In Review: Terminator: Sector War #2

An entertaining issue, even if it goes in all the expected directions of a Terminator tale.

The covers: A pair to find, and you don’t have to travel through time to catch them. The Regular cover, by Robert Sammelin, is of Officer Lucy Castro holding her gun ready as she makes her way through an ally. The tagging on the walls shows she’s not in one of the nicer backstreets of the city. Behind her, symbolically, is the Terminator, moving to the right. He’s instantly recognizable as one of the driven robots because his right eye sports a red glow and part of his cheek is missing, revealing what lies beneath his skin. The coloring makes this seem as though it’s taking place during the day, which is fine, but I’m not used to seeing a Terminator backlit by pink highlights. This is an okay cover, albeit a generic composition. The Variant cover is by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer and is an intense action sequence not in this issue. The Terminator, still wearing his jacket and tie, has the majority of his face ripped away revealing his mechanical visage. The antagonist is delivering a downward right to the hood of a police car that’s dramatically slamming the vehicle into the ground, while raising its rear high. The explosion that accompanies this beat down is massive, with it completely covering the bottom half of the setting. Solid image with good coloring. Overall grades: Both B-

The story: Brian Wood starts off this issue with the Terminator concluding his long walk by arriving at a trash truck parking locale. “Are these vehicles rated rated for extreme damage?” The rifle the robot is carrying is enough to convince the caretaker to respond and give the Terminator the keys to one of the vehicles when asked. As it gets in the vehicle, the antagonist says, “Leave now.” I’d start sprinting, wouldn’t you? Lucy is in the South Bronx. Her patrol car is still running, but she has no radio to contact backup. She goes into a punk club, Noise Hole, and finds a phone. She calls her answering machine. The message is to herself, but, in a funny moment, also says, “If my landlord is listening to this, I’ll file a damage report. It’ll cover the damage. Don’t evict me.” This is said while showing the massive hole the Terminator made in the wall. She ends her call by saying, “William, if you’re there, if somehow you’re still alive…We’re still broken up. You’re still a dick.” Naturally the Terminator is able to track his prey. How so hasn’t been stated yet, but I’m more than willing to have Wood continue the destruction until it’s revealed. And there most certainly is in this issue as the antagonist enters the club in a violent way. Page 11 introduces an interesting surprise into the tale, but the action that’s taken goes as fans of this franchise would expect. Page 18 has several new characters appear and I’ve very interested to see what they add to this tale. The issue ends as one would expect, but there is the promise of an increase in firepower in the next installment. This was an okay read, with many of the expected turns in a Terminator tale. It’s the introductions in the final three pages that shows this series may go somewhere previous Terminator sagas haven’t. Overall grade: B

The art: Jeff Stokely’s manga-like artwork will either attract readers or keep them away. I’ve never seen a comic of this franchise ever look like this, so I’m finding each page intriguing, with Stokely providing some very neat details in his work. The scenes of the South Bronx on Page 2 are really cool, setting the desolate and ruined atmosphere of this area extremely well. The punk club is very cool, with the exteriors at the top of 3 beautiful for all the graffiti on the walls and the mohawks on the characters, but it’s the guy puking on right that sold me. The first interior panel shows the lead singer of a band making a throng of fans go crazy. Big kudos for The Misfits jacket on one attendee. The return to Lucy’s apartment is terrific, beginning with an empty space that is a solid fake-out to the damage that’s shown. I really like the close up of the answering machine when she focuses on William. Very Rockford Files. The following page has no dialogue as the Terminator is shown tearing down the street in a garbage truck. The character looks great and I love the skinny panel that shows him shifting gears speedily. Excellent! The character that speaks with Lucy looks as though he’s walked out of Akira. I really like transitions between panels two and three on Page 7 that shows Lucy’s reactions to what’s going to occur. The large panel that is a partial double-paged spread on 8 and 9 is okay, but the debris is overwhelming too many of the characters. I would have preferred to see more of the people than the bricks — it’s just too lost in the colors. The bottom panel on Page 11 has a cool way to show motion by having the Terminator’s red eyes cause a streak as he turns; this is sharp! All of 14 – 17 is just too unfinished for me. Yes, I get that things are occurring quickly, but this just comes off as only partially finished art. Better are the final three pages with the new characters (I know, can I mention them enough?) appear. The book starts pretty strong, but becomes too loose by the ending. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The colors in this book are more atmospheric than realistic. They’re intended to focus the reader’s eyes and add to the tension of the scenes. The first two pages by Triona Farrell are, however, fairly real. They clearly show the ruin of the city. Once at the Noise Hole the colors turn to reds to accentuate the violent nature of the establishment and the music. Realism returns to Lucy’s apartment and the Terminator’s drive. I like how the red of the villain’s eyes always have them draw attention. The entrance on 8 and 9 has the reds give away to blues, emphasizing the change in the situation. The sounds rightly get some crimson colors to show how violent their actions are. Colors remain red in the final action sequence of the book. Overall grade: B

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot creates the book’s text, which includes scene settings, dialogue, sounds, and a recording. The scene settings are really neat, resembling a computer’s font from the eighties. The sounds don’t appear to be entirely created by Piekos, as some are really rough, with their lines looking not as neat as I’ve seen his previous work. I get why an artist would like to insert their own sounds, but Piekos is aces, why not have the letterer do their job, allowing the artist to add more details to the art? Overall grade: B-

The final line: An entertaining issue, even if it goes in all the expected directions of a Terminator tale. An interesting turn occurs on the final three pages that has me very interested to see what happens in the next installment. The art continues to be interesting for its style, though it does lessen as the issue progresses. If one is a Terminator fan, this should be enjoyable. Overall grade: B-

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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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