(V #4, pgs. 1-14, 18-21)
(V #5, pgs. 3-4, pg. 7, panel 3-pg. 9, pg. 14, panel 3-pg. 17,
panel 4, pg. 22)
(V #6, pgs. 5-6, 12-14, 18)
Written by Cary Bates
Pencils by Tod Smith (#4-5), Carmine Infantino (#6)
Inks by Tony DeZuniga (#4, #6), Alfredo Alcala (#5)
Cover by Eduardo Barreto (#4), Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar (#5),
Rich Buckler and Romeo Tanghal (#6)
Chris seek revenge on Nathan Bates; Kyle is captured and taken
to a prison camp where Visitor scientists perform grotesque
experiments on human beings.
Notes from the V
The previous three issues (V
#'s 1-3) told two stories at
once: the story of Donovan, Julie, Willie, Hart, and Boyce in
Sparkling Springs and the story of Tyler and Chris being pursued
by Visitor mercenaries hired by Nathan Bates. With the Sparkling
Springs story concluded last issue, this issue continues with
the Tyler/Chris/Bates story and begins a new story about Julie's
scientist friend, Dr. Meagan, and his quest for peace with the
Visitors. Because of the monthly frequency of the comic book
versus the weekly episodes of the TV series, Cary Bates and Marv Wolfman, the comic's writer and editor
respectively, found themselves falling
behind the story arc progressing on TV. Issues 1-3 took place squarely
within the earlier days of the "open city" phase of the chronology, but as issues
4-6 were being written, the TV series had progressed the
chronology to the point where Charles had arrived to lead the
invasion. So, attempting to stay relevant to the events in the
TV series, Bates and Wolfman included appearances of Charles
within the Dr. Meagan story. So we have the Tyler/Chris/Bates story
taking place in the pre-Charles days concurrently with the Dr. Meagan
"Charles in Charge" days! This is why I have broken these stories out
into two separate places in the chronology in the unusual manner
of hop-scotching through pages of issues 4-6 (twice). This arc's
title of "Alien Conflict" I've taken from the title of
V #4 and concludes the Tyler/Chris/Bates story.
Later on in the chronology, I
present "Shatterday" taken from the title of
V #5, which will tell the
Dr. Meagan story. (There is, however, a brief introduction to
Dr. Meagan within this "Alien Conflict" story which I have left
intact since it partly involves Julie taking a call from him at
the Club Creole, which will have been destroyed by the time the
main part of Dr. Meagan's story takes place.)
Picking up from the end of
"Encounter", Lorne delivers the
"bodies" of Tyler and Chris to Nathan Bates at the offices of
Science Frontiers in the middle of the night. But Tyler and
Chris have intimidated Lorne into bringing them in very much
alive and they immediately pull guns on Bates. Lorne then tries
to make his own move to take the two down, but Tyler kills him.
He then turns his attention to Bates.
Bates says Tyler can't kill him now..."Not if your resistance
ever wants to see the Star Child again!"
Friday Face-Off TV program, Dr. Earl Meagan makes a
case that Earth may one day be visited by benign extraterrestrials, while his opponent in the argument, Dr. Myron Grasimov contends that only hostile motives, not altruistic
ones, would compel an alien race to travel light-years in search
of other intelligent life forms. In an empty corridor after the
debate, Dr. Grasimov is approached by a fan who wants to shake
his hand. But the handshake turns deadly as some kind of energy
passes from the "fan" into Dr. Grasimov, killing him, while the
killer says, "Diana sends her regards." Not long after,
Julie receives a call from Dr. Meagan at Club Creole and it
seems she knows him.
Back at Science Frontiers, Bates explains that he
has just received information that his son, Kyle, and Elizabeth
were driving through the Santa Monica mountains yesterday when
they were shot off the road by a Visitor patrol. The patrol
recognized Elizabeth from the mark of Zon on her hand and
grabbed her. Kyle defended her and, when they started to beat
Kyle, Elizabeth used her powers to send the Visitors troopers
flying into a heap. The two then escaped into the woods on foot,
pursued by the patrol, and haven't been seen since.
Aboard the mothership, Diana disciplines Devon for failing her
in the encounter with the resistance in Sparkling Springs (in
via some kind of energy lance she applies that has him writhing
in agony. Finally the discipline ends with Diana disintegrating
Reluctantly agreeing to spare Bates in exchange for a device
that will detect Elizabeth's high IQ brain waves and allow them
to track her down, Tyler and Chris take a Jeep out into the
mountain forest. They come upon a Visitor patrol in the woods
and, while Chris drives, Tyler uses a flame-thrower to burn the
aliens to a crisp. The brainwave device then leads them to a
cave where they find an unconscious Elizabeth, surrounded by a
self-generated protecting glow. Perhaps sensing the two as
friends, the glow allows Tyler to pick her up and they take her
back to Science Frontiers for medical care. When Elizabeth
finally awakens there, Bates demands to know where Kyle is. She
doesn't know, but she can sense he is in terrible trouble.
Elizabeth tells them that she and Kyle had fled into the forest
and as the sun went down, they found a cave to spend the night
in. She implies they made love and fell asleep in each other's
arms. Whatever happened to Kyle happened while she slept. She
senses he is in terrible danger and passes out again, mumbling
words in her sleep, one of which is an apparently Visitor word,
Lakka. Bates informs them that there is a Visitor camp
in those same mountains called Camp Lakka, geared toward finding
ways of improving humans as a source of nourishment. Elizabeth
begins having a sort of seizure and says she is in contact with
Kyle; his Visitor keepers at Camp Lakka have just told him he is
to be dissected in the morning!
Tyler and Chris get in touch with a fifth column contact and
learn of a Visitor van travelling to Camp Lakka that evening.
They somehow kidnap Bates himself from his office complex and
then hijack the van. Disguising themselves as the Visitor
occupants with Bates as their anonymous prisoner, they drive
right into Camp Lakka and convince the superintendent to place
their prisoner in with Kyle.
That night Tyler and Chris take a peek inside the
experimentation building of the camp and discover several
grotesquely bloated humans being kept in pods.
Bates is thrown into the cell with Kyle and the two actually
seem to share a rare warm moment between them with a hug.
Later, just as guards arrive to take Bates and Kyle in tandem to
the experimentation building, Tyler and Chris arrive to knock out
the guards. They traced Bates to the correct cell via a small
transmitter they planted on him. Tyler orders Kyle and Bates to
free the rest of the prisoners while he and Chris keep an
appointment with the doctors.
Tyler and Chris surprise the three Visitor doctors who were
preparing to dissect Bates and Kyle that morning. They force the
doctors to inject some of their own human experimental formulae
into themselves. The three doctors begin screaming in pain and
are soon deformed or dead from the effects.
Tyler and Chris return to the freed prisoners and they escape
the camp in a Visitor hover-truck. Chris presses a button on a
remote control device, setting off the charges he and Tyler
planted throughout the camp.
"And another Visitor hellhole bites the dust!" he exclaims.
(V #4, pgs. 1-14, 18-21)
hovercraft (introduced on the
last page of the previous issue)
seems to undergo a change in the
size of its bed in the course of
several panels. Notice how much
wider the bed gets when the
craft is moving as opposed to
when it's parked.
Tyler seems to be the one to most often use
nicknames for the Visitors. On page 4, panel 2 he gives us a new
On page 4, Tyler accuses Bates of cutting secret
deals with Diana that allow him and Science Frontiers to make
millions of dollars off the invasion. But, though Bates' truce
with the Visitors within Los Angeles may be for questionable
motives, we haven't seen him deal with Diana for technology or
money since the establishment of the open city (though
Death Tide does reveal that
Bates has had the power sources for
Science Frontiers' computers and security systems converted to
run on Visitor power packs).
Also on page 4, Tyler accuses Bates of selling
the red dust that Science Frontiers manufactures to the rest of
the world at a 600% mark-up.
On page 5, Elias makes a reference to the frequent television appearances of Joyce Brothers. Dr. Joyce Brothers is a
psychologist, writer, broadcaster, and actress who has been
appearing on TV (either guest-appearing or on her own shows)
since 1958. Mostly she offers psychological advice to her viewers
and was particularly well-known for her advice shows in the
1970's and 80's.
Pages 5-7 introduce us to
astronomer Dr. Earl Meagan. Both
Meagan's name and appearance are
an obvious allusion to the real
world astronomer and
astrophysicist, Dr. Carl Sagan
On page 6, the scientist
opposing Dr. Meagan on the
Friday Face-Off news show
is called Dr. Myron Grasimov.
The name is a reference to Dr.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), a
professor of biochemistry and
prolific author of science and
science-fiction books (among
many other subjects). The
depiction of Dr. Grasimov with
mutton-chop sideburns is similar
to Asimov, but otherwise his
appearance and personality do not seem intended to
reflect that of Asimov. (Asimov
himself appears in the novels
East Coast Crisis and
Symphony of Terror.)
The TV program on which doctors Meagan and Grasimov appear,
Friday Face-Off, was not a real TV news show of the time.
Likewise, the originating TV station, WRGH does not exist in the
real world. The "W" of WRGH indicates the station is in the
region of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River; stations to the
west of the Mississippi begin with "K". It seems surprising that
the Visitors are not jamming broadcasts from the free parts of
After the broadcast of Friday Face-Off, Dr. Grasimov
meets a potential fan and says "Well, I'm certainly glad to hear
not every member of the general public has been taken in by that
'the Visitors are our friends' nonsense!" As I pointed
out in my
study of V #1 ("City on the Edge"), the writers of the comic
book should not be using that phrase as if it's still valid at
this point in the V chronology! The population of Earth is no
longer under the illusion that that is true and even the Visitors
themselves have stopped using that propaganda line since the end
of the first invasion over a year ago in the timeline!
There's a humorous exchange on page 9 between Elias and Donovan
as Julie speaks on the phone to Dr. Meagan.
Elias: Beats me what they're talkin'
about, Mike...but the lady is definitely into the conversation.
Funny...I didn't think Julie went for the brainy type."
Donovan: "Thanks a heap, Elias."
On page 10, Bates calls himself a "liaison" between the Visitors
and the City Council. Maybe this is just part of his
humanitarian act because it pretty much seems like he's in
charge of L.A. after making his deal for the open city with the
Visitors in "Dreadnought".
On page 18, Tyler refers to the Visitors as "living luggage."
On page 19, Tyler is torching Visitor troopers with a flame
thrower...and seems to be enjoying it.
Tyler: "...the only good lizard is a dead
lizard--fried lizard--basted lizard--charcoal-broiled lizard--"
"Easy, Ham, easy. Trouble with you is you gotta learn to
enjoy your work more."
On page 19, we learn that Bates has given Tyler and Chris a
device that is allowing them to track the overactive brainwave
patterns of Elizabeth. Is it a device Bates somehow obtained
from the Visitors? It seems unlikely that Earth technology could
produce such a device.
On page 19, Tyler and Chris discover Elizabeth
in a cave in the Santa Monica mountains, unconscious and
enveloped in a self-generated glow that seems to protect her. Could this cave be the same
in which she underwent her metamorphosis from child to adult?
Both caves are described as being in the Santa Monica mountains.
The cave exterior looks different than the one depicted in
"Liberation Day" and
"Dreadnought", but that
could be artistic license, as in many other cases in the comic.
(Although as Elizabeth tells what happened to her and Kyle, she
says, "We found a cave where we could take refuge till morning,"
implying it was not familiar to her.)
#5, pgs. 3-4; pg. 7, panel 3-pg. 9; pg. 14, panel 3-pg. 17,
panel 4; pg. 22)
Page 4, panels 1 and 2 imply from Elizabeth's narrative that she
and Kyle made love in the cave that night! From what we know of
their relationship up to this point, this would seem to be their
first sexual coupling together.
On page 7, Elizabeth, in her trance-like state, keeps muttering
the Visitor word Lakka. It turns out she is referring
to Camp Lakka, where Kyle is being held, a prison camp for
humans set up by the Visitors (similar, but more research-based,
to the unnamed prison camp we saw in
"Breakout", in which Kyle was also imprisoned). We never
learn what the "Lakka" in Camp Lakka stands for, whether the
camp was named after a person, place, or thing.
On page 8, panel 2, we see that Bates' map of the Santa Monica
mountains is marked with a red V
to mark the camp's location instead of the traditional X or dot.
Unlike the camp seen in
"Breakout", which was ringed by a
sand mote inhabited by crivits, Camp Lakka is surrounded by a
typical chain-link fence, topped with barbed wire.
On page 8, we see a Visitor hovercraft similar to the one seen
previously, but this one is in Camp Lakka, with a
futuristic-looking cage attached to the back instead of the
previous flat bed.
Disguising themselves as Visitors, Tyler and Chris have
kidnapped Bates, against his will, to act as their prisoner
being transported to Camp Lakka. How did they manage to get
Bates out of his Science Frontiers office and past all of his
Bates is clad in a short-sleeve t-shirt throughout his
internment at the prison camp, so we can easily see that he does
not appear to be wearing the pulseometer on his right wrist that
was introduced in "Dreadnought".
According to that episode, if the device no longer detects
his pulse, it is supposed to send a signal to
the explosives at Science Frontiers, triggering them and
releasing a huge cloud of red dust to smother the Visitors in
Los Angeles! So what happened to it? No-Prize time: perhaps he initially agreed to
some kind of plan with Tyler and Chris to free Kyle from the
camp and wanted to assist since Kyle is his son after all and he
temporarily disabled and removed the device for this mission. But
then the two ex-spooks may have altered the deal on him, using
him as their "prisoner", which
is why he is now fighting them on it.
On page 22, at Camp Lakka, Tyler discovers that the Visitors
have got fattening-up humans down to a science.
#6, pgs. 5-6, 12-14, 18)
When Kyle is reunited with his father in the cell at Camp Lakka,
they hug, the warmest gesture we've seen between the estranged
father and son.
On page 6, Tyler refers to Visitors as two-legged Gila monsters.
Despite having been seemingly put into the role of prisoner
against his will, on page 12 Bates seems to be aware of the
specifics of Tyler and Chris' plan for getting them all out of
the prison camp.
On page 13, for whatever reason, the four Visitor doctors in the
camp's operating room have chosen not to wear their human
disguises. (Really it's so we, the readers, can see the effects of the
experimental injections they are about to be forced into!)
On page 13, panel 1, there appear to be four Visitor doctors in
the operating room awaiting the delivery of Bates and Kyle for
dissection. But when Tyler and Chris enter there are only three!
I suppose we must assume the fourth doctor left off-panel before
the two resistance fighters arrived.
When Tyler and Chris force the Visitor doctors to inject
themselves with the experimental formulae, they inject it into
each other at the base of the skull. Is there any particular
reason they would choose that part of their anatomy? Would the
same have been true if they'd injected a human?
On page 18, the resistance fighters use a Visitor hover-truck
they have loaded the freed prisoners into to escape Camp Lakka.
It looks a lot like a futuristic pick-up truck without wheels!
On page 18, the doctors' formulae, which was prepared for human
physiology, is shown to have wildly unpredictable results on the
injected Visitor doctors. One of them appears to be lying dead
with his leathery skin turned pink. Another's skin is still
green but appears to be melting off his body. The third has
grown an extra head on his shoulders and a third arm out of his
Notes from V-Mail
In the V-Mail of issue #4 the
editors acknowledge that their stories may be out of synch
with the TV series saying, "Please remember that we're working
several months ahead, so don't be confused if things are a
little out of synch between here and the television series. For
example, many of you asked why we used Chris in the first issue
while he had not been seen on the series. By now you know he is
on the series, just not that often."
Also in the V-Mail of issue #4,
actress Faye Grant, who played Juliet Parrish on the series,
wrote in to associate editor Bob Greenberger:
I can't tell you how thrilled I am with the first issue of DC's
It wouldn't be a bad idea to send forthcoming issues to our
writers--they might see some entirely new things!
I hope all is well with you. It was nice bumping into you and
chatting for a second in September.
In the V-Mail of issue #5, a
letter writer asks if DC will be doing an adaptation of the
East Coast Crisis or
consider using the characters from it in a future story. The
editors' response is that they will neither be doing an
adaptation nor using those characters. But in issues 9 and 10,
one of the characters from
East Coast Crisis (Allison Stein) does appear!
In the V-Mail of issue #5,
associate editor Bob Greenberger refers to Dr. Meagan in the
"next issue" paragraph as Dr. Hagen!
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