blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Terminator (1988) #5

The Terminator  5The Terminator, at least with writer Jack Herman steering the series… okay, it’s not good, but it’s not terrible. It’s not bad. While Herman never resolves the culturally appropriating white male Terminator who goes to the South American jungle and puts tribal markings on his fake(?) flesh to terrorize the locals, it’s at times thoughtful-ish sci-fi.

Like, there aren’t any Terminator: The Movie references and none of the Terminator’s behavior this issue requires continuity with the movie. The Terminator’s mission in South America is to build a giant machine to kill the rainforest faster so the humans all die more quickly. I suppose there’s actually a continuity problem because it means this part of South America is doing just fine in the post-nuclear holocaust of The Terminator. Is SkyNet out of nukes? It can’t figure out how to make more?

So many questions. But only when you consider the issue as a licensed property. As a comic about some isolated South American tribesmen running afoul of an invading metal monster and having to quest—to a research outpost—to save their tribe? It’s solid. There’s a not great “Terminator history but through hallucinating indigenous people, but it’s just slightly problematic, not disastrous. Herman puts in the work on his story.

The ending’s pretty cool, too, introducing the idea of The Terminator as an anthology series, checking in on the destroyed world. Much better than when they were doing “The Adventures of Kyle Reese’s Potential Acquaintances but Definitely No One from the Movie.”

Thomas Tenney and Jim Brozman’s art is the issue’s most significant drawback. They both put in some work, but it just doesn’t add up to much. Odder still is when they do visual nods to other comics; only those nods have better art than when they’re not doing nods. They focused their energies poorly. But, again, it’s a late eighties licensed comic from an indie publisher… the bar is low.

And while The Terminator isn’t of interest as a curiosity (it might still be), it’s far from narratively incompetent.

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