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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Superman vs. the Terminator: Death to the Future (Part 1) "Death to the Future" Part 1
Superman vs. the Terminator: Death to the Future #1
Dark Horse Comics

Writer: Alan Grant
Penciler: Steve Pugh
Inker: Mike Perkins
Colorist: David Stewart
Letterer: Clem Robins
Cover by Steve Pugh
December 1999


Superman rescues a strange pair of humans who are being hunted by cyborgs from the future.


Read the complete summary of the mini-series at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story takes place around the time of the events in the Terminator: Death Valley mini-series (also written by Alan Grant), as revealed in "Death to the Future" Part 4, indicating that the "current day" scenes take place in 2000. This is a timeline that includes the events of The Terminator, but not those of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


The future scenes of this mini-series take place in 2032.


Didja Know?


Superman vs. the Terminator: Death to the Future was a 4-issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics in cooperation with DC Comics. DC Comics owns the Superman character.


The back cover of each issue features a digitized version of Superman's "S" shield. On each subsequent cover, the shield becomes more digitally distorted.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Sarah Connor

John Connor


Skynet (mentioned only)


Cyborg Superman

Supergirl (in memory of Cyborg Superman only)

Superboy (in memory of Cyborg Superman only)

Lex Luthor (in memory of Cyborg Superman only)

Lois Lane (mentioned only)




Didja Notice?


2000: On page 1, panel 1, the Daily Planet and LexCorp buildings are seen on the skyline of Metropolis. In the DC Universe, Metropolis is the home city of Superman. The Daily Planet is the largest newspaper in Metropolis and also the employer of Superman's civilian identity of Clark Kent. LexCorp is the multinational corporation owned by billionaire, super-villain, and very stable genius, Lex Luthor.


2000: On page 1, John Connor is seen exiting a Toy Sack store. Toy Sack appears to be a fictitious business.


2000: The T-800 that suddenly arrives by time displacement uses laser-vision to attack the Connors. This is the first time a Terminator has been depicted with such a capability. The Terminators throughout this mini-series exhibit this functionality without explanation. I suppose since this version of the Skynet-ruled future takes place in a timeline of the DC Universe, superhero powers would be taken into consideration when Skynet was designing and building Terminators and it included laser-vision as a version of Superman's heat vision.


2000: On page 4, a Belmont Camping catalog is seen on a countertop in the camping store. Belmont Camping appears to be a fictitious company.


2000: On page 7, Superman identifies the Terminator endoskeleton as made of "some kind of titanium steel." This is the first time titanium has been revealed as part of the Terminator polyalloy hyper-alloy combat chassis.


2000: On page 11, Sarah tells Superman that Skynet has been sending Terminators back in time for years, trying to kill her son. In the "Death Valley" timeline this takes place in, there is limited contact with Terminators by Sarah and John: the T-800 Sarah encounters in The Terminator in 1984 and one she and John encounter in 1999 in the The Dark Years.


2000: On pages 11-12, Sarah wonders how Skynet was able to trace them to Metropolis considering they've been travelling under false names and John tearfully admits he entered a contest at the toy store to win a trail bike and had to give his real name so he could collect it if he won. This seems like a rather lame plot device to use. One, John should already know better by now and, two, the Connors are constantly moving around, so how would he know he had won and why would his fake identification not work for a toy store contest any less than the way the Connors use them now?


2000: On page 12, Superman wonders if Steel would be able to make more sense of Sarah's story of time travel paradoxes. Steel is John Henry Irons, who wears a technologically advanced suit of armor as a super-hero in emulation of Superman. Steel himself appears later in the story.


2000: The cyborg character who first appears on page 13 is Cyborg Superman, Hank Henshaw. In the DC universe, Henshaw was an astronaut whose body died after an accident and encounter with Superman. His mind survived in a computer and he eventually went completely mad, blaming Superman for the death of his family. Henshaw was able to construct a cyborg body made partially from the DNA of Superman and became the villain known as Cyborg Superman.


2000: The characters appearing in Cyborg Superman's memory upload to the Terminator skull on page 14 are (besides Superman himself): Supergirl (actually Matrix from the Pocket Universe established shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths), Superboy (a partial clone of Superman), and Lex Luthor, Superman's arch enemy.


2000: The final panel of page 14 reveals that Cyborg Superman has been using the facilities of S.T.A.R. Labs to inspect the Terminator skull. S.T.A.R. Labs (Science and Technology Advanced Research Laboratories) is a multinational scientific research organization in the DC universe.


2000: On page 15, a construction crane has a Metro sign mounted on it. "Metro" is presumably short for "Metropolis".


2000: On page 19, we learn Lois Lane's phone number! 555-9207. The 555 prefix is one commonly used in fiction written in the U.S. and Canada, as a block of numbers have been reserved by the phone companies for that purpose. Lois, of course, is the girlfriend-then-wife of Superman/Clark Kent.


2032: On the last page of the issue, Steel tells Superman he has arrived in the year 2032.


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