In Review: Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #12

A perfect ending to a perfect series. It's the final fate of humanity on earth. Why wouldn't you want to see how it ends?

The cover: A soldier’s boot stomps on the neck of a deactivated Terminator unit as he makes his way forward. This is the only Terminator seen, as only three other human soldiers can be identified as they go through the ruble of civilization. What can this all mean except as the cover proclaims, “Judgment has come!” Excellent final cover on the final issue from Pete Woods and Matthew Wilson. I’ve never seen a Terminator in this position before. And this may sound odd, but the coloring on the boot makes it look photorealistic. I really had to pull the book close to be sure that both artists didn’t cheat and use a photograph, but this is an illustration. Overall grade: A

The story: This final installment by J. Michael Straczynski begins with John Connor having his finger on the trigger of the future. Having transferred his consciousness into a Terminator unit to confront Thomas Parnell, and killed him, Connor must now decide on restoring or destroying the Skynet system. To relate any of what’s said in the first four pages would ruin the rest of the book. This is what this series has been leading to for the previous eleven months. The battle does indeed end here. The logic, the heart, and the persuasion by both characters, or entities if you will, is writing gold. A misplaced word or phrase would undermine everything that has gone before it, but Straczynski has both characters argue their sides, their needs, perfectly. There is a decision made and the rest of the book deals with its fallout. Highpoints include Pages 8, 9, 15, and 18. I can only hope that next year’s Terminator movie is as good as this story. Overall grade: A+

The art: This series has consistently impressed with Pete Woods’s artistic abilities. He’s got so much working against him: he has to be able to draw realistic humans, weapons, and settings, along with Terminators that resemble their film counterparts. Fans are so rabid about how their characters look (and I could myself among them) that one misstep and they’d be up in arms screaming blaspheme! That’s never been an issue with Woods. His Terminators are picture perfect. They are always fearsome looking and bring back nightmares from the films. Even when they’re doing something innocent, such as on Pages 5 and 6, it will make readers unsettled. His imagery for Skynet is also top notch. Those opening four pages show how a computer screen can create terror. The humans look terrific. Pages 15 and 16 aren’t something I’d expect from this series, but I was glad it happened and I was so pleased with how Woods delivers this moment. I’m glad Woods did this series and I look forward to seeing what his next project will be. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first four pages are perfectly drawn, but a lot of that tension comes from the absolutely hostile coloring by Matthew Wilson. A Terminator is bargaining with Skynet for the future of the world. The colors are harsh, as Skynet’s image seems to be vibrating off the page in red, and the blue and grey shading on Connor makes him sinister. I’ve always enjoyed the alien red glare coming out of the Terminator’s eye sockets and it’s even more frightening knowing there’s a human in there. Though I did notice they change color midway through the book. There’s also something very sly about Wilson’s work with the three exterior scenes. Notice how they’re always brightening. Slick work, indeed, but that’s something that can be said of his entire run on this series. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot, the letterer of several movie properties at Dark Horse, closes out this book with a variety of fonts including Skynet speak, computer font, dialogue, a journal, a headstone, and sounds. I’m very impressed as the dialogue font he uses in this series is completely different from those that he’s used in the just finishing Fire and Stone books featuring Alien, Predator, and Prometheus. He doesn’t settle for repeating himself and that sets him far above other letterers. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A perfect ending to a perfect series. It’s the final fate of humanity on earth. Why wouldn’t you want to see how it ends? Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.
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