepare to send back the protagonists of the first film, and 2003, as a group of three Terminators and a Resistance fighter arrive and begin searching for an escaped serial killer. There’s some other stuff but it gets pretty SPOILERY so I’m gonna leave it at that. The main problem I have is that no character is interesting or does anything interesting. The Terminators arrive and get their clothes the same way they always do. The Resistance guy is scrappy, Old John Conner gives a big speech, even the serial killer guy does the whole “I’m talking politely to a bunch of dead people I just killed to show you how creepy I am” shtick. There’s nothing new here.
The art is solid but unspectacular. I like Pete Woods, I think the most recent thing I’ve seen him on is Paul Cornell’s Action Comics run just before the New 52. Straczynski doesn’t give him much to do here, no large scale battles or big fights. There is a full page of a woman walking through a factory to look in a window though, so you got that. What little action there is is clear. Storytelling is good.
Overall I found this totally forgettable. There’s one good joke about stripper heels, but the whole rest of the issue just continues to fade from my mind. I wish they would have done something else, anything else. Anything besides regurgitating plot points and moments I’ve seen 2 or 3 times before. Like I said, maybe it’ll all come together in the end, but I’m not gonna be around to see it.
*I rank them Judgement Day, Terminator, Rise of the Machines, Salvation. Rise is bumped to 3rd because I consider it a comedy with an incredibly down ending. Also I hate Salvation.
**The first half of his Amazing Spider-Man run, Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, his FF run and his Thor run. Big thumbs down for “Superman walks across America”, “Gwen Stacy bangs Norman Osborn” and his Earth One books.