We are all at war, and nations are having to team up to fight a threat that is bigger than any ever known to man. Mankind is on the ropes, but we are trying to do whatever we can to turn the tide of war on our side. Lives have been lost, and our cities are in shambles as the machines are running wild and they kill without remorse. This is judgement day, a time where man must face machine and learn that there is no fate but what we make. As I am sure you have guessed, this update is all about The Terminator and is in honer of Arnold Schwarzenegger returning back to this amazing sci-fi/action series that help mold and spawn many films that followed. Growing up, The Terminator films were very much in the pop culture and was super popular among the Brassfield Brothers and also was a film series that was a topic among me and my friends many times! So let’s take a few moments before we battle the machines and do some research so that we can understand our machine enemies…I am looking at you, PS3, and you as well, Microwave. You’re not going to get me, no matter what Skynet is telling you!
So to start our look at The Terminators, we should start by looking at the films in the series as they are what started it all and without them, we would not even be doing this update nor would Dark Horse Comics be doing the mini series that we are covering. So let’s take a look at the films in this series.
In 1984, James Cameron and Orion Pictures teamed up to make a science-fiction/action film that followed a woman named Sarah Conner who was being targeted by a robot from the future in order to kill her before she could have her future child John who is the man that leads the war against the machines in the future. But her son also sends one of his soldiers back in time named Kyle Reese to protect her, and in fact he is also John’s dad! Yeah, this movie is super badass, and one of those films that spawned many sequels as well as imitations. The film starred many top notch actors that include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen and was in fact the film that made Arnold a box office star and even more of a household name. The effects are top notch and are very impressive for a lower budget film and showcased the work of Stan Winston, who was one of the best FX guys in the business up until his death in 2008. I first watched this film on HBO alongside my parents and my brother, and I can remember being glued to the screen and being amazed by the ecto-skeleton and just the size and cold nature of Arnold as the T-800. After watching it, I can remember playing with G.I. Joes and acting as if Dreadnok Road Pig was The Terminator! And as long time readers know, The Terminator was one of the first VHS tapes we owned when we upgraded (or is that down graded?) from Beta to a VCR, as my brother got it for Christmas while I got Universal’s Frankenstein. Funny thing is, years later my brother also got Terminator 2 for Christmas, and I got The Addams Family that year. At the boxoffice in 1984, The Terminator was the # 21 and beat out such films as Friday The 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter, Conan The Destroyer, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Muppets Take Manhattan, Sixteen Candles, Missing In Action, The Neverending Story, Supergirl and many other cult and popular films. The Terminator also brought in a total of $38,371,200.00 for Orion in America alone and another $40,000,000.00 overseas! To this day, The Terminator remains one of science fiction’s most popular franchises and makes Hollywood lots and lots of money.
The Terminator has officially four sequels with the second film Terminator 2: Judgement Day being the biggest hit out of all the films. I spent a lot of time on Terminator 2 on my update for Marvel At The Movies 2 so we will speed past it and talk about all the others really quick just so we are all up to date on the fight against the machines. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003 and follows John Connor and Kate, a woman he has fallen in love with, as they are protected by the T-800 from a female super robot solider who has been sent back to once more take John’s life! Sadly in this third film Sarah Connor is dead as she passed away from leukemia in the plot leaving John on his own with the help of his trusty robot bodyguard. The film was # 8 and beat out such films as “Hulk”, “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Matrix Revolution” at the American box office and brought in $150,371,112.00. In 2009 “Terminator Salvation” was released and followed John Connor in the future as he and the rebels face the machines and come across a cyborg who just might be the tool to win the war once and for all. In this film Arnold was only in it via CGI, and the film was packed with all types of Terminators. The film was # 23 and beat out “Friday The 13th”, “Watchmen” plus “Inglourious Bastards” and brought in $125,322,469.00. While the second film might have been the super hit of the series, these other sequels hold true to the story and help add to the drama that is the fight for our future.
Terminator Genisys hit theaters on July 3rd and is about Kyle Reese being sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor. But this time around things have changed as Sarah is now aware of the hit placed on her life as she was a target when she was a child and has been trained and protected by a T-800 that was sent by her son John from another timeline! An evil T-800 has been sent to kill her as well as a T-1000, and to cause even more chaos, John Connor comes back to the past and is now a cyborg and has his own vision of the future! This film is a nice way to reboot the series and yet still pay tribute to the films of the past. With Arnold back as the T-800 and with sexy Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, the film has all the right tools to be a classic film in the series! By this point of course I have seen it and for what I thought of it make sure to check out my first update of 2016 as I will give you my best and worst of the year in film of 2015! But one thing I can say is that it was nice to see this franchise back on the big screen and even cooler to once more see Arnold in one of his most iconic roles. Now begins the countdown for the next Conan movie as he is suppose the play the Barbarian one last time in the film that is being called “The Legend of Conan”.
The Terminator is one of those movie franchises that had the power to spark lots of merchandise and make fans happy who want to collect all things this film had to offer. Things like toys, novels, soundtracks, costumes, stickers, trading cards, t-shirts, posters, video games, statues, drinking glasses, comics and so much more! Growing up I had most of Marvel’s T2 comic adaption, the novels based on the first two films, the soundtrack for the first film that I wish I would have kept on CD as well as many of the Kenner action figures based on the second film. I also had a really cheesy T2 t-shirt that I would wear all the time. In these modern times I also have many of the ReAction figures of the Terminator and for those who don’t know, they are modern 3 3/4” action figures that are in scale with the classic Star Wars making them super cool to an old school toy person like myself. So if you’re a fan of The Terminator, there are so many cool things out in the world for you to own and I am sure more stuff will be coming in the future for a long time to come.
I am a huge fan of score music for movies and even help on a radio show called Alpha Rhythms that airs on Sunday nights on WYSO, a NPR station out of Yellow Springs, and I must say that the music for The Terminator is one fun and iconic piece of work. The original film’s music was done by Brad Fiedel, who created the main title theme that is the calling card for all the movies that followed. Fiedel returned and did the score for the second film as well and spiced up the theme to update it for the time. Marco Beltrami handled the score for the third film, and Danny Elfman handled Salvation. Each brought their own style to the music and both scores were well done. Lorne Balfe is doing the music for Terminator Genisys, and if a CD comes out of the score, I am sure if you listen to Alpha Rhythms you will for sure hear some music from it. Scores help make films what they are, and here is to all these composers for making the sounds that bring The Terminator films to life.
Video Games based on movies sadly seem to be a dying breed of games, and if they are made nowadays you get them in the form of terrible cell phone games or ones that are on social media sites like Facebook. It’s a shame no matter how good or bad they are, I always enjoyed playing a video game based on a film I liked. The Terminator has had many video games based around it from the original Nintendo all the way to PS3 games have been made, and this gamer has played many of them. The first movie had games made for NES, Genesis and even Sega CD, and while none of them were groundbreaking, I found the NES game to be a major challenge that was unforgiving on its difficulty. Terminator 2 had so many games based on it, from shooters to side scrollers, on systems like Game Boy, NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis and even Tiger Hand Held games. I still own the NES side scrolling game, and while it’s terrible, I still spent so much time trying to beat it! Terminator 3 had games made for PS2 and Xbox, while Salvation had games for PS, Xbox 360 and PC. I never played Terminator 3, but I did play and beat Salvation on PS3 some years back. I also remember playing the arcade games based on Terminator 2 and Salvation at the local arcades and movie theaters. My favorite game connected to Terminator has to be Robocop vs. Terminator for the Sega Genesis that was a side scrolling shooter where you play Robocop and fight the T-800’s as well as ED 209! Fun times playing this game with my brother and cousin Norman, and before you can ask, yes I have beat it! I have heard a rumor/story a few years back that Reef Entertainment, the same company who made Rambo: The Video Game, was working of a game based around the Terminator movie franchise, but as of this update that seems to be dead in the water. Here is hoping that a good Terminator game for the PS4 will come out and bring the war against the machines into the hands of gamers.
Way before YouTube, the way you would see music videos was MTV. I know my younger readers are saying no way the station who brought us such amazing shows as “The Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” shows gross music videos, but yeah that station used to be good and was the main way, next to radio, to discover new artists as well as watch videos made for you favorite bands and songs. In 1991, one of the world’s biggest rock bands was Guns N Roses. They were touring and making video for the next couple of years for their smash hit albums Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, and one song called “You Could Be Mine” was used in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day. For the music video they got Arnold Schwarzenegger to play a T-800 who enters the club the band is playing at. This video was so badass when I was younger that I can remember me and my brother waiting for it to come on during the countdowns. So for those of you who want to see this video, look it up on Youtube and enjoy this great song that was used in T2 as well as Terminator Salvation. This song was off Use Your Illusion 2, and over the years I have owned this album on cassette and CD and had this song on a cassingle! While my Dad might have hated Guns N Roses, they remain one of the most iconic bands from my youth.
So we have stalled as long as we can, and it’s time for us to go to war and destroy as many machines as we can as our fate depends on it…oh wait, it just a movie and I don’t think I could have broken my PS3 because it means me no harm and offers hours of fun game play, not to mention my laptop is how I write these Rotten Ink updates and even listen to my music CDs so that would have been very sad to have had to take them out just because of stupid Skynet! This mini-series is the first Terminator one made by Dark Horse Comics and spawned a few more that followed. But I need to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and I need to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So it’s time to gear up and join Dark Horse Comics as we do battle against The Terminators!
The Terminator # 1 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $2.50 Dark Horse # 1 of 4
It’s the future, and the machines are trying to exterminate the humans who have survived Judgment Day, but the humans are not giving up that easily and have taken the war to them. A group of human commandos lead by Mary have entered a base that was held by the machines and use a time machine to go back to the past, the year 1990 in Los Angeles to be exact, thanks to a chunky scientist named Koufaks who stays behind. All the while, a Terminator watches and goes off and brings to life three other Terminators. They torture and get information from Koufaks and also go back to 1990! In the end the Terminators are in L.A armed as Mary and her crew separate to get the lay of the land.
The war for the future is being done Dark Horse Comics style in this 4 issue mini series that follows four Terminators on the hunt for five humans who are going to the past to get something or someone that will help the humans end the war. Colonel Mary is the leader of the humans, and she is a tough as nails as well as beautiful. She is stern with her soldiers and is very focused on the mission. Mary is not fully fleshed out just yet, and I can’t wait to see what awaits her as this series goes on. Her soldiers are Bart, Raul, Alan and Naomi, and they are loyal to their commander and are all skilled in their own ways and are also not fleshed out. Poor fat Koufaks is the brain of the group and the one who sends Mary and crew to the past only to stay behind and get tortured and killed by the Terminators who break his bones and cut his flesh. The Terminators are killing machines who are going after Mary and her men with survival on their robotic minds as they don’t want to lose this war. All they know is war and fighting. The comic is pretty brutal as humans are shot and one even has his whole head blown off in front of his friends. So far the story is pretty interesting as I am not 100% sure why they went back to the past and I found myself wanting to know why and started to come up with reasons. Plus I also like how we get a glimpse of Cyberdyne in 1990 and find out that they are not doing well as a company and it appears as if the C.E.O is pocketing the company’s profits. The artwork is very 90’s Dark Horse, done by Chris Warner, and is pretty well done and a style that I find myself liking. The cover on this issue as well is pretty cool and captures the feel of the series. So far this series is starting out pretty solid, and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.
The Terminator # 2 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $2.50 Dark Horse # 2 of 4
Mary and crew are living in an old burnt out house in a bad neighborhood, and she has made a “friend” named Ed who works for Cyberdyne and more importantly, Doctor Hollister who is the person Mary and her friends are after to kill, but he is also the man who the Terminators are going to protect. Mary has lunch with Ed and asks him to have dinner with her that night so that she and Alan can force him to take them to Hollister’s house so they can put a bullet in his brain. Meanwhile The Terminators attack and kill police officers to steal their weapons and as well head to Hollister’s house. Mary and Alan try to kill Hollister, but Ed interferes just as the Terminators show up and kill Alan and make an attempt to kill Mary and Ed who just barely escape as issue two comes to an end.
More action and more importantly answers are packed into this second issue and helps make the story come alive. The plot in this one has Mary and Alan as well as The Terminators all going after a scientist who works for the company that helps set up the fall of man in the future. Mary uses her good looks and charm to use a goofy lab assistant to get her mission done, but while she is a user, it’s clear she has a good heart as when push comes to shove she saves him even after he made her miss killing her target. Poor Alan has a nightmare right before going on his mission where he is shot and killed by a Terminator. The rest of the group take back seats and just hang out at the house and eat and pick on each other for feeding stray dogs. The Terminators are cold blooded killers and mop the floor with some cops all because they want their guns, not to mention they have no feelings and kill Alan with no hesitation at all. Ed is kind of a goof, and I hope that he does not have a bigger part in the next two issues. He served his purpose in leading Mary to Hollister. Speaking of Hollister, it’s clear as day he is not a nice person as he treats Ed like crap and is clearly the man behind some sort of aspects of Judgment Day. The issue is filled with some violence that has people shot and one even thrown through a car’s windshield, making this comic series hold the R rating of the films this series is based on. Art once more is done by Chris Warner and is good solid work with his Terminators most of the time walking around with red eyes. The cover is pretty cool but has zero to do with this issue as no Terminator rides around on a motorcycle. It’s staying solid so far so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.
The Terminator # 3 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $2.50 Dark Horse # 3 of 4
The Terminators take Dr. Hollister to his secret lab and are on a mission to get him the wreckage from the original Terminator who was sent back to kill Sarah Connor. Ed is taken to Mary’s burnt house hideout and listens as they tell him that they are from the future and that Hollister is the start of the end of mankind. Ed thinks they are crazy and leaves to go to Cyberdyne and is attacked by a Terminator and is just barely able to escape, and of course he goes back to Mary and by doing so he leads The Terminators to them. Raul and Naomi are killed as Mary, Ed and Bart barely escape with their lives.
Why in the world is Mary and her crew still helping Ed who has been the biggest dumbass in the world? Not only does he screw up their mission by saving Hollister but now leads killing machines to their front door, and two of her friends are killed in cold blood as his goofy butt is saved once more for danger. Bart at one point wanted to kill him after he thinks Ed’s interference caused his friend Alan to die, but is talked out of it I am sure by the end of this issue he was wishing he did. Mary once more is the true hero as when their house is under attack she is the one that tries her best to lead them all to safety. The Terminators in this one just kill and kill, and one death has one chopping a cop in the back of his neck breaking it like a chicken wing. Hollister as well is showing some evil intentions as he starts to put two and two together and knows his saviors are not people nor are they cops, but doesn’t care as long as they can help him get fame and money. By the end of this issue with many of the good guys dead and Mary, Bart and Ed on the run, I want to see how they are going to get out of this alive and how they will destroy all the Terminators and change the future. The art is once more done by Chris Warner and is good stuff, but I will say this issues cover is a little weak and kind of generic. With one issue to go, this series is very solid and is very enjoyable, and I can say I am hoping that they don’t drop the ball on the ending so with that let’s get to it.
The Terminator # 4 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $2.50 Dark Horse # 4 of 4
At Hollister’s secret lab Mary, Bart and Ed are having a stare down with the Terminators who have one turn on them killing one of them and wounding another! The cops show up and Hollister is saved by the law and taken to safety as Mary, Bart, Ed and the turn coat Terminator escape. While on the run the turncoat explains that he is only half machine and he was used by them in order to repair the fake skin on the T-800 models. While driving, the remaining two Terminators come back for the attack and kill Bart by snapping his neck as he was driving and Mary, Ed and Turncoat use a pipe bomb on the car they were in and the Terminators were hanging on, blowing them up. Ed is banged up and Mary and Turncoat help him as they wondering if the Terminators are dead or not as Turncoat doubts that it’s over. In the end Hollister gets a package in the mail that is the head of a Terminator with a note that says from a friend!
The final issue is fun in many ways but also a let down in others. Let’s start with the plot that has twists and turns and has Mary and the good guys going head to head with Terminators where only one side can win and with the help of a Terminator, her team barely wins. Mary who starts off as a badass by this issue seems more like a girlfriend worried over her “man” and spends more time worrying about Ed then blasting and killing Terminators who have butchered all her friends. Ed is just a waste of a character, and I found myself really not liking him and getting annoyed with all his boneheaded moves that leave the real fighters dead. In fact, he was a goon almost this whole series. Bart almost lived, and while he had a short temper, his heart was in the right place as he risked it all to try and save mankind. The Turncoat Terminator had a change of heart once he was in 1990 and decided to kill his machine brothers and turn to the side of man. This is one of the issues I had with this final issue as his reason for turning good seemed a little silly and rushed. I mean I get that half of him was human, but the fact his reason for turning 100% was well I see hope that mankind can win the battle now…wow that’s deep. Hollister in this final issue runs for his life during the shoot out at his secret lab and in the end is the proud owner of a T-800 severed head! He is such a greedy man who doesn’t care about the issues his work could cause in the future as long as he makes lots of money today. The Terminators are killing machines but in this final issue they are knocked around and blown away and let’s not forget up in what seemed like a rushed way to wrap up this story in this final issue in the mini series. While I enjoyed this series, it takes the route of something I hate as the end is just a build up for another possible mini-series and that’s annoying as I feel this one didn’t have a good ending. The art in this issue is a team up by Chris Warner and Paul Guinan and is once more solid good work, and for comic readers who read Dark Horse Comics they know the style of work that artist were doing for the company in the 90’s. The cover for this fourth issue is fantastic and showcases the T-800 looking like he is about attack his prey. Over all this series was a fun read that was a nice little story about Terminators that acted as a fill in for fans of the film series as the second film was coming the next year. While not the best Dark Horse Comic Mini Series I have ever read, it was just middle of the road and never stepped out to shine one way or another.
So as you can see, we are safe for now from the machines thanks to Mary and her brave men and Dark Horse Comics, but if Hollywood and moviegoers have anything to say about it, I am sure the T-800 will be on the loose again to try and ruin the future for the rest of us. Now if you’re a fan of Terminator, you should go to your local theater and watch Terminator Genisys and show that sequels are better than remakes! Our next update will take us to New Orleans and once more will bring Juliet back to Rotten Ink as a guest writer as she will be handling the next Horror Host Icon that is the one and only Morgus The Magnificent! This is one update that you will not want to miss at all as Morgus is one heck of a Host and inspired many and made being a Monster Kid cool! So until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two, support your local Horror Host and enjoy the rest of your summer!