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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: If I Had a Rocket Launcher "If I Had a Rocket Launcher"
Terminator #3
NOW Comics
Written by Tony Caputo
Illustrated by Thomas Tenney
Inked by Jim Brozman
Cover by Tony Akins and Jim Brozman
November 1988


The Slammers fight for life in the Terminator assault against their home base.


Story Summary


At Rosseti's urging, Commander Leahy agrees to attempt to commandeer an aerial HK, with the help of the synthetic, Konrad. The attempt is successful thanks to Konrad, but the Slammers are forced to sacrifice their home base in the Minuteman missile silo to take out the attacking hoard of Terminators. The humans then raid a Skynet weapons depot for supplies. But they come under attack again by Skynet Enforcers and lose several personnel in the escape, including Tim's young friend, Ann.


Finally throwing off their machine pursuers, the group makes camp in the wilderness. Rosetti is at a low point, believing she will never make it back from the dangerous Earth to her safe haven on the Moon. Walking into the trees with her laser weapon, she kills herself rather than face the machines for the another day.




Didja Know?


The title of this issue is probably based on the 1984 song of the same name by Bruce Cockburn. This song itself was most likely inspired by the 1949 song "If I Had a Hammer", written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue



Sarah's Slammers





Commander Leahy


Schiller (nickname "Schilly")


Essie Doyle

Tim Reese


Kyle Reese (mentioned only)

John Connor (mentioned only)

Synth Slashers

Johnnie-O (deceased, mentioned only)




Martin Reedfoot




Didja Notice?


The Terminator on the cover of this issue has something of an O.J. Simpson look about him. Allegedly, the film studio, after green-lighting James Cameron's script of The Terminator, suggested former NFL player Simpson for the role of the Terminator; this may have been the inspiration for this cover. This was long before the 1994 murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, of which he was accused, but acquitted in court.


On page 2, Commander Leahy refers to one of his cell members as Schiller. This is probably a reference to the regular writer of the comic book series, Fred Schiller.


On page 3, Doyle refers to some structure in the vicinity as the Tower of Pisa. The real Tower of Pisa is located in the city of Pisa in Tuscany, Italy; it's unclear what she's referring to here. Obviously, it's a nickname for a local structure (in the Miami, FL area).


Also on page 3, Doyle seems to erroneously say "past the buck" when she means "pass the buck".


The flesh-covered Terminators in this issue and many later ones, have a tendency to be wearing sunglasses like the one depicted in 1984 in The Terminator. But, that T-800 had a reason for donning the shades, i.e. the loss of fleshy covering over the left eye in battle and the need to continue to pass as human in the world of 1984. Here, there is no reason for a Terminator unit to be wearing sunglasses. Obviously, the artists of the series have depicted them this way due to the iconic image of the shade-wearing Terminator they'd come to know in the blockbuster film.


On page 9, Konrad muses that despite Skynet's wishes to destroy humankind, it seems to be infatuated with them at the same time, as witnessed by its continuous use of humanoid devices such as keyboards (designed for the human hand) and the Terminators themselves.


In panel 1 of page 10, Tim Reese removes his jacket, revealing what appears to be a Wile E. Coyote t-shirt underneath. Wile E. Coyote is a Warner Bros. character appearing in Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies cartoons.


In the same panel above, a fallout shelter sign is seen hanging on the wall in the background.


On page 10, Tim Reese reveals that he was part of the 132nd before Johnnie-O recruited him into the Synth Slashers. It must have been shortly after that that his lost brother, Kyle, was brought into the 132nd by John Connor.


Also on page 10, Gow claims that the 132nd died in a massive explosion at some point after Reese was sent back in time.


Sitting in the captured aerial HK on page 12, Tim muses on the last time he was in one of them. This was in "The Flesh is Weak", when he and Ann escaped the deaths of the rest of their comrades in the Slashers.


This issue introduces a type of Terminator called an Enforcer, also known by the humans as Tanks, who guard Skynet weapons depots and similar high-target emplacements.


Page 25 implies that the synthetic humans of Bedford Falls are Terminator endoskeletons with a human brain implanted in the skull and covered with the cloned human flesh of the original person. This is similar to the T-Hybrid model of Marcus Wright in Salvation.


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