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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
         
V: Shatterday V: Shatterday V: Shatterday   "Shatterday"

(V #4, pgs. 15-17, 22, 23)
(
V #5, pgs. 1-2, 5-7, panel 2, pgs. 10-14, panel 2, pg. 17, panel 5-pg. 21, pg. 23)
(
V #6, pgs. 1-4, 7-11, 15-17, 19-24)

DC Comics
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)
         

Dr. Meagan’s quest for peace turns into a plot to destroy the L.A. mothership.

Notes from the V Chronology

Issues 1-3 of V 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 in issue #3, issue #4 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. I've already presented the study of the Tyler/Chris/Bates arc in "Alien Conflict". This story's title of "Shatterday" is taken from the title of V #5. The "abandoned movie ranch" base mentioned in this story must be interpreted as the same one seen in portions of V: The Final Battle and earlier in the comic book series in "City on the Edge" and not the abandoned movie studio the resistance moves into after the fall of L.A. in the episode "The Rescue". (Note that I've left a brief introduction to Dr. Meagan within the earlier "Alien Conflict" since it partly involves Julie taking a call from him at the Club Creole, which has been destroyed by the time "Shatterday" takes place.)

Story Summary

Dr. Earl Meagan broadcasts a television announcement sponsored by himself and the Humans for Peaceful Co-Existence Committee asking for a meeting with Diana to discuss prospects for peace between their two species. When Diana accepts, Meagan arranges to meet with Julie and the L.A. resistance to make preparations. At the resistance's base at the abandoned movie studio, Meagan looks through a telescope at Diana's mothership, fervently hoping for a peaceful solution to the war...but, if not, he has a deadly backup plan in his mind.

The next day Meagan confides to Julie that if the Visitors don't agree to peace, he's going to blow up the mothership with himself and Diana aboard. Julie tries to talk him out of it, but he gets angry and catches his prearranged helicopter flight to the mothership anyway. Julie runs off to find Donovan and tells him what's happened and that Meagan blames his own "friendship message", beamed out to the cosmos aboard a NASA probe that left the solar system 10 years ago, for attracting the Visitors to Earth.

Somehow Julie and Donovan find a doctor who is aware of what Meagan has done and he explains that Meagan has had a nuclear micro-bomb implanted in his skull which, if set off near a critical area of the ship, could destroy the entire vessel and all aboard. Their fear is, if that happens, the Visitors will obviously blame the resistance and retaliate with an all-out attack on Earth.

Willie arranges with one of his contacts in the fifth column to smuggle a couple of crates aboard a supply shipment from the Visitor embassy in L.A. to the mothership.

Aboard the mothership, Diana has treated Meagan to s sumptuous banquet of French cuisine, while she herself enjoys some live rodents. Then Meagan broaches the subject of the rough draft of a basic peace proposal he has brought with him which he hopes both sides can live with. Diana, of course, betrays him as she triggers an energy field which traps him in his chair and then renders him unconscious.

In a storage room on the ship, Donovan and Willie pop out of their two crates and begin quietly searching for Meagan. Lydia spies them on a surveillance monitor, but rather than stop them, she brings Charles in on a scheme to actually aid them in rescuing Meagan in order to make Diana look bad and justify an official reprimand of her.

Meanwhile, Diana is forced to wait several hours while the conversion chamber undergoes an overhaul before she can begin turning Meagan into a Visitor puppet.

Soon, a Visitor who lacks his human syntho-skin has found Donovan and Willie and helps them, revealing that his fifth column cohorts have transported Meagan out of the detention chamber. The two resistance fighters escape with the sedated Meagan in a skyfighter out into space, heading back to Earth. Back on the mothership, the unmasked Visitor who helped them turns out to be Charles; he and Lydia congratulate themselves on manipulating the humans and pulling one over on Diana. Julie has taken a resistance skyfighter up into space as well, having decided she must try to help Donovan and Willie. They meet in space just as Meagan regains consciousness and grabs Donovan's weapon. He forces the two skyfighters to dock together and he leaves the three resistance members in one while he takes the other back to the mothership to complete his mission of destruction.

Meanwhile, Diana has quickly learned of the escape and sends 3 skyfighters in pursuit, with orders to bring Meagan back alive. The 3 Visitor skyfighters find him heading back towards the ship and they grab him with their tractor beams. But the energy of the beams triggers the micro-bomb in Meagan's skull, blowing up all four skyfighters while Julie, Donovan, and Willie witness the explosion from a distance.

Diana fumes while Lydia and Charles gloat that the Leader will not be pleased at Diana's actions.

Later, on Earth, the resistance has allowed the public to believe that Diana is the one who ordered Dr. Meagan's death in space and he becomes a martyr to the resistance cause. 

 

Didja Notice? 

(V #4, pgs. 15-17, 22, 23)

Page 15 contains a minor inconsistency in my hop-scotching chronology of "Shatterday". Lydia refers to Diana as the leader of the Visitor invasion fleet, but as seen in "The Conversion", Diana has been demoted to merely the head science officer, with Charles assuming command of the fleet.

On page 23, Tyler is seen playing a game of checkers with Willie in panel 1. In the background of panel 2, he suddenly appears to be upset at Willie about something. Maybe he's upset that, if we were following the comics strictly page-by-page instead of hop-scotching around, Tyler is supposed to still be in Nathan Bates' office with Chris planning how to rescue Kyle and Elizabeth! (See  "Alien Conflict".) Here we have yet another justification for my decision to split these stories in the chronology. With that settled, we are still left with the question of why does Tyler look upset? Did Willie triple jump him or something?

(V #5, pgs. 1-2, 5-7, panel 2, pgs. 10-14, panel 2, pg. 17, panel 5-pg. 21, pg. 23)

As he did in "The Town with No Shame", writer Cary Bates seems to have forgotten that Willie is a vegetarian. On page 5 he is seen in front of the TV holding a bowlful of insects and munching one down as if it were popcorn!

Page 11 reveals that Meagan was the originator of the idea to send a NASA "friendship probe" outside the solar system to broadcast a "we're here" message to the cosmos to entice extraterrestrials to come visit us. This is an allusion to the golden plaques on Pioneer 10 and 11 and the golden records on the Voyager probes, all largely designed by Carl Sagan (who is the model on whom our character of Earl Meagan is based, as previously discussed in "Alien Conflict").

Page 11 shows previously unseen Visitor technology, a force-field bridge that is extended from a skyfighter to Meagan's helicopter while hovering in flight so he can cross over and be ferried to the mothership.
force field bridge

On page 12, Meagan arrives aboard the mothership and is greeted on Diana's behalf by one of her subordinates called Vernon. But he looks just like the depiction of Charles (down to the black clothing!) we've already seen on pages 1 and 2!

On page 13 is depicted an imagined scenario of a Visitor all-out attack on Earth featuring some ship designs never before seen!
Visitor attack fleet

On page 19 there is a poster on the wall of Donovan's quarters at the resistance base. It appears to be a V-Busters poster, similar to the logo of Ghostbusters in the 1984 film of the same name.
V-Busters

On page 20, a Visitor foreman loads two final crates aboard the transport vessel with a hand-sized anti-grav unit, levitating the boxes. A similar technology was used in the novel The Florida Project.

(V #6, pgs. 1-4, 7-11, 15-17, 19-24)

On page 1, a Visitor transport vessel requests permission to dock with the mothership and the pilot speaks the security code in the aliens' own language. But the alien characters used in the word balloon do not look anything like the Visitor alphabet we're familiar with. V language

In "The Conversion", we learn that Diana has moved the conversion chamber from the mothership to the L.A. legation. But, we see that she had planned to use it on Meagan right there on the mothership. Perhaps after the escape of Tyler from the legation in "The Conversion", Diana (or Charles) decided to move the conversion chamber back to mothership (or build another one, so they would have both).

On page 9, Diana scolds the technicians working on the conversion chamber to complete their repairs in five hours or they will be subjected to "severe reprimands at punishment level 3." What sort of punishment is she referring to and what is the "level 3" form of it? It may be a reference to the energy lance she used to torture and finally disintegrate Devon in "Alien Conflict".

On page 19, panel 5, we see the back of Julie's blond head, but she is speaking Donovan's dialog!

On page 21, we see two skyfighters docked to each other, top-to-bottom, which we've never seen before.

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