The cover: Here’s something you probably never would have imagined: Terminator units versus Terminator units. Those under the control of psycho Thomas Parnell, discernible by the bloody hand prints on their heads, are attacking and beating those units still under Skynet control. I’m always impressed with how much emotion good artists can get out of those frozen metallic skulls, and Pete Woods is one heck of a good artist. I like how the Parnell-ator looks as though it’s leaping up to take out its prey. There is also some really good coloring on this by Matthew Wilson. The blood red and grey rust on the winning Terminator really makes it stand out against its silver and grey foe. The background is smartly washed in yellows to make the two robots stand out considerably. Also nice is the blue spark effect. This is how classic covers come together. Overall grade: A
The story: There are three more issues to go, but I’d swear this issue has events speeding along faster than ever, if that were even possible. This installment opens in 2003 with the three Terminator units making sure that Parnell has been put into hibernation. Going next into hibernation is human Benedict Arnold, Dr. Serena Kogan who asks a Terminator a question, gets an answer, and her reply to it is priceless. With her being frozen, writer J. Michael Straczynski moves the action to 2029 where Kogan has been thawed for some time, but now she’s face to face with a familiar foe. After this page, readers are taken to the past where the three Terminator units, who have been successful with their mission, have to decide their fates. Their conclusion isn’t really surprising, but how they carry it out is. Page 8 is really done well, with the dialogue in the third panel a great line with a perfectly opposing image. With humanity losing by the second, John Conner has to make a decision about the war, and it could be the last decision of his life. There’s so much going on, I was ripping through this book. The four page sequence with Parnell and Kogan was really good, but something had to be done that readers didn’t see. The final four pages were a welcome surprise. It was a long overdue confrontation, but a deal with the devil is going to have to be made, and it seems that the final speaker knows this. Every page has a great twist, line, reveal, or confrontation. I am constantly impressed with this. Overall grade: A+
The art: Many different settings and characters give artist Pete Woods several ways to show off his skills. The opening five pages between Kogan and the Terminators is great. She’s so frail, and they’re completely powerful, yet all are wounded: she with her disease and they with the many scars they’ve endured from the previous issues. I love Kogan in the final panel on Page 1, the third panel on Page 3, and the final two panels on 5. She’s outstanding in this opening sequence. The Terminators are absolutely grotesque, yet they survive. The female Terminator looks fantastic. With the loss of one particular facial feature she has become the most disturbing of the trio to look at, and it gives her the opportunity for the best line on 8. The future is great for the amazing crowd scenes of Terminator versus Terminator that Woods has created. Truly epic. The final five pages is a nice two character conversation with excellent points of view to make the intense conversation all the more vivid. Woods is rocking this book. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Impressive work can also be found from Matthew Wilson on the colors. The blues of the opening four pages are splendid. The coloring done on the close-up of Kogan at the bottom of Page 1 is fantastic. When the battle damaged Terminator trio appear, the colors emphasize their deformities beautifully. Pages 6 – 8 make me long for the cool temperature of that locale at that time of day. The future uses color to address setting excellently: the headquarters of Parnell is bright and clean, while the battlegrounds involving humans are partially obscured by darkness, perhaps foreshadowing the fate of this species. Outstanding work from top to bottom. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, sounds, transmissions, and Skynet speech are pulled out of the ether by Nate Piekos of Blambot. I love the sounds on this book. The same font is used for Terminator weapon fire, and seeing it repeated so often in a panel implies more Terminators than the borders of the artwork can contain. Just great. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The final page takes a turn and I don’t see how this can all be wrapped in only three issues. Like the goals of the human race, it’ll take a miracle, but as the previous issues have shown, this creative team doesn’t need miracles with the skills they possess. They can pull off anything. Highly recommended. 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.