‘Terminarch’ Reviewed: Androids Can’t Make Art

Terminarch is the story of a future where androids have taken over, but because they can’t create art on their own, they conscript humans to do so.  However, the androids have apparently killed off all of the non-artists.  Or have they?

Not exactly like this song….

Terminarch is a good story.  It’s written by Jordan Hart, art is by Terry Huddleston, edited by Siike Donnelly, and it’s from Ossm Comics.  A lot of it is infodump (or infodumb, as somebody once put it at the old place), but it’s entertaining enough.  We find one of the androids, Servius, out in the woods of Maine in the year 2054, as he’s looking for Martin Allerton, the last non-artist human.  Allerton has his own secrets and reasons for having escaped society for the last thirty years.

Terminarch cover
This is a great cover.

Terminarch is the term for the last member of a species, and Servius attempts to convince Allerton to help him fight back against the other androids by aligning with the Dada group that won’t go along with the android plan of benign enslavement of artists.  Servius has a pretty good ace in the hole to get Allerton to go along with him.

Terminarch was a one shot (and I haven’t seen anything from Ossm in awhile), but it does have a frustrating non-ending, setting up for a continuation.  Yes, the story could end there and we don’t HAVE to know what the conclusion is, but I’m pretty sure that Hart wants to continue this.

It’s interesting deep philosophical stuff, about who creates art and how, what is the spark, and the role of an artist in society.  I think that, probably, androids and AI will be able to create some form of art, but it won’t have the spark that humans bring to the table.

The art is decent, some widescreen panels are used, some backgrounds are spotty in places.  People have the stiffness that makes them look like they’ve been photoreferenced a lot, not unlike Ken Krekeler’s art in Westward or Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven, or even Jamie McKelvie’s art, to a degree. It shows the emotion fairly well, though.

Overall, Terminarch is a pretty good oneshot about the role of art in the world, and how humans may never truly be replaced by androids.

If you click above, you can get to Amazon, where apparently you can order this, or you can order something else entirely, like Flight of the Conchords stuff, and help keep the Atomic Junk Shop going either way.


  1. Simon

    Will have to look into this one. (Especially as Diamond’s backorder list has it available with code JUN161690.) From unknown quantities, its ad made it sound like a self-indulgent context for a generic fight:

    (W) Jordan Hart (A) Terry Huddleston (CA) Jordan Hart

    When the androids became self-aware, they realized they were inferior to humans in one area — the creative arts. Viewing artists as godlike beings, they eliminated 95% of the human race to build a Utopian society for their idols. But the logic of their actions was lost on the chosen, and now artists will make war not love. (STL011889) MATURE THEMES
    SC, 68pgs, FC $6.99

    (BTW, maybe useful to provide a specs one-liner, not unlike that Burgas dude?)

    1. Yeah, but adding the specs is too much like work.

      The solicit is fairly accurate as to what happens, but that last bit does make it sound like it’s more fight scenes.

      I think you’d probably like it, but the lack of a conclusive ending/set up for future stories may turn you off.

      But I don’t think it was a total waste of cash, though, and I’ll be looking for more comics by Hart or Huddleston.

      1. Simon

        @Travis: Yeah, it sounded like some MATRIX knockoff (with arteests for rebels). But what sort of unconclusiveness is it? Open-ended fiction may fall into at least four categories:

        (A) Stories set up so that the first book can either stop there (and still be its own story) or become the first volume of a larger story, ala MIND MGMT and DIVINITY (or STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE).

        (B) Stories where it’s the entire point to stop at that point, ala WATCHMEN (and FULL METAL JACKET). Or where there’s no point in continuing past that point, such as ARCTIC MARAUDER or maybe THE NIGHTLY NEWS.

        (C) Stories where the journey matters more than the destination or MacGuffin. Whether surreal, ala LIKE A VELVET GLOVE CAST IN IRON and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, or a lot of reality-based or slice-of-life stories, such as OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE and TRASHED.

        (D) Serials whose Pt. 1 just stops dangling, and punishes you if there’s never more.

        A is hard, B and C are easier, D is trivial. But done properly, A-B-C can be legitimate endings.

        (Not counted are stories that conclude but include some unresolved hook for a sequel, such as HEART IN A BOX, or hide a non-spoonfed conclusion, such as AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE or POMPEII. Or unfinished books so deep and rich they could stand uncompleted, such as DUNCAN THE WONDER DOG: SHOW ONE or MULTIPLE WARHEADS VOL. 1…)

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