I have to be honest that I don’t know much about the publishing history of this one–if it was meant to be a miniseries that go the prestige format treatment or if it was considered for one-shot status all along. All I know is that it has two huge comics names attached to it, even if one was at the start of his career at the time. The writer is James Robinson (who would go on to write more Terminator comics at Dark Horse and eventually take on Starman at DC a few years later) and the artist is Matt Wagner (who had made a name for himself with Grendel over at Comico, a property that he’d just brought to Dark Horse around the time this was published). It was another that I found in the last-chance quarter bin, and I had to check to see where it fit in because while it does not follow the story that the first series set up, it was published during this first era.
Robinson and Wagner give us a stand-alone story wherein another Terminator was sent back to 1984 at the same time the T-800 was sent back for the first movie. This one is female and has been tracking Sarah Connors and instead of centering in on Linda Hamilton’s character, she finds one who at this point is on her honeymoon in San Francisco with her new husband, Alex. Intriguingly, she’s a bit of a scam artist because she and a lover of hers are plotting his death so that she can inherit his wealth. It all comes to a head when the Terminator attacks their hotel with a man from the future named Eugene Ruggles showing up to help take down the Terminator.
I’m hot and cold on James Robinson because while I really enjoy a number of his works, there are unspeakable acts of comic carnage that he is responsible for (and I will not elaborate further). I do love Matt Wagner’s art, though, and Wagner is a great artist for this story. The two blend the action and horror elements of the film with a bit of noir and some humor, giving a story that would have definitely been worth the $5.95 you would have paid for it back in 1991 (I guess Professor Alan would call this a “quarter bin steal”?). In fact, I think the only downside to this book is the weird gimmick it has, which is a pop-up.
No, really. At one point, the police have a blockade set up to catch the Terminator. She has stolen a motorcycle and comes right at them, jumping them and firing in midair. When you turn to pages 34-35, the top panel is a double-page one of the Terminator flying in on her bike and firing her gun, and she is the “pop up” piece, coming out above the page. It makes the book a little hard to flip through and while the art is good, it’s a really silly gimmick.
Ah, the Nineties.
But that’s a small quibble with a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t think that I would pay very much for this if I saw it in a back issue bin, but maybe that’s because I’m spoiled from getting it for a quarter. Still, if you manage to see this on the very cheap, definitely snatch it up.
This is going to get piled into my “wait for the verdict when I finish the books” directive here, and I have to say that I’m tempted to keep it despite what I do with the rest of the Dark Horse Terminator comics, especially since it can go on my trades and graphic novels shelf as opposed to sitting in a shortbox.