The cover: John Connor is standing before his worst nightmare: a towering building whose façade has been remade into that of a Terminator skull. Several red lights are emitting from the skull-building’s eye sockets, showing how many of the dreaded machines are within, waiting for John to enter. The iconic hero stands outside with only a rifle. He’s climbed over several human skulls (only one Terminator skull) to get to this point, and yet he cannot proceed further without crossing a pit of flame to get into this horrific structure. Great cover from Pete Woods and Matthew Wilson. Overall grade: A
The story: Having lost the time door, John Connor is about to take a major gamble. He contacts General Hampton to move all the surviving soldiers away from the Skynet complex. Connor reluctantly admits, “…we cannot win, general…” Hampton wants to know what Connor has planned, but readers are not privy to that information, as the scene cuts to the general walking out of a tent ordering his men to do as Connor wants. Meeting up with Marcus Wright, Connor tells him to meet up with the others once the target is acquired. Wright says he will, adding before he leaves, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some ass to kick. Loudly.” Great opening from J. Michael Straczynski establishing the inevitable fall of humanity, but teasing a solution without allowing readers to hear it. Dr. Serena Kogan is being held by the Terminators, obviously in case Parnell needs another upgrade. She has the best line at the bottom of Page 5. Pages 14 and 15 will elicit gasps with Connor doing something completely unexpected, which leads to a fantastic scene on Pages 17 – 22, featuring the best explanation of one individual’s goals. This is slick writing and made me wish this was a movie. It justifies all the horrors inflicted in four films. I would love to know who Straczynski would cast to speak the dialogue in a film version. Also well done is the tease for next issue. It makes perfect sense, for a final act, and will obviously lead to a very unexpected physical confrontation. I loved this. Overall grade: A+
The art: The visuals on this book continue to be strong, though Pete Woods has two elements in this issue stand out for the wrong reasons. I may not have noticed it before, but it was very obvious in this issue that several panels are repeated (the bottom of Page 2, the middle four on 5, the three on 16, and the close-up of the character that first appears at the bottom of 17). The repetition of panels does allow the story to create dramatic pauses, which work, but I would expect the visuals to be stronger since Woods doesn’t have to draw as much. Now he could be saving himself for more detailed work next month, but parts of this book seemed a little less than previous issues in regards to backgrounds. There are a lot of empty panels that are filled by the colorists. I normally have no problem with this, but it really caught my attention with this installment. Woods is still doing an incredible job with detailed Terminators and some settings, when we get them, but his previous work on this series was much stronger. I’m holding him to a higher standard because of that, and am lowering his usual grade a little. Overall grade: B+
The colors: Matthew Wilson gets some assistance this month from Nick Filardi. I really want to know if Filardi was flying solo on any particular pages, but that information is not stated on the inside cover. As humanity’s hopes fall I assumed that the colors would darker up, and they have. It’s a nice bit of symbolism to do so. However, this was a really dark book and difficult to make out some of the art. Lightening up the backgrounds without imagery would have been an opportunity to do this, so that things can be seen more, but that doesn’t happen. The issue isn’t entirely in the dark: the use of reds continues to be stellar to represent the speech of Skynet and color the eyes of the mechanical monsters, and the lighting effects, especially on Pages 20 and 22, are good. But it’s hard to rave about a book when one can’t really see it. Overall grade: B
The letters: Still continuing to contribute super work is Nate Piekos of Blambot. He’s created transmission dialogue, normal dialogue, sounds, and Skynet speech. Any reader would admire and quake at the font of Skynet. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The story remains excellent but the visuals drop a bit from their previous heights. Still worth picking up. Overall grade: A-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.