It’s tricky business trying to build on an existing universe, especially one not established in the same medium that you are working in. J. Michael Straczynski managed to create an original and exciting opening to what promises to be a nice augmentation to the Terminator universe. This month we have the next installment of the series; is it good?
Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
There is a lot to take in about this comic, and a lot of plot to follow. Personally, I find the narrative a little convoluted and sort of stuffed full of ideas, but I think more experienced Terminator fans will be able to navigate the many storylines with ease. Here’s the synopsis: John Connor is preparing to meet Kyle Reese and face the machines once and for all in what he calls “The Final Battle.” What I just can’t wrap my head around is how John is so sure that this battle will be the end; couldn’t there be several outcomes that might spawn into future battles? Anyways, there is a feeling of anticipation for sure when we see all of the human soldiers march off to the battlefield.
In a whole different time (which isn’t very clearly differentiated from the one with John Connor), we get to see a little more of the hunt for insane serial killer, Thomas Parnell. In the same period we see the three machines from the future rescue a sick Dr. Kogan to go after Thomas themselves. What I don’t fully understand is why these Terminators needed the help of a cancer-ridden doctor to take down a powerful killer. Or why when the machines and Simon are both clearly gunning for Thomas it takes only a quick duck on Parnell’s part to have the two groups of hunters start shooting at each other. I would hope they would be able to figure out that they both had similar intentions.
As I mentioned a little bit before, this story is pretty tough to follow. With sporadic switches between times and more than a few sentence-finishers on a separate page the story doesn’t really flow, making the comic totally unengaging. I found myself getting distracted multiple times because of the stories lack of gripping moments. There is a nice thesis and the issue doesn’t seem to be grasping for material to cover but there really isn’t anything that makes the comic at all exciting or powerful.
The writing by Straczynski is pretty good with solid (if not a little cheesy) dialogue and a nice energy to all of the characters. John’s speech is exceptionally bland and in no way inspiring. There aren’t any soaring emotions or feelings of epicity and didn’t really make the comic feel like it was building up to anything. I feel like Straczynski is going through the motions of telling this story but not doing anything creative with it.
Another thing I am unclear about: why ever would someone want to make a half-human, half-machine when they could make a whole-machine? Human flesh isn’t the most durable or greatest substance to build a weapon with and can not wrap my head around why Dr. Kogan would want to make a Terminator made out of metal and human flesh and not just metal. It just doesn’t seem that credible.
Pete Wood matches the books spirit with a solid, futuristic look that shows emotions well and looks polished. Unfortunately, much like the plot, the art is not gripping and more often than not you find your eyes wandering. Colors are done very nicely to make a very finished, (again) futuristic look.
- The writing is overall pretty solid
- Art isn’t bad either
- A bit convoluted
- A few too many plot conveniences
Is It Good?
Only sort of. This isn’t very engaging or memorable story wise and the writing isn’t terrific. I feel like this book could get a (much needed) surge of emotion that would make it much better and would really turn the series around. However, for now, this series can be skipped.