Thursday, August 11, 2016

CBR Terminator: 2029 to 1984

It's time to look at another Terminator comic book series! But wait - is this comic better than all of the recent Terminator movie sequels combined?

Comic title: The Terminator: 2029 to 1984
Art by Andy MacDonald
Story by Zack Whedon

Published by Dark Horse Comics
From March 2010
Lineup Terminator series
Format: Trade paperback collecting the mini-series The Terminator: 2029 #1-3 and The Terminator: 1984 #1-3.

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. Around Terminator Salvation, IDW took the licensing rights. Finally, today Dark Horse was able to get the rights back much to the fans' delight, several decades later!

Around the same time, The Terminator IP has been going through a bidding war of sorts. After Rise of the Machines, C2 Pictures canceled their Terminator 4 movie and every major studio in Hollywood and independent filmmaker tried acquiring the rights to the franchise. While the Halcyon Company and Warner Bros. would eventually get the rights to make Terminator Salvation, TV alumni Joss Whedon - of Buffy and Firely game - also tried to get a crack at Terminator bidding on the IP, but sadly lost. Joss Whedon often said he was a big fan of the series and he just really loves the concept behind Terminator.

He didn't get the rights to the franchise to make his own movies, and therefore prevent bad sequels,  and instead would go on to work for Disney and help bring the Marvel Universe to the big screen. The rest is history.

While he didn't get to make his own Terminator film, we can sort of have a look of what his movie would have been in the pages of this comic.

The Terminator: 2029 and its continuation The Terminator: 1984 is an alternate take on Terminator, acting as a as a sort of direct sequel to Terminator 3, taking place in the distant future of 2029, before going back to the past and rebooting the franchise. (Yes, the last film attempted this exact plot, probably because this outline circulated in Hollywood back then.)

The entire story was collected in the trade The Terminator: 2029 to 1984.

The story takes place years after Judgment Day, as depicted in Terminator 3.

Our story begins in the year 2029, the year Resistance leader John Connor would originally send Kyle Reese back to 1984 to save his mother Sarah Connor from the attack of the T-800.

At this point in time Kylel is just a man trying to fight SkyNet. Kyle Reese is fighting the machines with some of his allies, his friends Ben and Paige. Everyday gets slightly more complicated to survive with all these HKs patrolling the skies. The T-600s are getting increasingly more difficult to escape from. When SkyNet introduces a new model of robot, the first Terminator units, almost indistinguishable from regular humans! They can get inside Resistance outposts and hide among people!

The time is getting to close, John Connor must locate Reese and send him back into the past to save the future by preventing Judgment Day!

But there's a twist in the regular formula! Ben encounters a strange old man who claims to be a future adult version of Kyle Reese that survived the events of the first film, who had been held captured by the machines up to 2029! He convinces Ben to follow the other Kyle back in time to be sure they break the loop and finally put things right.

Kyle jumps from 2029 post-apocalyptic cybernetic nightmare to the sunnier days of 1984 Los Angeles, before the war with the machines! Kyle is once more still looking for Sarah Connor to protect her, but his friend Ben is sent shortly after with a mission of his own, protect Kyle Reese to deviate from the usual timeline.

We end up with a different outcome where Kyle Reese could eventually grow up to be a father figure to John Connor... if he survives the machines coming after him now!

This comic was named after the cult classic video game Terminator 2029 but it has nothing to do with it though (kinda like those two Predator: Concrete Jungle comics and game).

It's a different type of Terminator comic, compared to the usual stories. It's much more focused on the time travel part and playing off with it, and it even features a much more upbeat tone and positive message.

It's the kind of Terminator story I would have always wanted to see on film.

The series was written by by Joss Whedon's brother Zack Whedon, who co-created and co-wrote the parody musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and worked on the series Fringe.

It's a sort of reimagining for the Terminator franchise (and why it would have worked great for a film), it's both a continuation as well as a reboot for the Terminator timeline (kind what last year's Terminator: Genisys would attempt without much ease). It feels very much like a lost film we never had.

And despite the whole gimmick behind the Terminator series being such a tired played out concept, it manages to keep you surprised, uncertain what might happen next.

The gorgeous art of Andy MacDonald really fits the story, it's detailed and fluid. He makes these characters his own yet recognizable.

Finally the series featured some fantastic covers by the very talented Massimo Carnivale.

Overall, "Terminator: 2029" and "Terminator: 1984" are the proper continuation of The Terminator storyline we never got on the big screen. And it's probably the best Terminator comics to this day.

I Highly Recommend this series to any fans of the franchise, even if you're only familiar with the original first two films. (That gives you even more reason to check this out!) I would go as far as to say this would have been the best sequel to James Cameron's films!

The plot gets "hijacked" by this old Kyle Reese discovery and then it completely veers off to the original chase story of the first films. It's a great rediscovery of what Terminator was supposed to be about.

This probably would have been what we would have gotten instead of Salvation and Genisys if Joss Whedon would have been able to buy the franchise rights, before he shifted his focus towards Marvel and Avengers movies.

I give it:

3 / 3 Aaylas!

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