Thursday, July 2, 2015

CBR Terminator Salvation: Sand in the Gears

A new Terminator film is finally out on the big screen after half a decade! Good, bad, we'll leave that for some other blog post.

For now let's look back at Salvation's "comic book movie adaptation"!

Comic title: Terminator Salvation Prequel
Art by Alan Robinson & Don Figueroa
Story by Dara Naraghi& Jeff Mariotte

Published by IDW Publishing
From 2009
Lineup Terminator series
Format: Trade paperback collecting the limited mini-series Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel #1-4 and the one-shot preview Terminator: Salvation Movie Adaptation Teaser #0.

The Terminator franchise is no stranger to comics. Following fan-favorite lengthy classic runs at NOW Comics first in the late 1990s and then Dark Horse Comics through the 1990s, The Terminator IP has been successively brought and explored at several other publishers for a couple of "movie adaptations". Marvel Comics first produced a T2 tie-in, then also followed some more issues from Malibu Comics. Beckett Comics would then be able to produce a Terminator 3 comics before the series entering a little hiatus. Finally in 2007, Dynamite Entertainment bought the Terminator license, along the rights to the RoboCop franchises. No doubt for the sole purpose to release a brand new crossover between these two iconic fan-beloved robotic Hollywood blockbuster series..

With Terminator Salvation right around the corner, IDW Publishing was able to get their hands on the series rights to produce a few new comics.

While using the excuse  of a classic movie adaptation, IDW was able to produce a pretty decent mini-series collected in this trade here alongside the official "Movie Adaptation Teaser". The Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel. Which was able to play around the movie storyline to explore the war against the machines (followed by the obligatory movie adaptation itself, which.. wasn't that great... more on that below).

The "Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel" comics was written by Dara Naraghi and drawn by Alan Robinson. It's a 4-issue story.

The story is set in 2017, in a post-Judgment Day world. Before the events of film.

The world is now at war. After the Rise of the Machines. The machines took over the entire planet and now war is going strong between humans and the machines. While bombings took care of most of the human race, survivors are now hiding underground and what have you.

What about John Connor himself? Well, he's not the leader of the Human Resistance just yet. (That happens in the film.) He just started making these radio broadcasts for other human survivors around the world.

The story of this mini-series follows a bunch of resistance soldiers dispatched all over the world. First we meet this resistance leader Elena Maric, a former LAPD cop that used to work alongside John. She ended up in Detroit and is now trying to blow up Skynet's repurposed auto plants that keep putting out more and more.machines. She's trying to enlist the help of a few locals such as Jackson Parker, a former factory worker who couldn't care less about this futile resistances and just wants to hid his family from the war on the surface.

Then there's this guy Bem Aworuwa, an engineer in Niger, Africa who is now stationed in this key location for the machines. The machines rely on uranium, and they've been digging their supplies out of these local mines. There's this French doctor at the mine, Lysette Gravois, who is tired of being still treated like an outsider after all this time. And Bem's right hand man, Yusuf Al Mansur, who was an illegal immigrant from Syria when this all began.

Both are key important resistance leaders able to stop the machines where it hurts the most, their plants and their energy.

This comic explores the world outside Los Angeles unlike the movies, for a change.plant stationed during

With this heavy focus on these various humans protagonist, it gives us a much better perspective at the war against the machines than McG's own film. All these characters here don't appear in the film, which allows the story to surprise us and tap into interesting different directions, not trapped in the movie's sandbox.

John Connor is only glimpsed here and there, he's still trying to become the resistance leader he's been told to be his entire life, but he's just a soldier for now.

There's a lot of interesting world-building elements. The first few T-600 Terminators still don't fool anyone. There's these big mechanical snakes, the Sidewinder perfectly suited for combat in the desert. We even get to see some Hunter-Killers and the old T-1 tanks. Humans using Skynet's weapons against the machines.

Then there's the "Terminator Salvation Movie Adaptation #0" issue. Which really is just a preview of the first act of the film, only the beginning of the movie.

This teaser of sorts leads right into the movie. We meet Marcus. Marcus meets Kyle Reese. And then, I guess you have to see the film!

It's just a quick cheap and easy teaser, moreso than a proper adaptation. The adaptation was "written" by Jeff Mariotte - with most of the dialogues directly lifted from the first few trailers of the film. And it was adequately drawn by Don Figueroa. It's really forgettable and kind of drags down the entire trade in my eyes.

Overall, it's okay, I guess. To be honest this comic wasn't actually that bad. I liked how they made the prequel story tries to work on its own as a standalone story. That was nice.

It's an interesting tale of resistance soldiers, kind of like those older early Terminator comics at NOW Comics. Giving us a more traditional story of soldiers in a war, on a human level. The story is certainly interesting.

And while the art was a bit sketchy here and there, it worked in context of the comic. There's even a couple of pretty decent spreads that really shows us how brutal the human-machine conflict is. In both features.

The only missed note is really the movie adaptation itself. Which comes as a poor cheap substitute for the actual film. Like most of these comic book adaptation, only a few of those rarely turn out decent. I was almost going to lower my ranking below just because of it. But it's easily forgettable in my eyes.

The movie adaptation is not that great and rushed, and it only serves as a short preview for the film. It doesn't cover the entire film. And how confusing is that, the issue is numbered #0 but it actually takes place after "Sand in the Gears"! Thankfully the trade paperback collected that in the correct order.

All in all, Give It A Read if you're a fan of the series. The story's certainly better than Terminator Salvation's own sketchy "cyborg" storyline. In a way, it's a much better story than the film it's supposed to tie into!

I give it:

2 / 3 Aaylas!

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