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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
"Death Valley" Part 4
Terminator #3
Dark Horse
Written by Alan Grant
Art by Steve Pugh
November 1998


The Terminators pursue Killerman and his hostages into the desert.


Read the complete story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Didja Notice? 


On page 4, Ken mentions the borax wagon that Killerman pushed onto the two Terminators (in "Death Valley" Part 3). Borax is a naturally made compound used in detergents and many other products. It is mined heavily in the high deserts of California and Nevada.


Scotty tells Van Dirk that the chase looks to be heading south into the Panamint Mountains. This is a mountain range that forms the western wall of Death Valley.


On page 6, panel 6, the narrative states, "...the storm draws ever closer like a distant echo of the tempest that will one day engulf all mankind." This is, of coure, a reference to the upcoming apocalypse to be perpetrated by Skynet to wipe out humanity. But it may also encompass allusions to the "storm" at the end of The Terminator, and "tempest" (the term itself means "violent storm") may be an oblique reference to the Terminator: Tempest mini-series published by Dark Horse in 1990.


On page 7, writer Alan Grant's British background stands out in his writing of John Connor's dialog referring to his mother as "mum", a term of distinctly British origination. In the U.S. the term is rarely used, preferring instead "mom" (as John uses in Judgment Day).


The narrative and dialog between John and Sarah on page 7 continues the implication (established in "Death Valley" Part 3) that this story takes place in a timeline in which the events of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day never occurred.


On page 10, D810-X is struck by lightning during the storm while standing at the edge of a desert wash. Possibly her metallic endoskeleton acted as a lightning rod, attracting the electrical bolt.


On page 16, Scotty and Van Dirk commandeer a tourist ride to Skull Mine in Saddler's Wells. As far as I can tell, Saddler's Wells and Skull Mine are fictional locations in Death Valley. Possibly, writer Alan Grant borrowed the name Saddler's Wells from the Sadler's Wells royal ballet theater in Birmingham, England.


In panel 2 of page 6, notice that Scotty's mule, Jezebel, appears to be about to eat a folded map or rag that is sticking out of his back pocket!


Page 17 reveals that Sarah and John have been living in Death Valley for the past 5 years (since 1993 if it is now 1998 as stated in "Death Valley" Part 1).


For some reason, the two Terminators step off and then back on the railroad tracks near the end of the story. On page 19, D810-X is clearly off the track and D800-L is standing with one foot on the track. On page 20, they are on plain dirt approaching the mining shack. On page 21, they are both standing on the tracks again...just in time to get hit by the oncoming train piloted by Scotty! And how is it that the two did not hear the train coming in time to step out of the way?! 


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