Title: Transformers vs The Terminator – Enemy of My Enemy
Story by: David Mariotte, John Barber & Tom Waltz
Written by: David Mariotte & John Barber
Art: Alex Milne
Colors: David Garcia Cruz
Lettering: Jake M. Wood
Publisher: IDW Publisher
No, you didn’t misread the title. The Decepticons rule in 2029 AD. Skynet is the Resistance and it sends a lone terminator—a T-800, of course—back to 1984 to take out all the Cybertronians before they wake up (as they did in the first episode of G1). The T-800 first comes across Sarah Connor before both go to the Ark at the base of the volcano to find Megatron and the Decepticons already awake…
The pacing is not bad, although after the opening action, the background exposition felt like it slowed it down a bit too much momentarily. It’s not a big deal, as the expositions are necessary and there is no way around it. Other than that, it runs well enough to the end.
The art by Alex Milne and colors by David Garcia Cruz are good. The linework is sufficiently clear which is a must when there are multiple transformers going at it. There are a few panels that can be better but one can say that for every comic/manga. I think artists need to keep in mind that for larger panels in thicker collections, the space close to the binding is hard to see, and therefore the pertinent details should be closer to the center of page.
At four issues spanning 96 pages, it’s not long and that is its weakness. The plot is forced to be simple. Nothing wrong with simple but such a premise deserves a little more complexity. And with that many characters, there is insufficient time (or page space) to focus on any individual for long. The T-800 rightfully takes center stage throughout. As for the others, it is as well balanced as the writers can manage given the scope.
If it was six issues, the plot could have been more complex and there would be an opportunity for secondary conflicts like the T-800 hunting a Decepticon, or a Decepticon quietly tailing an Autobot in the city during the night like The Terminator. There are allusions to the Terminator-verse, but it lacks the feel of the first film set in 1984. The story feels more like a darker, grittier version of a G1 episode. That’s fine in itself but I prefer more and stronger suspense, one of the strengths of The Terminator (and T2).
Overall, as a nerd joke exercise in which I expected little, it’s moderately intriguing and enjoyable. Despite the weaknesses, it’s not bad nor dissatisfying. It’s way better than the films released in recent years. Perhaps that’s not difficult… but still, it’s actually a decent production. I do hope to see future installments and I hope the writers will make the appropriate improvements.
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