Terminator: The Burning Earth

terminator the burning earth cover trade paperback alex ross first work
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10

Pre-Terminator 2, early Alex Ross

Nondescript characters, Ross's art is a bit raw

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Terminator:  The Burning Earth

Publisher:  NOW Comics

Writer:  Ron Fortier

Artist:  Alex Ross

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2003


Terminator: The Burning Earth #2

Reprints Terminator:  The Burning Earth #1-5 (March 1990-July 1990).  John Connor is leading the war on Skynet.  When Skynet goes for a final nuclear strike to eliminate the humans of Earth, Connor must lead a final assault on the Skynet headquarters and take out Skynet at the root.  Connor is going after the CPU of Skynet, but Skynet has an army of Terminators waiting for him and his freedom fighters.

Written by Ron Fortier, Terminator:  The Burning Earth was produced by NOW Comics but has since been released by Dark Horse and ibooks.  The limited series is noted for being part of the pre-Terminator 2 mythology but more significantly as the first professional work of famed comic artist Alex Ross.

It is hard to read Terminator:  The Burning Earth without thinking about the Terminator saga that came after it was released.  The story in this comic is only based on The Terminator which was released in 1984.  Terminator 2 really changed the franchise, but this comic still fits into the world at least created in that movie.  The comic stands on its own, but also has some faults.


Terminator: The Burning Earth #3

The comic doesn’t have much substance.  The characters have a fight with Skynet, realize Skynet is going nuclear, go to Thunder Mountain, and take out Skynet.  It almost could be an ending to the film series (though there is a reveal that Skynet isn’t completely dead in the end panel).

Part of the problem is that other than John Connor, there aren’t very many distinguishable characters.  They all seem like rather generic freedom fighters, and it makes a bit hard to follow some of the plotlines which involves a team split up (and you don’t care if they live or die).

Alex Ross is the appeal and part of the problem with this series.  His painted art is pretty raw at this point and not as finessed as in things like Marvels or Kingdom Come.  The characters aren’t entirely distinguishable and the art is much, much darker than some of the other art he’s put out.

Terminator:  The Burning Earth is a quick read and worth seeking out if you are a fan of the Terminator series.  The movies don’t spend a lot of time focusing on the future so it is nice to see how Skynet functions as an independent entity, but the story is sadly a bit lacking.  Shortly after this run, Terminator jumped to Dark Horse Comics and T2 changed everything for the series in 1991.

Related Links:

The Terminator (1984)

T2:  Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines (2003)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator:  The Sarah Connors Chronicles—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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