Terminator: Sector War #2

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Jeff Stokely
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letter: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Dark Horse

Review by Frank Lanza

There are a few things burned into my adolescent mind from growing up in the 80’s. Luke taking down AT-ATs on Hoth. Ripley torching the eggs of the Alien queen. Optimus Prime dying. And the Terminator laying waste to an entire police station as he hunts down Sarah Connor. These things are so iconic, they are the foundations of my life long obsession with sci-fi, horror and fantasy. So whenever I encounter a new take on my personal classics I always give it a bit of the side-eye, expecting to be disappointed. Fortunately for me, Brian Wood very pleasantly surprised me with with his take on one of my all time favorite franchises with Aliens: Defiance. So I had understandably high hopes going into Terminator: Sector War #2. Did it live up to my expectations?

Terminator: Sector War #2 continues the tale of NYPD officer Lucy Castro as she runs from the T-800 sent into the past to kill her. This far the premise of Sector War is extremely simple: it’s a carbon copy of the original Terminator film with the only difference being the East coast setting and the challenges the city throws at Lucy while she tries to evade her robotic assassin. There’s not much more to the plot to explain than that; Terminator travels back in time to murder a pregnant Lucy Castro and prevent her unborn child from its future destiny. All we’re missing is the Kyle Reese stand-in.

But that’s not to say that Terminator: Sector War #2 isn’t enjoyable. Quite a bit of it is. It’s a fast paced non-stop action flick with Lucy only one step ahead, and sometimes not even that, of the Terminator. I like that Wood is giving us a boiled down Terminator story that isn’t trying too hard to reinvent the mythology or monkey with all the time travel paradoxes that would be so easy to toy with. We’re getting a classic robot monster tries to kill the heroine story here and it’s working for the most part. The only parts of the story I have minor gripes with are the nonchalance that most of the characters display towards their current situation. Castro herself seems to have slightly detached awareness of her own situation, not recognizing that this man is dead set on murdering her and everything in her path. I think it’s meant to emphasize her tough-as-nails cop persona but it comes off as casually putting herself and other people in danger as she tries to evade the Terminator.

Stokely and Farrell are definitely pulling it off on the art duties. This isn’t a hyper-realistic take on the Terminator, these artists aren’t concerned with giving us a perfect adaptation of the movie universe we all know. Nope, they’re giving us a frenetic, wild, fast paced action book that is constantly in motion and full of color. The Terminator doesn’t really resemble Arnold and I like that it doesn’t, it helps Wood tell a story that is supposed to be taking place at the same time as the original story in the same way but differentiate itself a bit. I loved the colors in issue #2, it evoked a bit of psychedelic punk rock feel that pushes the book forward at a madcap pace.

Verdict: Wait and See!

While I enjoyed this issue, I don’t feel that Terminator: Sector War #2 has given us enough of a story to justify buying each issue as it comes out. I’d be much more comfortable buying this in the trade and reading it as the complete screenplay that it’s trying to be.

Frank Lanza
Ruined for life by the Goblin Queen at age 13, Frank is a lifelong comics enthusiast. Somehow he finds the time to read funny books while being a husband and father to three amazing kids. With collecting passions that range from the entire run of Uncanny X-Men to the world of original comic art and commissions, Frank tries to share his love of comics with anyone that will listen. Feel free to bug me on Twitter @lanzajr26

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