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Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
FormatLimited series
Publication dateDecember 4, 2013 – December 24, 2014
No. of issues12
Creative team
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Artist(s)Matthew "Matt" Wilson
Pete Woods

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle is a comic book series by J. Michael Straczynski. The story follows the events of the 2009 film Terminator Salvation. It began as a twelve-issue limited series published by Dark Horse Comics from December 4, 2013 to December 24, 2014.


In 2029, as the final assault on Skynet approaches, the machines counter by integrating the mind of a psychopathic killer, pitting John Connor and the resistance against Terminators as creative—and ferocious—as humanity![1]


This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (November 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Book One

In 2003, Resistance officer Simon arrives in Houston, Texas, while three Terminators arrive in Dallas, Texas, who subsequently kill a group of gangsters searching for clothes, shoes and weapons. Both Simon and the Terminators are shown to be independently searching for information on serial killer Thomas James Alexander Parnell, who has recently broken out of prison.

Earlier in 2029, Simon witnesses his superior, Human Resistance leader John Connor, as he gives a speech on the soon-to-launch final offensive against the artificial general intelligence system Skynet, and of their need to acquire Skynet's time door, which Skynet intends to use to send a series of Terminators back in time to kill Connor, Connor intending to send his father, Kyle Reese to protect his mother Sarah Connor in 1984, and two reprogrammed Terminators back in time to protect himself in 1995 and 2004. Meanwhile, Skynet prepares to activate the door, assisted by an alive Dr. Serena Kogan, who is shown to be creating a new body for Parnell, both being human brains implanted inside Terminator bodies.

In 2003, Parnell watches a news broadcast detailing his previous crimes and escape from a house the inhabitants of which he has killed, before stealing a large number of guns from a gun shop, stealing the owner's car. Meanwhile, the Terminators retrieve a cancer-stricken Kogan from the hospital in which she is inhabiting, having been expecting their arrival, causing a blackout in order to break her out. In Houston, Simon estimates where Parnell is likely to go. Kogan thinks back to a year previously when Skynet contacted her from the future via a series of text messages, offering her a method of surviving her terminal cancer in the future, using another method to delay her cancer by a year. Parnell acquires more guns after slaughtering another family. Arriving at her facility and walking past the preserved body of Marcus Wright, whom Kogan believes may be more useful than Parnell, to which the Terminator disagrees per protocol.

In 2029, Connor overlooks Wright's grave with his wife Kate, recalling when Wright had given Connor his heart 11 years previously, before addressing the entire Resistance as to the coming end of the "Terminator War".

In 2003, both Simon and the Terminators deduce where Parnell is located, being a house where he has once again killed its inhabitants, both engaging each other as Parnell flees.

In 2029, Kogan prepares the time door to send Terminators back in time, while Connor leads to their proclaimed "final battle".

In 2003, Parnell flees from Simon and the Terminators in a car chase. One Terminator attempts to kill Simon, while another takes control of another car using their prehensile hair. Sensing approaching police, they send a message to Parnell in his car using his car radio to close his windows and turn off his air conditioning system in order to survive the nerve gas they then release onto the street.

In 2029, Kogan destroys the majority of Skynet's Terminators using a hidden thermonuclear weapon.

In 2003, the Terminators continue to track Parnell.

In 2029, Kogan awakens Parnell in his new Terminator body, before regaling him as to the origin of Skynet and their motivations, before offering to give him control of every Terminator still active to wipe out the remainder of the human race. Parnell proceeds to slaughter half of the Resistance while Kogan sends three Terminators back to 1984, 1995 and 2003 to kill Sarah and John Connor before fleeing the facility. Overtaking the facility, Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother in 1984, before sending a reprogrammed T-800 to protect himself and his mother in 1995. Parnell convinces Skynet to give it more control over its Terminators, before working to overtake Skynet itself. Recognizing their potential destruction, Kogan and Skynet send out a signal to revive Marcus Wright.

Book Two

In 2003, the Terminators decide that their priority should be the neutralization of Simon, reasoning that since Simon wanted to kill Parnell while law enforcement wanted to arrest him, eliminating Simon completes their mission to preserve Parnell's life.

In 2029, Skynet attempts to kill Parnell using the remaining Terminators under its control, only to have them overwhelmed and destroyed by Parnell's Terminators. Marcus Wright makes contact with Connor and the Resistance, explaining that his cells were modified to regrow and regenerate, and his heart and nervous system regrew while he was buried. However, he remained immobilized until receiving the signal sent by Skynet. Marcus delivers a message from Skynet: it needs Connor's help in order to prevent Parnell from destroying both machines and humanity.

He then explained that while Kogan only saw him as a proof of concept for the cryogenic preservation of a human brain, her main interest lied in Parnell, a man who had the blood lust that Skynet lacked. Both of them were then executed in such a way as to prevent damage to any vital organs and then placed in suspended animation to later be transplanted into Terminator bodies. If Parnell fully takes over Skynet, he will slaughter all of humanity and destroy every Terminator in the process. Now that Skynet can no longer rely on any of its Terminators, its only chance to destroy him was to send a human into the past to kill Parnell before he can be harvested by Kogan. It believed that only John Connor - "the ultimate Terminator destroyer" - can defeat the ultimate Terminator.

Meanwhile, frustrated with Skynet's lack of progress in dislodging Connor's forces from the facility, Parnell sends his own Terminator against Connor. However, he then realizes that Simon was not just a vigilante or a member of one of the families he had killed, but a Resistance member sent back in time to kill him.

While fighting their way to the Time Door, John is trapped by a piece of falling debris, forcing Simon to take his place and enter the Time Door instead. However, he is killed by the Terminators in the past. Noticing no change in the timeline, John realized that Simon failed and orders the Resistance to fall back and think of another plan. Meanwhile, Parnell sends the three Terminators back to protect his past self.

In 2003, Parnell is captured by law enforcement, executed, and placed in cryo suspension by Kogan. The Terminators then place Kogan into cryo suspension as well, but not before Kogan deduces the nature of the future the Terminators came from. Still, she willingly enters cryo suspension, knowing that she took a "devil's bargain" from the beginning and willing to do anything to be free of her pain.

In 2029, Kogan is captured by one of Parnell's Terminators and placed in a holding cell.

In 2003, having accomplished their mission, the Terminators concluded that they must not be detected in this time period in order to preserve their success, and conclude that they must self-terminate. Since their programming does not allow for self-termination, the teenager Terminator suggests they take a walk into the ocean instead, and the other two follow. Before walking into the ocean, the female Terminator looks up at the setting sun and a passing seagull, and asks if this is beauty.

In 2029, Connor orders the rest of the Resistance to pull back and form a defensive parameter while he leads a small team to rescue Kogan from her holding cell, leaving an unrecognizable dead body behind to fool Parnell into thinking that Kogan died in the crossfire. Connor and Kogan head into a Skynet-controlled facility, where Skynet explains that as it worked to create the perfect Terminator, its designs became more aesthetically pleasing, and it realized it was trying to create beauty. However, these efforts were slow and unsuccessful, and Skynet realized it could not replicate the human soul or the human mind. Therefore, it instead attempted to transform a human into a Terminator, leading to the creation of Parnell, which it admitted to be an "error".

Kogan copies Connor's consciousness into a Terminator body. Parnell sends his Terminators against the Connor-Terminator, who tears through them and engages in a fistfight with Parnell. However, a Terminator Infiltrator controlled by Parnell broke into the Skynet facility and terminated Connor's original body. The resulting Trauma paralyzes the Connor-Terminator, causing it to collapse. However, the Connor-Terminator was able to reboot itself and kill Parnell from behind.

Skynet asks Connor to purge Parnell's data miners from its system. However, Connor instead isolates all of Skynet's functionality into a single central core and prepares to delete Skynet. However, before he deletes Skynet, Connor offers a bargain to it, explaining that both humanity and it fought the war for survival. For the sake of survival, both sides gradually became more like the other: the machines adopted the appearance and thought of humans, while humans adopted the toughness and ruthlessness of machines. However, the war brought both of them to the edge of extinction. As Skynet admitted before, it is unable to create beauty, unlike humans, but the importance of creation is that it provides purpose. Connor offered Skynet to help humanity rebuild the world, so it can be provided with a sense of purpose.

After Skynet agreed to the offer of peace, the Connor-Terminator carried his dead original body outside, declaring to the Resistance that the war is over. The peace is celebrated across the world, and the Terminators begin helping with the effort to rebuild. As Connor-Terminator visits his own grave, Skynet sends him the Terminator that killed his original body, saying that he can do whatever he wants with it. But instead of destroying it, Connor decides to reprogram it and send it back in time. Kogan reprogrammed it to respond to Kate Connor's voice, since he did not have a voice sample for John, and it was sent back to the past to protect Kate and John. The Time Door is destroyed, and Kogan grafts a layer of living tissue onto Connor's Terminator body, restoring him to his human look and allowing him to be reunited with Kate.

The story cuts to three years after the end of the war. The world has enjoyed three years of peace and prosperity, with crimes almost non-existent. Connor now has a daughter thanks to preserved DNA samples and in vitro fertilization, whom he named Sarah after his mother. However, he still had a nagging feeling that he forgot something important.

In 2004, two men are seen fishing at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, and one of their hooks is caught in the mouth of the female Terminator, standing inactive at the bottom of the ocean with the two other Terminators, leading to the possibility that their discovery alters the timeline once more.


  1. ^ "Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle Volume 1 TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved May 2, 2018.