Terminator Omnibus Volume 2: v. 2 Paperback – 15 Apr 2008
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In short: I'm not very impressed. I'm a big fan of the first two films (the less said about the sequels, the better), but the plotting in these stories is all over the place, and rarely consistent with Cameron's original vision. For instance, the first story in Vol. 1 details a Resistance cell and a quartet of Terminators going back in time to the wake of the first film's events to prevent and ensure Skynet's creation respectively; however, a panel states it's '1990s Los Angeles' - at least six years after the first film's events! Similarly, in Vol. 2 it's detailed that Sarah Connor gave birth in October 1984, which not only would have made John Connor four months premature, but conflicts with the information the T-1000 looks up after his first appearance in the second film, which says John Connor was born in 1985. Further, there's a story which takes place on the Millennium eve (bearing in mind Judgement Day was supposed to be August 29th 1997), and yet John Connor is unaware of the future and pretty much manages to take a Terminator out alone. Maybe if you're less pedantic than I you could overlook these issues, but they come thick and fast.
And besides the inconsistencies and plot flaws, the stories are generally not very well written. The Terminator machines are not generally known for their subtlety, but they use deception and discretion when possible, and yet here there's barely a hint of that, as they consistently go in all guns blazing and consistently fail in their objectives. The artwork ranges from decent to middling, and it varies between realistic and caricaturised, which when collected together in an omnibus gives the stories a weirdly disconnected feel.
There are some interesting ideas explored - such how do you identify and fight a new type of Terminator which dogs can't detect, or what if the machines keep on fighting after Skynet was destroyed, or a story depicting another Terminator sent back just before Schwarzenegger's who was also hunting Sarah Connors. And the idea that Skynet sent cyborgs back in time to ensure its own creation is a much more plausible and satisfactory plot device than Terminator 3's lame 'Skynet was inevitable' justification.
However, ultimately these stories fail to satisfy faithful Terminator fans. Even looking past all the consistencies, there's too much chaff and only a little wheat, and none of the stories have any social commentary, depth or intelligence like you might find with, say, Aliens or Judge Dredd compendiums. Luckily I rented both of these omnibuses from my library and I would recommend anyone interested do the same.
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The stories in here give a much more introspective look at the machines and you learn a lot more about how the think and work together (and against each other). The twist in Death Valley probably makes it the deepest Terminator story that I have read. You also get to see John Connor in a real leadership role, instead of the whiny "why was I chosen to lead, I'm not a soldier?" dork from the movies and TV show.
There is a lot of variance in the artwork too (all good, just different), so you can really appreciate all the different talent. The writing is great too (as expected from Dark Horse).
Anyway, I give the Terminator vol 2 omnibus 5 stars, my highest recommendation for content, and for value.
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