Terminator: Sector War #1
1984 and the all too familiar electrical interference heralds the arrival of a Terminator into the city’s back alley, this time in New York, not Los Angeles. While one is attempting to dispatch Sarah Connor, another is targeting NYPD Officer Lucy Castro, a rookie cop assigned to one of the worst sections of the city, who returns home after a ten hour shift to deal with a pesky deadbeat boyfriend. No sooner has Lucy Castro faced his flippant nature than she hears a disturbance outside and upon going to investigate, encounters her neighbor under attack from a tall imposing man, one who takes a bullet without flinching and has extraordinary strength.
After procuring what stash of weapons she can hastily gather she witnesses the imposing man murder her boyfriend in such an offhand way it forces her to go on the run. As she is told some cryptic truths, that Will is the father and the Resistance must die, she stuns him with a flash grenade and makes a break for it. When the penny drops and she checks her calendar she reconnoiters at a pharmacy to perform a pregnancy test. When she hears her name called by a familiar voice she escapes out the back door, But the Terminator is in hot pursuit. Isolated and unable to call for backup, Castro faces off against the relentless T800, relying on unlikely allies to see her through to dawn.
Characters: In my pre-release review I stated Lucy is perfect for the role of a cop in the South Bronx precinct and can clearly give as good as she gets and now van freely mention the REASON she is targeted as well. After a ten hour shift and being caught off-guard, she still has the measure of the T800 from start and clearly has what it takes to be a member of the future Resistance. And the way she is made unable to call for help makes for believable and organic motivation for the chase. The T-800 himself is vastly different to the Arnie model thankfully and like the other Dark Horse versions is his own character, in as much as a cyborg can be. After procuring clothes in the usual fashion the cyborg sets about looking for his target. With heavy set build and granite-hard features he cuts an imposing figure in the surroundings and definitely stands out, practically a walking tank, as well as being in complete contrast to the diminutive but feisty Lucy and towers over her right away which gives a clear indication of the vast difference between the two and his immediate advantage.
He also seems to have some character traits over and above the basic cyborg model. He knows how to give oblique answers, much as Arnie did. Aside from the curt, deadpan answer about the White Pages he also thanks the clerk for the use of his gun. Chameleon-like responses that will see him well in his acquiring his target and he does seem a little more talkative than other models, as well as obligingly answering Lucy’s question so helpfully.
Writing: Having previously written Aliens: Defiance for Dark Horse Brian Wood is perfectly proficient in adapting movie properties and ensures this is very reminiscent of the first movie. The start even mirrors the opening sequence of the movie perfectly with the opening credit scrawl and the reminder that the battle for the future is to be fought in the past, very nice touch. He is also in total synch with the decade and makes it fit perfectly with the art of this book. And as writer of Briggs Land and creator of DMZ he is more than proficient in war stories and full-on battle scenarios and his story here marries these two perfectly. He is also no stranger to writing strong female characters, having penned the all-female volume of the X-Men. From the very first confrontation and the ensuing chase, the set up brings it right back to basics of one woman struggling against the ultimate nemesis and she doesn’t even have the luxury of a time traveling resistance fighter to help her. There is a very subtle scene with a TV on in the pharmacy, while the store clerk watches news of trouble in Los Angeles, a very clever nod to the ongoing saga with Connor. The plot device that sees Lucy similarly stranded and alone was well handled and perfectly believable too. The vandals trashing her car and stealing the radio ensures she is unable to easily escape or call for backup from the precinct, so begins her nightmare. Only time will tell if Lucy can find the measure of the T-800 and rise to the challenge. She seems to be off to a good start.
Art: Robert Sammelin’s cover informs the contrast between the gritty underbelly and the brightness that is New York and the chase element of Lucy vs the T-800, while the variant cover by Grzegorz Domaradzki has all the fantasy and sci-fi hallmark touches of the movie. As for the interior art, Jeff Stokely is well versed in fantasy art, from covers for Deadly Class and Power of the Dark Crystal and as artist on Labyrinth. But he is also a master of grim and gritty, with past achievements such as Six-Gun Gorilla and award-winning The Spire. So he is a natural for this book and he delivers the reader right into the harsh realistic scenery of the Bronx and the hellish night shift of the NYPD precinct. With touches like graffiti on the corner of the phone box and perps and assorted punks sat in the waiting area of the police station, the feel is very in keeping with the narrative of the Terminator story and you can almost hear the strains of Brad Fiedel’s synth and industrial beat in the background. As Lucy goes on the run the surrounding area also has that 80’s feel to it and as the train rattles by overhead daubed in tags I could see she was going to be in for a long lonely night with little help to combat the nemesis hot on her trail. Although the almost manga look of Lucy is a little offputting at first, I think it contrasts well with the grim hard look of her opponent and it grew on me.
Various different staging areas for the confrontation and chase are in great contrast with each other, from the grim and seedy place she calls home, to the bright stark lighting of a pharmacy and then on to dark isolated city streets as she goes on the run in a densely populated but yet equally lonely city. Each scene showing she will have the challenge to make it through the night.
COMING NEXT: NYPD officer Lucy Castro is being hunted by the T-800 and seeks protection from a local crime boss in order to survive the night. Will it be enough?
Has Lucy got what it takes to survive the night against an unstoppable enemy? So far she is giving him a real workout. The city of New York is almost a character in its own right here as with the movie. Let's see who's side it will be on, I think Lucy has the home team advantage so far, but the Terminator already makes it clear not everyone is on her side.
Terminator: Sector War #1 (Bright Lights, Big City)
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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