In Review: The Terminator: Sector War #4

An enjoyable conclusion to Lucy Castro's plight.

The covers: Two covers to track down for this concluding installment. The Regular cover is something I’ve not encountered in a long time: I cannot give credit to who the artist is. Even ordering from Dark Horse Comics, there’s no credit given to the artist; there is for the Variant, but not this cover. That’s a shame because this is one sweet frontpiece. Lucy Castro is in the center of an empty subway car holding her pistol by her right side. She is being looked upon by a Terminator whose reflection is shown in the remaining glass in the door that enters the car. Its hand is on the right side of the broken window to rip it down. Great details, clever point of view, and excellent coloring. I wish that I could have found who was responsible for this. One of the reasons I can’t find the artist(s) is because Dark Horse is only giving credit to the artist who created the cover that a reader picked up. Since I purchased the Variant cover by Ethan Young that’s the credit inside my physical copy. This has the T-800 in a bust shot looking at the reader. He’s human looking, save the exposed metal on the right side of his face and his metallic right hand. Behind him is a destroyed Times Square. I love this style of artwork, so I picked this cover. Overall grades: Both A

The story: Officer Lucy Castro is running into a subway tunnel pursued by the fully revealed Terminator. Its slow pace allows her to gain entrance to a maintenance room by shooting off the lock. She finds a phone, but it’s not working. Thankfully she finds something else she may be able to put to use — a crowbar. Emerging from the room the assassin from the future starts shooting. She’s able to avoid fire by finding an extremely narrow corridor she can squeeze through, but the Terminator can’t. How it’s able to resume the chase is clever from Brian Woods, but that’s been this series from the get-go, very clever. This being the final issue, there has to be a face-to-face battle between the characters. I liked what Castro tried to do on Page 7 and what eventually gave her more time to think on 8. Page 10 wasn’t too much of a surprise as her mode of attack was shown on an earlier page. Where she and the Terminator end up on 13 was a surprise. The dialogue from one of her peers on 16 was harsh, brutal, and absolutely perfect for the moment. I liked the action on 14 which shows the character to be true to their word. I liked the ending of the book, because it’s what the character would do, though it does leave things very open for a sequel. The amount of smart fighting made this a good read. Overall grade: A

The art: Jeff Stokely’s visuals will either be loved or hated. I can’t imagine any middle ground on his Manga looking artwork. I found it to be so different from other Terminator books I’ve read (and I’m old to have been there when NOW had the license) as to be a nice change of pace. Stokely has his panels set up very cinematically, beginning with a neat bird’s eye view of the train yard, then moving to Castro’s silhouette as she enters the tunnel. I also like that when the Terminator is first seen his head is not, allowing the reader to focus on his mechanical composition, rather than his menacing face. Shading throughout the book is down with rough crosshatching or just diagonal lines: sometimes it works, other times it does not. The panels that show the T’s point of view are neat, capturing the feel of when they appeared in the films. I really like the super thin horizontal panel on Page 5 that perfectly shows the reader where the protagonist has gone. The location on 6 foreshadowed to me how this fight would end. I like the reaction on 7 to an attack. The action on 8 is exciting thanks to the close-ups of the engagement, even though faces aren’t shown. The lack of a background on 10 is a perfect way to telegraph what’s coming. That action that follows is very easy to follow, looks good, but really looks as though it’s from a Japanese comic. This leads me to wondering if I would like the visuals more if they were in black and white. Just a thought. The second panel on 14 is a good payoff for the series, though if it were larger it would have had a stronger impact; its size should have been swapped with the panel that follows it. Page 15 contains only text for scene setting and beautifully shows how the character, even in their current state, gets no attention from New Yorkers. The final page is a full page splash that serves as a good coda for the story, but notice how someone wearing a sign on the left is foreshadowing the world’s fate. Nice. Overall grade: B

The colors: I enjoyed what Triona Farrell does with colors on this book. Reds are used for intense actions and to show the T-800’s point of view, there are some sickly greens in a room on Page 3 that add to hopelessness of Castro’s situation, and sounds pop off the page when they appear. I really like the abrupt change in the setting’s colors on 10. Overall grade: B+

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot creates scene settings, sounds, Terminator internal text, dialogue, a scream, yells, and computer text. The Terminator text looks as it did in the films, instantly cuing the reader in to what they are looking at. Two sounds in the book, THUD and PANG, look really different from all the other sounds, coming off as very organic. The other sounds are also good, but are composed of much neater lines, giving them a metallic tint. Overall grade: A

The final line: This was an enjoyable conclusion to Lucy Castro’s plight. The action is strong and the visuals, though Manga inspired, work well. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Castro’s adventures and would also like to see the artwork before it was colored. Overall grade: A-

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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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