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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
"Death Valley" Part 3
Terminator #2
Dark Horse
Written by Alan Grant
Art by Steve Pugh
October 1998


Hot pursuit in the desert!


Read the complete story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


On page 16, Sarah Connor fears that Terminators may be after her and her son after seeing news footage of the slaughter at the Death Valley Visitor Center. She tells John she was afraid they'd find him and he asks "who"? She inquires back whether he remembers that she told him "bad men" might come after them. This seems to indicate that John is not already familiar with the Terminators in this particular timeline, so the events of this mini-series seem to take place in a timeline in which the events of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day never occurred.


Didja Notice? 


Channel 9 news reporter Michael Erlin who appears in this issue is a fictional character as far as I can tell. It's not revealed what city Channel 9 represents, but probably Los Angeles or Las Vegas seeing has how he is reporting on events in Death Valley National Park.


In this issue, Sarah Connor is seen as a housekeeper at a motel, under the identity of Mrs. Stanton. She sees the news broadcast about the slaughter at the Death Valley Visitors Center in Furnace Creek and realizes Terminators are responsible. She calls for John and they set out to disappear again, to avoid the Terminators.


On page 4, Sheriff Klein calls in to all her patrol cars that the suspects (the two Terminators) are on Route 190, heading for Death Valley Junction. Death Valley Junction is a tiny community east of Death Valley National Park. The eastbound portion of Route 190 ends at Death Valley Junction.


The old prospector tells VanDirk his name is Scotty. This is probably an homage by writer Grant to Walter Edward Perry Scott, known as Death Valley Scotty, a con man and prospector in the region in the early 1900s.


On page 9, the police chopper pilot radios in that the suspects have been sighted five miles beyond Zabriskie Point. Zabriskie Point is a point in the Amargosa Range east of Death Valley.


On page 15, Van Dirk has a flashback of his time in the Gulf War. The Gulf War was a war, lasting from August 1990 through February 1991, of U.N. coalition forces spearheaded by the U.S. against Iraq for the country's invasion and attempted annexation of Kuwait in 1990.


On page 16, John Connor is wearing EVo shorts. There are various independent brands around the world making clothing under the "Evo" name.


On page 17, we see "Death Valley Eco Project" stenciled on one of the ATVs used by Ken Norden. He has previously stated that his project had been funded by a university. The Death Valley Eco Project appears to be a fictional study as far as I can tell.


On pages 21-22, a Dr. Newbert is demonstrating the KZ-1, a primitive version of an HK-Tank, to the U.S. Navy at China Lake. It's unrevealed whether Dr. Newbert has a direct connection to Cyberdyne; possibly he invented his proto-HK on his own or with another company and Cyberdyne's microchip technology was introduced to it later. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is a real world facility in the Mojave Desert of California.


After being betrayed by the U.S. military officers, Dr. Newbert flees the scene with the KZ-1 in what appears to be a military Humvee.


An advertisement for Cyberdyne appears on the inside back cover of this issue.


Unanswered Questions


What does KZ-1 stand for?


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