Advance Review – Terminator: Sector War #1 (Dark Horse)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Jeff Stokley
Colours: Triona Farrel
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Release Date: 15th August 2018

It’s always daunting to add to a well-established and much loved franchise, especially one as iconic as the Terminator series. Thankfully, Sector War doesn’t fall into the Doctor Who trap of the recent films trying to re-write the timeline (even going so far to cast the 11th bloody Doctor in one of them), instead delivering what is more of a homage to the original film while adding something new and interesting to the cannon.

It turns out that on that fateful night in 1984 Skynet didn’t just send one Terminator sent back in time, they sent two. One was dispatched to Los Angeles (as we all know) to destroy the mother of the human resistance Sarah Connor, while the other was sent to New York City to terminate rookie cop Lucy Castro. The reason? To cut whatever ties she or her future self might have with the resistance, whatever they may be.

We don’t have much time to ponder these reasons though, because aside from a brief explanation Brian Wood launches us straight into the nostalgic action.  A naked Terminator sizing up the right bloke for some typically ‘80s fashion, the untiring chase, a hardened heroine with her own problems to deal with in addition to the killer cyborg hot on her heels. Yes, there’s some familiarity here, but at the same time this is feels like a completely different chapter in the story of Skynet psycho killers.

The setting of New York for one gives the story its own unique feeling, calling back to Predator 2 or Die Hard With a Vengeance. The inhabitants and dingy scenery add a darker tone with its own smart-arse sense of humour to the events which are unfolding, with Jeff Stokley’s use of angular jaws and glaring eyes creating a far more menacing Terminator than the familiar Arne death stare. Castro is an interesting lead too, and she strikes me a little like a combination of Kyle Reese and Connor. Not just the damsel in distress but someone whose seen the bad side of society already, and who is still very much a woman without the slight masculisation of Sarah in Judgement Day.

This new series manages to provide a great homage to the films while also standing on its own two feet, delivering little nods to the events happening simultaneously in LA and, most surprisingly, some genuinely funny humour. There are more than a few lines where I found myself giggling at Lucy’s dryness, but none more so than naïve robotic responses from the Terminator. Sure “I’ll be back” is great but “thank you for the auto-loader,” is damn right hilarious.

A great bit of hard-nosed ‘80s killer robot fun!

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy


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