TERMINATOR REVIEW: Taking a retro look at the two part comic series “TERMINATOR 3: BEFORE THE RISE”.

Back in 2003, a month before the anticipated theatrical release of the film “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”, comics publisher Beckett Comics released a limited comic series titled Terminator 3: Before The Rise.  A story that spanned over two issues, this comic series was written by Ivan Brandon and featured art by Goran Parlov, which was announced as the official prequel story that took place before the events of T3.  While how much these comics truly served as a prequel can be debated, this two issue run did indeed give fans a truly exceptional Terminator story!  (For those who haven’t read it, we’ll try to keep the spoilers to a mininum.)

It starts out with a transmission from John Connor to the entire Resistance, calling on them to capture a Infiltrator Terminator out on the battlefield for reprogramming.  John’s order causes many in the Resistance to question their leader. The mission to capture a T-850 seems like a suicide mission. And as one character puts it; “Getting close enough to a Terminator… it’s not how we’re trained… we destroy terminators.. not make them into puppets!”

Terminators will use anything to kill humans… even axes.

Many lives are lost trying to succeed in this mission, but eventually one squad of humans is successful in damaging, but capturing a live infiltrator model which they bring back to base.

Make sure that Terminator is not functional before you start operating on it!

What happens from there is a fascinating look in the methods of what it takes to reprogram a killing machine.

Terminators are apparently hardcoded to be killers. Even if you wipe clean their programming and mission parameters, they will still terminate human life as we know it, simply as a reflex.  In a virtual reality world, much like seen in the movie “The Matrix”, a Terminator has to be taught how to behave in our world, to override its most basic of functions.

Accompanied by the beautiful art of Goran Parlov (and the equally brilliant coloring of Paul Mounts), writer Ivan Brandon writes a fascinating story that delves deep into what it truly takes to change a Terminator from its design to kill, to the higher actions of preserving human life.   It’s a fascinating read, and the only thing truly lacking in this terrific limited series was their unappealing covers.

These odd, unappealing covers depicted nothing releated to the story inside them.

“Terminator 3: Before The Rise”, issue 1 and 2, is an amazing read, and should be sought out and owned by all Terminator fans.  And maybe if we’re lucky, this particular series will one day be released as a trade paperback or hardcover book like it deserves.

We’ll be back. 


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