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The Terminator: 2029-1984

Trade Paperback, Dark Horse Comics

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A Comfortable Return to the Themes of the Original TERMINATOR Movie

  • Sep 5, 2014
So far as I’m concerned, THE TERMINATOR has always been a great franchise that has suffered from lackluster treatment in the comic books.  Now, I’m not picking on Dark Horse here; they’ve given the property a good look, and they’ve built upon the ideas of that universe in some unique and interesting ways.  It’s just that once I’ve finished reading anything that’s come out I think it’s been fairly quickly forgotten.  It’s never had the staying power – at least, not in my memory – the way some of the tales Dark Horse has spawned from some other sci-fi worlds.
Still, THE TERMINATOR: 2029-1984 quickly became an exception to that rule.  The script is written by Zack Whedon, and the art is supplied by Andy Macdonald.  Unlike some of those other yarns, this one has a welcome feeling – a sense of ‘home’ – that many minis sorely missed.
Basically, the story posits that not long after John Connor sent Kyle Reese back in time for the purposes of protecting his mother, Sarah, from the T-800 another man shows up also requiring a trip back … in order to protect Kyle Reese!  It would seem that, somehow, events in the present timeline have changed, and a much aged Reese tells his younger comrade that things need to be corrected.  So much like the second BACK TO THE FUTURE movie does, audiences do get to revisit some of the events of the first picture from a markedly different perspective.
The upside?  It’s a quick and harmless read that basically requires that reader only have familiarity with the first movie (from 1984).  The art is nice with colors occasionally a bit brighter than what we’ve normally seen in Terminator miniseries, but, stylistically, it all melds together quite well.
The downside?
Well, the narrative basically sets up a situation wherein these characters are required to re-experience themes that – quite frankly – they already went through in that first seminal film.  Hey, I’m all for playing out the various outcomes of ‘what if’ as much as the next fan (I do love this franchise quite a bit); it’s just that so many of the moments celebrated here feel a bit derivative emotionally of things that have already happened.  Give the high praise for this tale, I thought it was going to offer up something fresh; instead, we’ve ignored canon (I thought the time displacement equipment was destroyed after Kyle Reese followed the original T-800 back, no?) and the only pay-off are already established themes, feelings, and nuances.
But – and I mean this wholeheartedly – 2029-1984 is definitely worth the time spent with it.  As I said, it’s quick.  It’s convenient.  It feels like slipping into those old gym shoes that felt so comfy when you last wore them, and here they are twenty years later still feeling as welcoming.  Trust me when I say this could’ve been a train wreck, but instead it’s a welcome journey back to a property we all enjoy.

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Ed ()
Ranked #12
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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