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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: 2031 "2031"
Terminator #1
NOW Comics
Written by Fred Schiller
Illustrated by Tony Akins
Inked by Jim Brozman
Cover by Mitch O'Connell
September 1988


A resistance unit in 2031 Florida meets a group of humans from a forgotten UN base on the Moon.


Story Summary


The resistance unit known as Sarah's Slammers in Miami, Florida saves an old woman with a baby from a Terminator. But the woman turns out to be a Terminator herself and resistance unit member Doyle hammers it with gunfire from a plasma rifle, destroying it. Immediately, the baby reveals itself as a Terminator as well and escapes. The unit soon falls under attack by a number of Terminators summoned by the "baby".


Meanwhile, just off the coast of Florida, a group of humans from a forgotten UN base on the Moon is in a cloaked ship obtaining samples of plankton to grow for food. Their scanners reveal the battle on the nearby shore and the small ship takes off for safety, but a stray shot from a Terminator hand-held missile launcher buckles the shields and destroys the cloaking circuits. Now visible, the unidentified ship becomes a target for both resistance and machine forces and is brought down. The occupants survive and aid the human resistance members in wiping out the Terminator force assaulting them. The newcomers are scanned as human and taken to the old Minuteman silo the Slammers use as a base.


In the nearby town of Bedford Falls, resistance scout Martin Reedfoot finds the town is made up of humans bred by Skynet to be docile and sympathetic to machine rule. He reports his findings via a message capsule launched from a hand-held device, then is captured by a Terminator police officer.


Back at the Slammer's base, Moon crew member Konrad is found to be a Terminator, prompting the cell members to decide on killing the entire Moon crew.




Didja Know?


No story title is given in this issue of the series. For this issue, the title is simply taken from the year in which the story takes place.




Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Sarah's Slammers

Essie Doyle (mistakenly called Dorian late in the issue)

Tom Slager


K. C. Berwanger








Commander Mike Leahy

Martin Reedfoot



George (Bedford Falls resident)

Mary (Bedford Falls resident, mentioned only)

Joel (deceased, name painted on missile)

Milton (deceased, name painted on missile)

Silk (deceased, name painted on missile)

Dillon (deceased, name painted on missile)

Zeia (deceased, name painted on missile)

Hanley (deceased, name painted on missile)

Dorkin (deceased, name painted on missile)

Crazy Mike (deceased, name painted on missile)



Didja Notice?


A Miami phone book is lying on the ground on page 1, panel 2. 


The Terminator endoskeletons seen throughout this comic book series do not look particularly like the T-800 series seen in The Terminator. It might be argued that the Terminators seen here are a newer model or variation since it does take place in 2031, three years after the future scenes of The Terminator in 2029.
T-800 Terminator from the NOW Comics series


After destroying the Terminator, resistance member Doyle grabs up its still functioning plasma rifle on page 4, referring to it as a new GE 380. Presumably, "GE" stands for General Electric, known for its electronics products, including weapons.


The Miami resistance unit is known as Sarah's Slammers. Presumably, the group is named for Sarah Connor since there is no "Sarah" in the group.


The old woman (who soon turns out to be a Terminator) says her baby is sick and needs a medidoc. It's not explained exactly what a medidoc is, maybe a medical computer or even just another term for "doctor".


One of the resistance members refers to the old woman as "ya-ya". This is an affectionate slang term for "old woman".


Apparently a couple of nicknames used by the resistance for a Terminator are 'nator and gator.


On page 5, a Terminator disguised as a human baby is introduced!


On page 13, Essie uses something that seems similar to a Star Trek tricorder to scan the newcomer humans.


On page 14, Doyle states that the Terminator aerial transports use three forced Harpshead turbines which emit a wash temperature of 3,000+ degrees. Harpshead turbines appear to be a fictional engine type invented for the story.


The synthetic human town of idyllic Bedford Falls, Florida is not a real world town. The name is likely borrowed by the writer from the fictional idyllic town of Bedford Falls, New York in the 1946 classic film It's a Wonderful Life. This is further reinforced when a Terminator cop in town mentions residents named George and Mary as two of the main characters in the film are George Bailey and Mary Hatch.


The base of Sarah's Slammers is an old Minuteman silo. The Minuteman is a U.S. nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).


The missile seen in the Minuteman silo on page 17 has the letters "AF" visible on the bottom portion (the rest of the missile is not seen). Most likely, the full term painted on the missile is USAF, standing for United States Air Force, which is, in fact, in charge of the country's Minuteman missiles.


Page 17 implies that Skynet launched the United States' nuclear missiles against Russia in 2004. This seems pretty far removed from Reese's claim in 1984 that the nukes were/will-be launched "a few years from now" in The Terminator, upon which this series was inspired, prior to the production of any further Terminator films or other licensed stories. The 2004 date does, however, tie into the July 25, 2004 date of Judgment Day given in Rise of the Machines; this makes it tempting to tie this comic book series to the timeline of that film, but the absence of Kate Brewster/Connor and, of course, the writer's ignorance of what a sequel film 15 years later would bring makes that placement problematic, thus I have left it as part of one of the timelines spun off from The Terminator in PopApostle's Terminator chronology.


    On page 17, Rosetti states that the United Nations began construction of a permanent station on the Moon in 1998, nicknamed Li'l Houston, complete with its own greenhouse. Construction was completed in 2000. At this station, humans have survived on the Moon throughout the apocalypse on Earth.

   The United Nations is an organization established to facilitate cooperation and peace among the world's many countries. 


The man on page 19 may be the George mentioned along with Mary by the Terminator cop since this fellow says, "I just love my new car! Wait'll Mary sees it!"


On page 21, Essie calls herself Essie Dorian even though she was referred to as Doyle earlier in the issue. Later issues refer to her as Doyle. (There is a different character called Dorian who makes brief appearances in this and several other issues, however.)


Page 22 reveals that the Moon people have developed antivirals that will counter any known viral infection of humans.


As Doyle explains the names spray-painted on the Minuteman missile on page 22 as members of Sarah's Slammers who have died, she remarks upon one called Crazy Mike. It's amusing to consider that, although this issue of Terminator was published in 1988, the actor/singer Michael Campbell, known as Crazy Mike by his friends, would appear in Terminator actor Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1990 film Total Recall, and would tell the muscular star to "fuck off"!


On page 23, a medic tells a sick soldier to drink plenty of bluejuice. It's not explained what "bluejuice" is.


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