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Come With Whedon If You Want to Live

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A Whedon gets his chance to work on the Terminator franchise, but it’s not the one you’d expect. Joss might have offered to buy the film rights, but brother Zack is writing the Terminator for Dark Horse.

Late last year, when the rights to the Terminator film franchise were put up for auction by current rights holder, Halcyon Holding Corp., when that company went bankrupt, writer/producer/comic book writer Joss Whedon made them a pre-emptive offer. Unfortunately, it came just a little bit under the $200,000 asking price (and way under the $29 million the rights eventually went for).

“This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands,” said Whedon. “No, you didn't miscount. That's four -- FOUR! -- zeroes after that one. That's to show you I mean business. And I mean show business.”

Whedon went on to list what he would do with the character, including working him into the Lord Of the Rings trilogy (“…he's a cyborg and he doesn't give a s#&% about the ring -- it has no power over him!”), provide more work for a Whedon favorite, actress Summer Glau, and promising that the franchise “will stop getting less cool.”

Obviously, it was a glib, tongue-in-cheek offer, but it was one that got Whedon’s loyal fanbase buzzing about the possibilities. What would the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity do with the franchise? Would he have not only returned the cool to the Terminator, but also added depth and emotional interaction amongst the human resistance fighters?

Well, Joss Whedon helming the Terminator film franchise probably won’t happen, unless the new right’s holders, a company named Pacificor, taps him to take over the reins. But a Whedon will be in charge of the Terminator comic book franchise. Not Joss but his younger brother, Zach.

Zach Whedon is a screenwriter in his own right. He has written scripts for TV shows such as Fringe, Deadwood, and John from Cincinnatti. His most famous work amongst certain fan clusters is his collaboration with Joss and his other brother Jed on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. Zach also wrote the comic book adaptations that Dark Horse has published tying in to that video.

The three-issue Terminator miniseries that Whedon is writing will act as a prequel to the film franchise. It will focus on the untold story of Kyle Reese. For those Terminator newbies out there, this is the character that John Connor sent back in time to protect his mother from the time-travelling Terminator. He was played by Michael Biehn in the first film, Anton Yelchin in Terminator: Salvation and by Jonathan Jackson in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series.

This series takes place before Reese became one of John Connor’s most trusted soldiers and details his life as a human trying to survive in a robot-ruled world. You’ll see the events that made him such a hero of the franchise and also see exactly how dystopian the future really is.

So, at least one part of the Terminator mythos is in the hands of the Whedon family. If this miniseries is a success, perhaps Joss Whedon will finally get his chance to write for the Terminator. I can’t wait to see that Terminator/Lord of the Rings mash-up.

Also out this week:

X-Men: Second Coming #1:

When Joss Whedon wrote Kitty Pryde off at the end of his Astonishing X-Men run, I thought, “That has to be one of the most easily reversed final fates ever.” I mean, she was stuck in a giant space bullet which she phased through the earth to save all humanity. Eventually, even in the vacuum of space, a bullet will have to come to a stop. When it does, Kitty leaves the bullet and returns home. It was brilliance on the part of Whedon.

Well, Kitty is coming back and it will appear as part of the “Second Coming” event, part of which kicks off here. The crossover will also deal with the last year or so of storylines from the X-Books, especially themes started in the “Messiah Complex” event continuing through the Cable series.

Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle (W), David Finch (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

Dragon Age #1:

Fantasy role-playing games were once part of the more tactile world of 20-sided dice and campaign manuals. But with the advent of video games, the popular game style has made its move to game platforms and the TVs they are played on. One of the most popular entries in this new generation of RPGs is Dragon Age. Now, through its partnership with EA Games, IDW is bringing it to comics.

The game is familiar to any sword and sorcery game-inspired comic. It features magic, warriors, trolls, faeries and other tropes of the genre. But what this adaptation has going for it that others don’t. This adaptation is co-written by legendary sci-fi author Orson Scott Card. It’s not every video game comic that has the creator of Ender’s Game writing it. Of course, some gay fans have expressed a concern about Card, who has made some anti-gay comments, writing some of the bi- and homosexual characters in the game. We’ll see if these fans have anything to worry about.

Orson Scot Card & Aaron Johnston (W), Mark Robinson (A), IDW Publishing, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

Cloak and Dagger #1:

Cloak and Dagger were some of the best characters to come out of the 1980s. Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan, they were teen runaways who were kidnapped and exposed to an experimental drug which gave them superpowers. Brought together by fate, kept together by necessity, the pair fought drug dealers that preyed on children.

Over the years, the pair went through a number of revamps, including one that revealed that they were mutants and the experiment only released their latent powers. This aspect of their characters brought them into the X-universe and allowed them to be featured in the recent “Utopia” storyline in the X-books. From that buzz comes this one-shot. But I wonder whatever happened to that miniseries featuring the characters that Valerie D’Orazio was supposed to write?

Stuart Moore (W), Mark Brooks (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

Blackest Night #8:

It has all come down to this. Sinestro has become empowered by the White Entity, a unimaginably powerful being in tune with all life in the universe. He is all life’s champion against the being that wants to end it—Nekron. But Nekron has already killed the White Sinestro once. What hope does Sinestro have of getting the upper hand? Well, he will need all the other lanterns at his side to have any hope at all.

This series has been a great popcorn thriller—tasty, but not terribly filling. But we are now to the point where we see what kind of repercussions the series will have on the DC Universe. A “Brightest Day” is coming, but what does that mean? Will all the Black Lanterns return to life? Will grim and gritty be a thing of the past? Or will nothing really change? We’ll get some answers here.

Geoff Johns (W), Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Joe Prado (A), DC Comics, $3.99. Final Issue.

Eternal Descent #1:

Comic books based on rock bands are nothing new, but one sponsored, like rock bands are, by a guitar and amp company? That is new.

ESP Guitars and Marshall Amplification team up with Llexi Leon, the creative force behind the “virtual band” also called Eternal Descent, to bring you this comic book series. The plot deals with demons, succubae, and a world where heavy metal is the key to salvation. Leon will serve as writer on the series and will be joined by Jason Metcalf on art.

Many famous rock bands will have cameos in the series, including God Forbid, Atreyu, Static X, and Shadows Fall. So if you are a fan of those bands or metal with a Goth tinge to it, this series might be for you.

Llexi Leon (W), Jason Metcalf (A), IDW Publishing, $3.99. Ongoing Series.


She-Hulk: Sensational #1:

Thirty years ago, She-Hulk was created by Marvel to protect copyright on such a character. She was one of the last comic book characters Stan Lee created for Marvel. She has had four series of her own, and also appeared in Avengers and Fantastic Four as a member of both teams. She has come close to being adapted for the big screen and has made many animated appearances on the small screen.

While currently the version of She-Hulk created three decades ago is in a state of flux and has been replaced by not one but two other She-Hulks, the original is getting some anniversary love in this one shot. This oversized special features a classic She-Hulk writer on one story and Brian Reed, who knows how to write strong characters from his time on Ms. Marvel, on another, with a classic John Byrne reprint to boot.

Various(W), Various (A), Marvel Comics, $4.99. One-Shot.

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William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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