The first story in the Terminator Omnibus vol. 2. It has five stories and I’ll review them individually.

Script: Toren Smith, Adam Warren, Chris Warner
Art: Bill Jaaska
Original publication year: 1992 as a limited series
Terminator Omnibus vol. 2 publication year: 2008
Publisher: Dark Horse

Eastern Siberia, 2029. A small group of humans have managed to escape from the labor camps and are escorted to the local refugee camp. The three escapees are a family and one of the refugees knew them. Unfortunately, as soon as the group gets into the hiding place and pets the dogs, they start shooting. Only the lucky intervention of a Russian elite commandos, the Spetznaz, saves the survivors. MIR has developed a new form of Terminator: one that has so sophisticated human skin and muscles that even the dogs can’t differentiate them from humans. They also seem to have the memories of the humans they are mimicking. The humans don’t know anymore who they can trust.

After Skynet became self aware and launched missiles against humanity, it turned towards another supercomputer. This was the Russian MIR. Skynet gave it, too, awareness and it joined Skynet in the fight against humanity. However, Skynet doesn’t trust MIR and has built in fail safes and is monitoring the Russian AI. MIR resents that and has plans of its own. MIR is nine months late in the development of the new Terminator and Skynet has sent its own troops to check in on the progress. MIR has no intention of giving Skynet the best Terminator it has developed so far: the copy of the Spetznaz captain.

Meanwhile, one of the commandos notices that the Terminators left one human alive. The human turns out to be Anatoly Golytsyn, a former KGB agent. The commandos realize that he could have important information and lead him to their base. There, the leaders reveal that they have a plan to destroy MIR but it will need Golystyn’s expertise.

Only two of the commandos have any personality and names: the leader of the group Captain Sergey Pavlichenko and Sargent Larisa Bandera, who seems to be the only woman in the group. Bandera is very hostile towards Golytsyn whom she suspects is partly responsible for killing her parents before the machine war started. After the team sees the improved Terminators, she also strongly suspects that Golytsyn is a Terminator. She says so repeatedly to the Captain who disagrees.

The Captain seems to be a pretty straight forward good guy: cares for his team and mission, and hates Terminators. Later, he does worry that a new world, after the victory from the machines, wouldn’t have any place for a soldier like him. He was captured sometime earlier and was tortured in the camps.

Golytsyn complains about his treatment and about everything else, too. He’s snarky towards Bandera and even goads her to kill him.

When we first see the commando team, its objective is to find the refugee cell and train the people to fight for themselves. This is actually the first time I’ve seen this done but its a really good and necessary idea. How else are they going to get more soldiers?

This story is also pretty bloody but this time the characters are pretty good. Bandera can’t give up on her old hate of Golytsyn and he verbally bates her. She’s also worried about the whole mission and even about her Captain. After all, who can they trust anymore? The Captain was her lover but when she starts to wonder if he’s a Terminator, too, she’s willing to kill him. (Take note, Terminator Salvation writers!)

The Terminators talk to each other again through a computer interface without a need to speak out aloud. The Skynet machines make some pointed comments about how MIR has let them down repeatedly and how MIR technology is inferior. Clearly, Skynet’s programmers gave the AI some of their prejudices.

The best Terminator comic so far!

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