By John Arcudi, Chris Warner, Paul Guinan

A limited series which is collected in the Terminator Omnibus vol. 1.

This is the first story in the omnibus which has four stories. I’m going to review them individually.

Original publication year: 1989
Terminator Omnibus vol. 1 publication year: 2008
Publisher: Dark Horse

The second Terminator movie came out in 1991, so this story was written before it.

It’s 2029 and the war between humans and machines was supposed to be over three months ago when Skynet’s master control was destroyed. However, the machines aren’t as dependable on it and the war rages on. A small group of soldiers is trying to get into a Skynet facility with a working Time Displacement Chamber. They succeed but the cost is high. Colonel Mary Randall is tired of losing men and is now on mission to go to the past to change the future.

One small cyborg spies on the humans and launches security measures. The facility is also a Terminator factory. However, the machines aren’t operational yet but because of the human threat, three T-800 Terminators are put on-line. After a fire fight, which damages the time machine’s controls, the small group of soldiers manages to just slip into the past leaving one scientist behind. The machines have no choice but to go after the five humans.

The naked soldiers, two women and three men, emerge in the year 1990. They quickly get themselves clothes by robbing a clothing store window. Their primary objective, unsurprisingly, is Cyberdyne Systems and more specifically, a junior researcher Dr. Astin.

Only moments later, three bulky Terminators and one smaller one follow the humans into the past. They even use the still-alive scientist to smuggle a gun inside his guts. They kill people to get clothing and are trying to locate the soldiers. Soon enough, they decide to protect Cyberdyne instead and manage to get themselves police IDs and clothing.

The storyline is really fast paced and there aren’t many slower scenes. People are killed brutally but often enough we know nothing about them, not even their names. After the small soldier group comes to the past, they start using their first names which is sort of more intimate. However, we aren’t given any background to them at all. They are soldiers, fighting for their lives.

There are a couple of short, slower scenes between the soldiers when they have started to squat in a run-down house. One of them wants to feed stray dogs because the humans relied on them in the future. In another, two soldiers marvel at a working refrigerator. Still, they seem to be able to drive a car. They do seem hesitant to kill humans, though.

The Terminators seem as efficient as ever. They talk silently to each other with transmitters and are so able to co-ordinate their efforts easily. However, they have small disagreements amongst themselves and the female bodied Terminator (which still has a large and muscular body) is relegated to a “baby sitter” which seems a bit weird for machines.

All in all, a fun quick read but not as good as the movies.