"City on the Edge"
V #1 (DC Comics)
Written by Cary Bates
Pencils by Carmine Infantino
Inks by Tony DeZuniga
Cover by Eduardo Barreto
in the Club Creole sends the Resistance members fleeing in
Donovan, Julie, Tyler, and Chris are celebrating
Julie's birthday with a drink at Club Creole. Three men in
trench coats walk in and go to the bar. Something about them tips
off Donovan that they are not human...and why are they wearing
trench coats? He realizes they are Visitors carrying hidden
weapons and flips the table over so he and his friends have some
cover just as the trio starts firing at them. Our heroes return
fire and kill one while the other two escape outside. Chris
receives a flesh wound in the shoulder during the
Once outside, the two Visitor hit men meet a
Visitor patrol on a flying platform and lie to explain the
firefight, claiming the humans fired first. The patrol begins to
shoot up the club from outside and our heroes decide to split
up, Tyler and Chris going out the back alley and escaping in the
refuse bin of a garbage truck and Donovan and Julie hiding out
in the club's speakeasy. Elias moans about the cost of damage to
The troopers are unable to find their quarry and
report back to a man named Lorne. But he is not worried and
predicts that they will have the one they want within a day.
Meanwhile, Donovan and Julie make their way to
the old movie ranch in the Santa Monica mountains which they use
as a hangar and repair facility for captured skyfighters. There,
Willie and others are prepping a skyfighter for a test flight.
Donovan, Julie and Willie are joined on the flight by two new
resistance members, Boyce and Hart, for the flight.
On the Santa Monica Freeway, Tyler and Chris are
still in the back of the garbage truck. Tyler spots an ambulance
not far behind them and the two jump out onto the shoulder to flag
down the ambulance. Tyler forces the paramedics inside at
gunpoint to treat Chris' injured shoulder.
Bates meets with Lorne and we learn that Lorne is
the leader of a squad of rebel Visitor mercenaries who now
live on Earth and take on jobs for money. Bates has hired them to kill
Tyler, fearful that Tyler will kill him first.
In the ambulance, Tyler drives while the two
paramedics patch up Chris in the back. Suddenly they are
attacked from above by Visitor troopers wearing jet packs. The
four humans manage to bail out of the vehicle near a marina just
before the Visitors' laser shots blow it up. While the troopers
circle around overhead searching for the bodies, Tyler lets the
paramedics hoof it back to their hospital base while he and
Chris pick out a fast-looking yacht at the docks. Sneaking
aboard, they are caught by a shadowy figure wielding a gun.
Meanwhile, on their test flight, the five other
resistance members of our cast find themselves pursued by
another skyfighter. The pilot demands the proper response code
from them and the vocasimulator Julie attaches to the
communications system allows their voices to pass for Visitor
and, having a proper response code, they are allowed to proceed
unmolested. Suddenly a transducer coil that had been worked on
earlier at the ranch goes bad again and their ship begins to
lose control. Donovan manages a safe crash-landing near a small
town in the countryside. Some of the inhabitants see the crash
and rush out to them carrying small, wooden crates. But when our
heroes step out of the ship the townspeople run away in
CONTINUED IN V #2.
The cover art for most of the issues of this series was by
Eduardo Barreto, one of the best, most dynamic cover designers
in the business. He did a number of outstanding covers for
often incorporating the V logo into the art itself. On this
issue's cover, the V is seen as
a spray-painted protest symbol
over the Visitor propaganda poster.
Most of the issues were written by Cary Bates and he included a
lot of pop culture references in his dialog. I'll point them out
as we go along.
Though the comic book series is based on the
weekly TV show, the cover of this issue proclaims the slogan of
the V mini-series, "The Visitors Are Our Friends." The slogan
was not promoted by the Visitors during the weekly series and, indeed, makes no
sense as a slogan at this time in the
V chronology, seeing as how
the Visitors are actively warring with Earth by now. (The slogan
is used one time during the weekly series by a
computer-generated image of Nathan Bates being used by Mr.
Chaing and the Visitors in an attempt to maintain order in L.A.
in "The Betrayal".)
Capturing the actors' likenesses was not a strong point of the
artists on this series; the faces are fairly generic on the
cover and contents. The characters on the cover are, from left
to right, Chris, Donovan, Julie, Kyle, Robin (she looks like a
little boy!) and Tyler.
On page 1, the Hollywood sign is depicted as sitting too close
to the eastern slope of Mount Lee.
The text on page 2 reflects the same outdated concept referred
to on the cover, i.e. the Visitors profess to be our friends.
Page 2 also comments on how the Visitors are on Earth to take
humans as food and steal the planet's water and precious
minerals. It has never been stated previously that the Visitors
are interested in any of Earth's minerals. It does make some
sense though that they would take advantage of rare mineral
mining on whatever planet they happen to be occupying on a
Incongruously, spread onto pages 2 and 3, a panel depicts
Visitors carrying guns on the streets of L.A. even though part of
agreement with Diana for the open city is that guns are
prohibited in the city except for LAPD and Bates' security
personnel. There is also a degree of artistic license in the art
of the comic series as evidenced by the exterior of the Club
Creole on this same panel.
On page 2, Donovan seems to refer to Chris as "Andy" for some
reason! Perhaps it's meant to be a sarcastic joke about the
taciturn duo of Tyler and Chris being the old sit-com characters
Amos and Andy? Since Donovan makes two other pop culture
references (to actors) on the following two pages as well, it
may all be writer Cary Bates' attempt to add some historical pop
culture to the story.
On page 4, Donovan has a joking thought about the club's bald
bartender as Telly Savalas. Savalas was an actor (mostly in the
1960's-70's) who was recognizable for his shaved head.
On page 5, three Visitors have entered the club wearing trench coats
to hide the guns they are carrying to make a hit on Donovan,
Julie, Tyler, and Chris. At least that makes sense, that
they would need to hide their weapons due to the ban on guns in the
Speaking of trench coats, Donovan sees the coated Visitor trio
and realizes they must be concealing weapons. Either that or
they just saw an old Humphrey Bogart movie! Bogey, of course,
was an extremely popular Hollywood film actor and cultural icon
in the 1930's-50's and was known for often wearing
in his roles as tough-but-noble characters.
On page 6, during the Visitors attempted hit on them,
Donovan makes a comment that it's about time to test their new
Teflon-coated ammo. Why? It's already been used successfully
numerous times ever since it was introduced in
"The Masterpiece". Unless this
is an even newer version, but why would they need it?
Have the Visitors developed even better armor padding recently?
In conflict with Donovan's statement above about Teflon-coated
ammo, he appears to be using a Visitor laser gun instead of a
standard Earth pistol! I suppose he could be referring to the
other three still using standard pistols. But then that brings
up the question I've asked before, why would any of the
resistance members carry standard guns at all when they must
have a stockpile of captured Visitor weapons?
Speaking of guns, Tyler appears
to be using a different model
pistol on page 7 than he was on
On page 7 we are introduced to a previously unseen form of
Visitor technology, a flying platform capable of carrying
several troopers (in this case, five). We will see these
platforms used throughout the comic book series, though they
never appear in the TV series episodes nor in the novels. (The
novel The Florida Project
does feature a similar technology in the form of silvery flying
Regarding illegal weapons, on page 8 Tyler even makes a comment, "Was there anybody in
this room who wasn't carrying an illegal concealed weapon?"
Page 10 reveals that the resistance has returned to using the
movie ranch they used in portions of
V: The Final Battle as a hangar and repair base for
On page 11 we are introduced to two new resistance members named
Boyce and Hart. I presume the writer named them after the
singers/songwriters Boyce and Hart (Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart)
who were also members of the rock-and-roll band the Monkees.
On page 12, Tyler and Chris jump out of the moving garbage truck
onto the shoulder of the Santa Monica freeway. The Santa Monica
Freeway is the stretch of Interstate 10 that runs east from
Santa Monica to where the 10 crosses Interstate 5, whereupon it
becomes known as the San Bernardino Freeway.
Page 13 gives the impression that Lydia is in charge of the
Visitor fleet as she treats Diana as a subordinate! (In the
V-Mail of issue #4, the editors answer this question from a
reader, explaining, "Lydia is in charge
of security and is considered the number-two officer among the
fleet. She does, however, try and make herself an equal with
Diana and in matters of security, probably gets the last word."
I don't think that really excuses Lydia's commanding tone in the
Page 13 also shows that Lydia and Diana are in a mothership in
orbit above Earth instead of in the L.A. mothership which was
shown over the city on pages 2-3.
On page 14, the exterior of
Science Frontiers looks
significantly different from that
seen on the TV show. It could be
argued that this is simply
another branch of the main
facility, but it's harder to
explain how the Science
Frontiers symbol has also
changed from a UFO-like beacon
to a stylized SF.
Page 14 reveals that Bates has taken out a contract on Ham Tyler
in response to Tyler's attempt to kill him in
Page 15 reveals that Lorne and his squad are Visitor rebels who
seem to have gone AWOL from their military duty and now live on
Earth as mercenaries. Bates has hired them to take down Tyler.
On page 16 we are introduced to another previously unseen Visitor
technology, high-velocity jet-packs worn by Lorne's squad
members to chase down the ambulance carrying Tyler and Chris.
Julie starts out the issue in a pink dress. On page 16 the dress
is suddenly green and stays that way for the remainder of the story.
On page 17, when a real Visitor skyfighter starts to follow
their captured one and demands the proper response codes,
Donovan comments to his companions that if their response
doesn't work he may have to "...pull a Luke Skywalker and shoot
Also on page 17, to fool the pursuing skyfighter, Julie attaches
a device called a vocasimulator to the communications panel of
their skyfighter and it makes the speaker's voice sound
like a reverberating Visitor voice, similar to the devices they
wore on their necks in some episodes of the mini-series. It
seems that the printed mediums of comics and novels have chosen
to continue using the Visitor voice reverberations even though
the weekly TV series abandoned it! (In
the V-Mail of issue #4, the editors answer this question from a
reader, explaining "We suspect budgetry (sic) constraints made the series drop the voice disparity, but
we're continuing it with Blatt-Singer's blessing.")
Notes from V-Mail
V-Mail is the letters column of
DC's V comic book,
featuring reader response and commentary about the published issues.
The column's name comes from the American WWII term "Victory
Mail", abbreviated V-Mail. Victory Mail was a method of
corresponding with U.S. soldiers overseas by having letters
written on specially-sized paper which was then censored for
security, photographed, and placed on microfilm spools (to
conserve space during transport) for shipment overseas where the
film images were then blown up and reprinted on paper for the
This being just the first issue and no letters to publish, this issue's V-Mail
column is a text piece by editor Marv Wolfman about how
V came to be a comic
In the V-Mail of issue #5 a couple
of readers take the publishing team to task for depicting Ham
Tyler eating some of the restaurant garbage while he and Chris
are escaping in the back of the trash truck (depicted in our
current issue). Letter writer
Sandra K. Fulbright states, "The man has obviously spent enough
time in underdeveloped countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua
to know what a case botulism or salmonella can do to a person."
The editors respond, "OK, OK, we promise never to feed Ham Tyler
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