Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman vs The Terminator #1

Cover date: December 1999

Writer: Alan Grant
Penciller: Steve Pugh
Inker: Mike Perkins

"Death to the Future - Part 1"

Reviewed by: Gareth Baker (

It's the old Metropolis, (I'm assuming this is considered continuity) and Brainiac has not struck, but another menace from the future is about to invade. It is said that everyone comes to Metropolis at some stage, and today it's Sarah Connor and her son's turn. John Connor, looks like any normal kid as he comes running out of a toy shop, moments later and balls of energy hit the ground, and inside crouches a naked man.

As he stands, his left eye gleams red as he identifies his victims, coldly, mechanically he shoots at the Connors, narrowly missing them and bringing down a shop front instead. The two run inside a camping store, the naked man coming after them, stopping anyone in his path. Behind the shop counter, Sarah Connor loads up a flare gun, pops her head over and fires. The flare hits the man in the stomach, he responds by tearing away the damaged flesh on his face to reveal an android below. He's a Terminator - just in case his stunted dialogue didn't allow you to guess.

The havoc created, soon draws Superman's attention, and with a quick telescopic look into the situation, Superman pours on the speed and enters the camping shop. The Terminator's sensors pick up on the incoming threat, but it's all too late as Superman smashes him through the wall and out into the open. More flesh is torn away to reveal a robotic hand.

As Superman begins to question him, the Terminator shoots him in the face with his laser eye and follows it up with a quick punch. Whilst Superman is recovering, the Terminator rips up a fire hydrant and smashes it across Superman's face. Superman, a bit miffed now, takes off the android's head with one punch. It's titanium steel but it's not strong enough to withstand the Man of Steel's strength.

Superman goes to check on the people it was attacking, and get some answers, but they are gone, not that it takes Superman long to find them. When he asks for answers to what is going on, Ms Connor raves like a madwoman and tries to escape. Superman scoops them up and flies them away to the top of a new tower being constructed. They'll be safe here, with him to protect them. John Connor seems impressed. Sarah, trusts Superman and explains all; about the future; about the Terminators; about how her son will lead the resistance against the machines.

Superman is a little bit sceptical, but she points out the android he just fought as proof. But how did the Terminator find her? They had both been travelling under false names. John owns up. He had entered a competition to win a bike, back at the toy shop. Superman says that he'll destroy the entry form, but Sarah points out that he doesn't, because that's how they were found. Superman's brain begins to hurt, maybe he should get Steel in on this time travel nonsense (even though Superman has had his share of time travel himself). Two more Terminators arrive.

Elsewhere, The Cyborg studies the remains of the Terminator's head. He must contact these people in the future, that built this machine. Connecting himself to it, he quickly feeds in all the data he knows about Superman.

Back at the construction site, the two Terminators start doing their thing. Being cold and ruthless and spouting stunted dialogue. They shoot out the floor below Superman, and send him falling down. With him out of the way, they can deal with the Connors more easily. Sarah and her son climb into the cabin of one of those huge construction cranes, whilst Superman uses his heatvision to make the crane's counterweight fall towards the Terminators. They neatly step to the side. They need a more effective way to get rid of Superman. They start throwing the debris at the innocent people below. Superman flies away.

As the Terminators get closer, Sarah swings the crane around and smashes off the arm of one of the Terminators. Having caught all the debris Superman returns, grabbing a bucket as he flies. Emptying the contents into his mouth, he uses his superbreath to spit rivets which tear the androids apart. John Connor is glad it's all over, and glad he had Superman to protect him. But the Man of Steel is concerned. How did the Terminators know about him?

Having planted a high frequency transmitter into the android skull, The Cyborg forces it under the cowl of a statue of an angel of an unkempt graveyard.

Back at the construction site, Superman takes the Connors to somewhere safer. Once there, a whirling vortex opens, lightening lashes down and Superman begins to fade away. He tries to use his powers but it's no good. Before he disappears, Superman tells them to call a number and fires off his heatvision. When he's gone, all that remains is "Lois Lane 5559207" burned into a steel girder.

Superman finds himself kneeling naked on a platform, with a group of men looking at him, calling him a Terminator and shooting to destroy. A man steps forwards and pushes the barrel of the gun to one side. He knows the naked man, for he is Steel and this is 2032.

4Story - 4: When I first read this, I thought it was entertaining, but ultimately pointless and way too short with nothing much happening in it (though I may have felt this because I was expecting a prestige book). However, when I sat down to write this, I found that I enjoyed it, a lot. That's not to say it's still not short, but there is more going on than at first glance, especially if you look at the art and interpret it (something I rarely do). So the good stuff? Superman is in good form, saving the people from debris, and Grant has been creative with superman's powers i.e. the use of Superbreath. I think that comes from it being written by someone new - this could have so easily have been a Dan Jurgens affair. Which brings me onto The Cyborg. People love him or hate him. I love him, but I have to confess that ALWAYS seeing him in these specials is getting tiresome. Besides how did he escape Galactus' bar thingy from the awful (but only coz Supes was hardly in it, Fantastic Four big book)? Other problems were pointed out in my narrative. So is this continuity?

4Art - 4: First off, if you were expecting Arnie or that woman (can't remember her name because she has not done anything else) who plays Sarah Connor, you'll be disappointed. However, it's crisp and clear, and Superman looks great, though his hair looks a bit dodgy occasionally. Page six is one of my favourites, I love the way Superman is just hovering off the ground the sun behind his head breaking through the dark cloud. Wow, symbolism! I liked the use of colour. Bright and cheery Metropolis vs dark and miserable future.

3Cover Art - 3: The cover is a bit of a let down, but it's still ok. The designy stuff is quite nice, and whilst Steve Pugh's painting is very nice and well done, it lacks something.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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June 1999

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