This was a metaphor for assured mutual destruction, a term that was being bandied about in 1983, when this strip was created. The Soviet Union was our enemy and Regan was building up nuclear stockpiles.
I was playing with the conventional comic strip format, the background in panel one was a painted backdrop the character is walking past. The lower left part of second panel is curling up and the entire panel casts a drop-shadow on panels three and four.
ZONE was yet to be fully developed, his legs are stumpy and his feet clumsy.
This also marks the first appearance of a crow in the strip. The crows would soon be featured more prominently as the natural world's connection to the creature ZONE.