• Reviews 

    Book of the Week – Terminator: 1984 #1

    By | September 30th, 2010
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written by Zack Whedon with art by Andy MacDonald.

    After the shocking events he witnessed in humanity’s future, Kyle Reese has made the history-changing jump from the year 2029 to a world previously beyond his imagining-1984 Los Angeles.

    It’s a time before the war, before Skynet, but not without danger, as Kyle begins his mission to find and protect Sarah Connor from time traveling T–800s. Close behind is Kyle’s friend Ben, with a crucial mission of his own. Hot off the critically–acclaimed Terminator: 2029, Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald begin the next chapter of Kyle’s journey toward destiny in their gripping reimaging of James Cameron’s classic.

    What did we at Multiversity think about the first issue of the second volume of Whedon’s new Terminator story? Find out after the cut!

    Matt’s Thoughts: When I was a kid, Terminator was one of the coolest things around. Those first two movies were something else, to say the least. They absolutely defined sci-fi for me and fellow youngsters and what was possible with time travel and robots. Then there were two more movies, and Terminator stopped being something we bragged about liking so much. It instead just became one of those things we liked. Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald have reminded me perfectly why Terminator was so damn cool in the first place.

    Fitting into the timeline of the movies so well you’d think that Cameron himself had planned it, Whedon’s Terminator story redeemed Salvation for being otherwise uninspired and revives Terminator for the high quality sci-fi flick that it was. With our hero Ben now back in time to help save Kyle Reese and thus protect the future with John Conner, we’re placed right at the end of the first Terminator movie for a slightly altered timeline. With the Terminator salvaged for scrap parts and Reese put into intensive care, Ben is left to wait for the right moment in finding Sarah Conner and fighting for the future.

    There have been many attempts to revive Terminator for the franchise it is, but I feel none are as successful as this should be. Whedon’s Terminator here is smart, stylishly written, and fits into continuity in a way that doesn’t feel overly intrusive. Often times, you’ll get something like a television show that is applauded by fans but also makes continuity murky. With this, it’s a straightforward story that picks up where one film ends and bridges the gap between the next in a way that helps make one of the larger themes of Terminator feel more relevant: fate. With Terminator, everything that has happened happened, and no matter what we try and do to change it, we’re really just replaying history as it has come to pass. Terminator: 1984 plays into this idea a great deal, and it’s through that that we’re given such a dynamite Terminator story.

    MacDonald and Whedon make for a powerful force in the Terminator world, and their three issue story style worked very well the first time around. The first story was incredibly smooth, well paced, and was one that was rather easy to get into and accurately adapt to. I feel like the second is already setting itself up to do the same and with the same time limit and team, I can only expect the best.

    David’s Thoughts: When I picked up Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald’s first Terminator mini, I wasn’t super excited. I didn’t expect much at all from it to be honest. Sure enough, the team surprised me with a story that entertained and quickly developed a set of characters for me to care for that were mostly new in the Terminator world. But how would this follow up series go?

    Well, I can say that it has started off well at the very least, as our boy Ben quickly finds himself in the thick of things with Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese and all of the rest in the very first issue that recounts some of the major moments of the first film.

    One of my favorite things that they are doing with this series is something Dark Horse often excels at: the splitting up of a series into a series of minis instead of one giant series that is pre-destined to stumble at times (aka the Hellboy Strategy). This works particularly well here, as the two minis had a clear point of division and starting it over as The Terminator: 1984 made it both an interesting jumping on point for readers (see Gil’s review) as well as a boon for the creators, giving them more time to put out a quality product without having to rush.

    Continued below

    The storytelling from Whedon and MacDonald is very smooth, and the way they tie-in the first film but with new angles from Ben is superb. It’s a good start, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here. Here’s hoping this mini keeps the ball rolling for a new Dark Horse Terminator world as created by Zack Whedon.

    Gil’s Thoughts: What an interesting concept. I hadn’t been reading the previous Terminator books (mostly due to indifference). When this was suggested, I thought it was a retelling of sorts with the timeline involved.

    Luckily I was wrong. The story starts at around the same time as the first movie ends, so it acts as a Terminator 1.5 of sorts. It was great to see them mining for new material from the rather large gap in between the first two movies.

    To its credit, the story is new, and there is another man from the future who is just as confused seeing out opulence and we would be seeing their poverty. The art was serviceable, as it gave it a bit of a feel similar to Georges Jeanty from the Buffy books.

    The only credit I have with this is its necessity. Sure it’s a new story, but unless this takes a left turn somewhere, we know that it will have reset itself by the end of the mini-series. Personally, I hope for the left turn, as a strictly linear story line would feel like a waste of time.

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."