Terminator: Secondary Objectives #1-4 and The Enemy Within #1-3

The primary objective was to protect Dr. Hollister from the rebels from the future. With that mission somewhat compromised due to Hollister’s research being destroyed (although someone mysteriously mailed him a Terminator skull at the end of the first series), the remaining Terminator from the prior series now turn their attention to the secondary objective: killing Sarah Connor. The rebels know this and they vow to protect her.

The only problem? They don’t know where she is.

At this point, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was on its way to theaters, so it’s possible that James Robinson knew a story point or two from that film, one of which is that at some point between the two films (which take place about ten years apart), Sarah Connor went off the grid. If he didn’t know that detail going into this series, it’s certainly a hell of a coincidence. Sarah winds up more or less the maguffin during three of the four remaining Dark Horse series, although we actually don’t see her at this point. It’s fine, though, because this series takes place right around the time of the first film’s epilogue, where she is extremely pregnant and driving toward Mexico as a storm looms on the horizon.

I combined my reviews of these two series because they are continuations of the same plot that was established in the series prior–Terminators are being sent back from the future and a resistance team is there to stop them. In this case, they’re all also after Sarah Connor. And while this should be a simple story to write, James Robinson (who wrote Secondary Objectives and Ian Edginton (The Enemy Within) have quite a bit of a job in front of them. The Terminator is the type of villain with diminishing returns, especially when you’re dealing with time travel. How many times, after all, can we see the same type of story?

Thankfully, John Arcudi set them up pretty well in the first series, leaving the resistance fighters as well as one of the Terminators alive and laying some groundwork with one of the 1985 human characters, detective Sloane, who is in pursuit of whomever has been killing people named Sarah Connor. There’s also the character of Dudley, who was a person who the machines had captured at tortured at one point, then turned him into a human/Terminator hybrid. This has created a problem wherein his Terminator side is constantly fighting for control over his human side; futhermore, the other Terminators have been able to track him to a point, so he considers himself a liability.

During their pursuit of Sarah Connor, the resistance soldier Mary continues what is a prolonged story arc of becoming more and more acclimated to the life in modern society–something we’ll see come to a head in some regard in the final series, Endgame–and Dudley asks Dr. Astin to surgically remove the Terminator processor from his brain. Plus, there are more Terminators that get sent back and another team of resistance fighters who follow them. It’s constant complications that make the stories suspenseful and made me want to keep reading through the remaining series.

And honestly, they’re not difficult reads in the least. That’s not to say that you can blow right through them in five minutes like a modern-day comic, but they’ve got an incredibly good flow and had I actually bought these off the rack in 1991, I would have been waiting for each issue to come out.

There are two more series left, one of which is an out-of-continuity three-parter, and the other of which is the three-part finale. I’ll be reviewing both separately, and offering a final verdict in the last post.

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