The cover: A Terminator is lifting John Connor off his feet by hauling him up by his throat. Connor is trying to fight back by blocking the mechanoid’s vision, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. If only he could raise his rifle, but readers can’t see where his right hand is. Behind them a massive explosion goes off, throwing Terminator units. Truly, this is the final battle for humanity. Things don’t seem like they’re going well, as the issue blares the title, “The Death of John Connor!” This is another great cover from Pete Woods and Matthew Wilson. The composition of the picture gives fans what they want–human versus Terminator in the middle of chaos. The colors are terrific, with the foreground illuminated by the explosion in the background. Good stuff. Overall grade: A
The story: Human forces are wondering what’s going on. John is the lair of the lion, speaking with Skynet, while they wait outside with Marcus Wright. He tells the humans to be prepared for emergency evac or victory, because those are the only two options they’ve got, “…and prayer.” Inside the facility John is being prepped for the procedure by Dr. Kogan that will transfer his consciousness into a Terminator unit so that he can combat serial killer-turned Terminator Thomas Parnell. His consciousness will be cloned into the unit, yet it will also be within his body. The button is pressed, he screams in pain, and the red eyes on the dormant unit light up. This seems pretty cut and dry–now that he’s a Terminator, John can just sneak up next to Parnell and kill him, ending the war. But that would be too easy, and writer J. Michael Straczynski is not going to make anything easy for John. Page 8 shows the trouble ahead, and then the action occurs. There are many characters involved and it is epic. Pages 16 – 19 are everything you would want in a show down with these characters and the ending of the battle is priceless. If you listen carefully, right now, you can hear fans all over the world cheering at the one word at the bottom of Page 18. But this is not the end. There’s a major cliffhanger and your guess is as good as mine how this will wrap up. It could go either way. A perfect climax. Overall grade: A+
The art: Yes, the Terminators look cool. Yes, they are in several scenes. Yes, they are kicking ass all over the place. Examples of awesome Terminator units by Pete Woods can be found on 4, 5, 7, 8 – 12, and 17 – 21. The best illustration of the Terminators has to be found at the bottom of Page 8. All that’s missing is the clanking of their fast feet on the metallic floor. So, yes, this will be a major drool-fest for fans of these killer robots. However, it’s impossible to not also praise the humans in this book, as well as the Terminators in flesh suits. If the humans weren’t equally drawn well, the book would only be half as fun. John Connor on Page 2 is great. His final appearance in the last panel is a perfect match for the dialogue he speaks. Dr. Kogan also looks good, with the first panel atop Page 3 giving readers as much information as if there was dialogue in it. Woods can make his characters act, he’s that good. The character that really shines is Parnell. He’s absolutely insane, but not the raving loony one would expect, but calm, cool, and overly confident. The second panel on Page 8 also has no dialogue, but none is needed because readers know exactly what he’s thinking. It’s a perfect panel. Page 16 has him at his most sinister, with the fifth panel being beautiful. Pages 18 and 19 show him in a different light and it’s magnificent. The story of this issue is great, but the illustrations knock it out of the park as the pictures tell the story without words. I’m standing and applauding, Mr. Woods. Overall grade: A+
The colors: The colors of this book turn up the emotional intensity on every page. The first page uses red for a background color to remind readers of the all the blood that’s been spilt, and more that may follow. Dr. Kogan’s lab is the cool blue one would expect in such a setting, calming and antiseptic, but when the button is pushed a golden yellow brilliantly shocks the reader out of any calm he or she may have had. Matthew Wilson is perfection on every page. I love that bright colors used in action scenes, and red is just awesome when used for Terminator points of view, as well graphic sounds. Sounds explode off the page in colors that make the audio exploits of this book even louder. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, sounds, Skynet speech, and Terminator readouts all come courtesy of Nate Piekos of Blambot. He does an excellent job as he captures the familiar font of the Terminators and makes Skynet sound unflinchingly inhuman with its speech. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Incredible action with twists and turns that will leave you tired when you’re done reading. Highest possible recommendation. 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.