Terminator: Sector War #1 // Review
Each major comics company has their own lifeblood, a comic line that sustains the company line and keeps everyone working. For Marvel and DC, it’s superheroes. For IDW, it’s mostly been toy and cartoon tie-in comics. Dark Horse, publisher of today’s offering, focuses on movie franchises. Brought to us by writer Brian Wood, artist Jeff Stokley, and colorist Triona Farrell, Terminator: Sector War #1 is a tie-in comic for the Terminator franchise with a slightly different take on tradition.
The story focuses on Lucy Castro, a young woman who works as a rookie New York City cop. However, Wood and Stokley only give the reader the briefest introduction to Castro’s life before the Terminator shows up to make her world a living hell. On the run, with her apartment demolished and ex-boyfriend killed by the Terminator, she has to survive fighting against one of the deadliest creations in existence without having a single clue as to what it is.
Brian Wood has crafted the start of an interesting take on the classic Terminator movie. Rather than a dual chase of the savior and killer from tomorrow racing one another to their respective target, there seems to be no one coming from the future so far. The dialogue is light once the action begins, but it also feels right. In a way, the book begins to feel like a rough draft Terminator script after a few pages.
With an action-heavy premise, this comic could turn into a tire fire fast without a solid artist on the book. Luckily, Jeff Stokley seems to have what it takes. Characters have a Japanese aesthetic that straddles the line between Western comics and Manga. This makes characters like Lucy extremely expressive while keeping the titular stalker frightening and unreadable. In fact, the addition of the colors from Triona Farrell leaves this book feeling like a genuine product of the 1980s, despite being published just this month. Special mention goes to the design of this book’s T-800, looking menacing and threatening without directly pulling from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness. With the blonde, slicked-back hair and this art style, though, it does amusingly look like All Might from My Hero Academia.
There are also some decent nods to the franchise, such as noting the chaos that just happened in Los Angeles the same day--a nod to the first movie--or having the prerequisite “Your Clothes, Give them to Me” dialogue, treated by the victim like this happens to him every other day. While it seems like each work in the franchise needs a clothes theft scene by some unspoken law, the execution still feels fresh and enjoyable.
The book may be a little by-the-numbers right now, but there is a distinct charm inside. Not unlike the first Terminator movie, this is a surprisingly good action comic with a very bare-bones setup. However, with the history that Brian Wood has with comics, it’s a safe bet this will be worth checking out in trade paperback at the worst. Needless to say, if the last few cinematic outings for Terminator left you cold, this comic is right up your alley.