As Terminator stories are wont to do, "Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle" #1 jumps back and forth through time, with J. Michael Straczynski and Pete Woods checking in on 2003 and 2029. Naturally, John Connor makes an appearance and so do some Terminators.
Along the way, Straczynski spends much of the issue setting groundwork for the rest of this series and building backstory for the Terminator tales that have come before. The T-800s sent back in time are ruthless and brutal, giving Straczynski a chance to set the grim tone for this story before the action even crosses the staples of this comic book. Straczynski's dialog gets a little overwritten and unnecessarily heavy in the scene set in Colorado in 2029, but he makes up for that with a fine, cinematic piece of juxtaposition that details the exploits of escaped felon Thomas James Parnell.
Pete Woods helps sell that scene quite nicely, providing tight vignettes that combine to form a larger collage when the camera is pulled back. With slick colors and dynamic color effects from Matthew Wilson, Woods' art is dynamically detailed, giving the worlds inhabited by Terminators gravity and density. Woods clearly enjoys drawing the inner functions of Skynet more than some other bits throughout the comic, but that doesn't mean he skimps on detail. Resplendent with individual bricks on building facades and vast arrays of firearms displayed on the wall of a gun shop, "Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle" #1 has a lot of visual panache for readers to digest.
Adding to Dark Horse's already attractive stable of licensed and refreshed properties, "Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle" #1 brings a big-name writer together with a big-talent artist to regale readers with new adventures of Skynet and the resistance, the price to be paid for freedom and the effects on the people fighting for it. Straczynski adds depth to the Terminator brand, bringing readers insight and information regarding the early days of the project and the surprising origins of those responsible for the rise of the machines. This is a fine introduction to the new world of the Terminators under the Dark Horse imprint. With a significant body count in the first issue and multiple percolating storylines debuting, "Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle" #1 offers readers a reinvigorated take on a familiar concept and property. The Terminators have been set in motion on the mission; from here things are going to get loud.