The Terminator: Hunters and Killers #1-3

I mentioned last review that this series, the penultimate Dark Horse series based on The Terminator was out of continuity. Unfortunately, in flipping through it again, it actually does apply to the continuity that’s been established, but not in a way that it affects the story being told in the other series. Instead, it is the first Dark Horse series to take place entirely in the future of 2029/2030 and is a future-based sequel to the first film.

This is a bit risky considering how Now dropped the ball repeatedly with this concept. That series–at least what I read of it–could have been a fascinating look at a post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of a humanity fighting to survive. Instead, we got a lot of Schwarzenegger clones and a whole weird moon base situation. Yes, the bar was set low, but there is also the potential for things to go wrong.

Torin Smith (who scripted with plot assists from Adam Warren and Chris Warner) gives us a story about the Russian side of the Skynet story. John Connor’s team was successful in both sending their soldier back in time to stop the T-800 and destroying Skynet’s defense grid. So what Skynet does is turn to its Russian counterpart, MIR, which it assimilated after Judgement Day, to track down a leftover Soviet submarine that has a full nuclear payload. In a note taken from The Burning Earth, Skynet wants to launch that payload at humanity to finally wipe it out.

Being used here are Terminators that are very much like Dudley in our main series–humans that were captured by the machines and then turned into Terminator hybrids who are working for them. It’s an interesting concept, especially when done under the auspices of the AI constantly trying to improve itself through various upgrades. It also provides for some suspense in the series because we know at least one of the men in the Russian resistance camp is one of those double agents, and there might be another.

This is probably the weakest of all of Dark Horse’s series and specials at this point, even if it is an enjoyable story that does the future fight better than Now did. I think part of it is due to the artwork–and that might be my own prejudices about the artist. The penciller on the book for three issues is Bill Jaaska, who was infamous for his lackluster run on The New Titans starting with issue #100 and ending with issue #113 (with a few fill-ins that ranged from great to even worse), and while there’s at least one issue (issue #112, the “Starfire goes through pon farr” issue) that showed how much potential he had as an artist, it’s still a low point for that book. It’s a low point here, although not a complete disaster, as he’s aided by quality inkers like Dan Panosian. Still, Jaaska isn’t that suited to this book.

You could skip over this and not miss much if you’re only here for the adventures of the team fighting in the past. If you’re being a completist for this particular era, this should be easy enough to find in the cheap bins.

I may not keep this one, but I will save my verdict for the next post.

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