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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Blood on the Wind "Blood on the Wind"
V #15 (DC Comics)
Written by Cary Bates
Pencils by Carmine Infantino
Inks by Tony DeZuniga
Cover by Jerry Bingham

In Chicago, Tyler and Chris discover a Visitor camp holding the men and women abducted from Mayville.

Story Summary

As the issue opens, Lydia is executed by the Leader's command in the Obliteron chair, her molecules dispelled through space.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Chris, in their new home of Chicago, stumble across a facility where the Visitors are holding the adult population of Mayville. They learn that potentially "soft" Visitor soldiers are being brainwashed to believe to that it was the humans of Earth who first traveled to Sirius and attacked with a devastating weapon known as red dust. Unfortunately, the two resistance fighters are captured and imprisoned with the former Mayville residents, where they learn the captives are used as targets for the brainwashed Visitor soldiers to prove they are loyal and not sympathetic to the human cause.

In Mayville itself, Donovan and Julie find a little time to themselves to renew their romance. And Bozz launches a sneak attack on Bron and discovers the youth is a Visitor.

Back in Chicago, Tyler and Chris turn the tables on their Visitor wardens, free the human captives and, with the help of some fifth columnists, destroy the brainwashing facility.

And, back in Mayville again, Bozz reveals his discovery about Bron to the kids, leading to Donovan, Julie, and the prince being placed on trial for their deception.

TO BE CONTINUED IN V #16

 

Didja Notice? 

The title "Blood on the Wind" is probably a reference to Lydia's disintegrated essence floating through the atmosphere of Earth as described in several of the scenes in this story.

The writer consistently misspells the Visitors' homeworld of Sirius as Syria (and also using "Syrian" as a descriptive).

As she prepares for death on page 1, Lydia is chanting in Visitorese, though the characters shown are not from the official Visitor alphabet.

As Lydia is about to be executed on page 1, Diana comments to Philip, "...the talk is you and Lydia were becoming quite the--" before she is cut off by her superior officer. Is Diana just angered over the pact he and Lydia had made against her in "The Secret Underground" to save Nigel? Or has Lydia begun to turn over a new leaf and become someone with whom the fifth columnist Philip could have a relationship?

On page 2, Lydia tells Philip not to "prolong the inevitable another drud". "Drud" must be a Visitor unit of time measurement, probably similar to "second" or "minute". On page 5, we get another unit of time measurement, "jarns", probably "minutes" or "hours" from the context.

Lydia has chosen to die by the Obliteron chair, in which, as Philip explains it, her "...protoplasmic essence is being distilled and dispersed into the cosmos--protoid to protoid--plasmod to plasmod." The words "protoid" and "plasmod" appear to have been invented by the writer. 

On pages 4-5, Ham and Chris witness the Visitors subjecting some of their own troopers to brainwashing, apparently designed to make them believe that it was humans from Earth who first traveled to Syria (no, not the country!) and attacked with a devastating weapon known as red dust! Presumably the planet should actually be called Sirius, like its mother star. On the viewscreen, we see images of strange buildings that look almost like they are made of mud. The Earth fighter ships depicted say NASA on them and the images are reminiscent of scenes from Planet of the Apes.
Visitor homeworld NASA ship
From V: "Blood on the Wind" From V: "Blood on the Wind"
Ape City Spaceship from POTA
From Planet of the Apes From Planet of the Apes

On page 6, Tyler suggests he and Chris may have dropped into the Twilight Zone. This is a reference to the classic Twilight Zone TV series of 1959-1964, an anthology of fantasy, horror, science-fiction, and suspense.

After checking in with the resistance headquarters on Catalina Island, the third-person narrative of the story tells us on page 8 that we are shifting nearly 600 miles south-southwest to Mayville, CA where Donovan, Julie, and Bron are hiding out. Considering Mayville is supposed to be in Nevada, it would have to be more like northeast of Catalina!

Despite having chosen the human name Brad to go with his human disguise in "Siege", he seems to be using his Visitor name anyway with the inhabitants of Mayville. In fact, I think his announcement when he chose the name "Brad" is the only time in the whole 6-issue story the name is used!

On page 10, Donovan and Julie renew their romance, despite Julie's promise to her old flame Stephen Maitland (in "The Secret Underground") to seek him out again after the war. Hey, all's fair in love and war!

On page 13, the Visitor guards use a gun that shoots out something like a rope and snares two of the human captives to drag off as test subjects. 

The human captives are made to fight in an arena that has been made up to look like the landscape of the Visitors' homeworld.
Visitor homeworld terrain Visitor homeworld terrain

On page 17, Tyler comments that the machine guns the Visitors have provided to the humans in the arena are Hampson Model 77's. This seems to be a fictional brand, though probably meant to suggest a Thompson machine gun, which they resemble.

Isn't it convenient that Tyler and Chris just happen to stumble across the location in Chicago where the adult population of Mayville just happen to be held? What are the odds this would happen just as Donovan and Julie are wondering what happened to those people?

We never get an explanation throughout the issue of how the Visitors are able to operate in the red dust contaminated zone of Chicago. We could simply continue to accept Julie's comments in "The Deadly Rites of Spring" that the Visitors have a small amount of the red dust antidote to allow a few Visitor infiltrators into the protected regions, as they also do in Symphony of Terror. But a "small amount" should run out before long! And, once again, why can't the Visitors analyze it to learn how to manufacture more?

We also never get a good explanation of why the Visitors would want to go to the trouble of smuggling the adult population of Mayville, Nevada to be held and used as target practice in Chicago, when they could much more easily do the same tests in Visitor-occupied territory. 

Notes from V-Mail

I've long thought the V comic book had some of the best cover designs in its short life. This letter to the editor reproduced below, points out one reason they are so cool.

V comic book covers

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