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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: The Town with No Shame "The Town with No Shame"
V #2 (DC Comics)
Written by Cary Bates
Pencils by Carmine Infantino
Inks by Tony DeZuniga
Cover by Eduardo Barreto

Mike, Julie, and Hart attempt to unravel the mysterious secret of the small town of Sparkling Springs; Tyler and Chris continue to be pursued by Bates’ alien hit squad.

Story Summary

Picking up from last issue, Donovan, Julie, Willie, Boyce, and Hart emerge from their crashed skyfighter and the townspeople who have come to greet them turn and run away, dropping several small wooden crates. They open the crates and find live mice inside, realizing that they were intended as gifts of food for the Visitors they thought would be in the ship.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Chris are being held at gunpoint on the yacht by a shadowy figure. But they turn the tables on him and discover the yacht is a drug-running vessel. Pitching the man overboard, they take it out into the sea in hopes of evading their Visitor pursuers.

Donovan, Julie, and Hart head into the town of Sparkling Springs to gather material needed to repair the damaged skyfighter, leaving Willie and Boyce with the vehicle. In town they are greeted with hostility except for a young boy named Billy. They learn that the area's natural geysers produce mineral water that the townsfolk trade to the Visitors in return for crystals that produce fertile ground and for medical visits that keep the mostly senior citizen population in excellent health. The mineral waters have been found to have an invigorating effect on the aliens' bodies.

Out at sea, the boat is attacked by Lorne and his mercenary squad. Tyler and Chris trick the Visitors into boarding the vessel and they blow it up, themselves escaping underwater wearing scuba gear.

In Sparkling Springs, Donovan, Julie, and Hart are placed under arrest and locked in the local jail, to be held incognito until after the Visitors next visit to siphon more water from the geysers. Donovan manages to send Billy to inform Willie and Boyce of the situation.

An injured Lorne survives the boat explosion and washes up on the nearby beach. He radios Nathan Bates for help, who refuses. Then Tyler and Chris come ashore nearby, overhearing Lorne's communication with Bates. Tyler warns Lorne, "You're about to make my day!"

Billy arrives at the skyfighter crash site to find a handful of townspeople covering up the ship with brush to conceal it from the Visitors. He finds Willie and Boyce hiding nearby and is about to deliver Donovan's message when a Visitor tanker craft flies overhead for its latest water run. Is it too late too late to save Mike, Julie, and Hart?

CONTINUED IN V #3.

 

Didja Know?

On this issue's cover, the V logo is seen as a spray-painted protest symbol on the wall behind the Visitor and his captive.

Didja Notice?

A mistake is made in the V slogan on the cover this time around, saying "The Visitors are your friends" instead of the usual "The Visitors are our friends." Within the pages of this issue, Julie also makes a similar statement: "By now the Visitors have become masters at this 'we are your friends' routine."

In the previous issue Willie said it was the transducer coil that went out on the skyfighter, causing them to crash. Here he says it was the stabilization coil.

On page 1, panel 1, to describe the failure of the coil, Willie uses the expression "on the blink" and Julie corrects him, "The expression is on the blink." I guess the letterer messed up and wrote in the correct word in the first place! (Possibly Willie was supposed to improperly say "on the blank"?)

At the beginning of this issue, in typical comic book fashion (especially in the 1960s-80s) the characters all paraphrase the things they said at the end of last issue. This is meant to remind the readers of what happened previously in the story and also to, hopefully, allow new readers to jump in having missed the earlier chapters.

When Julie looks in one of the crates dropped by the fleeing townspeople she discovers they contain live field mice, apparently a food gift to the Visitors they thought were aboard the crashed skyfighter. But new resistance member Hart acts like he doesn't know what the mice are for, wondering why the locals would have tried to pass off some "pet" mice to the lizards before Julie corrects him. It seems unlikely that anyone would or could be able to claim they don't know about the Visitors eating habits at this point!

Julie and the others open all the dropped crates and allow the mice to run free back out into the wild. Then Julie says, "Sorry we didn't save one for you, Willie." And Willie responds (for some reason speaking to Donovan!), "That's all right, Mike. I'm trying to cut down." Hasn't he already cut down and become a vegetarian as revealed in "The Deception"? And shouldn't Julie and the rest know that by now?

Page 4 reveals that the marina Tyler and Chris are at is an exclusive marina north of Redondo Beach. This may be Marina del Rey, home of many exclusive marinas.

On page 5, like last issue, Diana is again depicted as being aboard a mothership in Earth orbit instead of above Los Angeles.

On page 6 we see a Visitor remote-flying device armed with a killing laser. Perhaps this is a precursor to the remote flying orb seen in the V2000 "Pilot" episode!
drone weapon

On pages 6-7, Diana takes a Vaderish turn as she kills one of her subordinate officers for his failure in defeating a resistance force at a Visitor-run work camp on Earth. She then promotes a nervous junior officer into his position.

On page 7, Hart makes a Star Trek reference, saying, "If things get too dicey down there we can always ask Scotty to beam us up!"

Page 10 reveals that our heroes have landed near the town of Sparkling Springs. There is no such real town in California.

On page 11, Tyler refers to a Visitor as a fly-eater.

On page 12, Donovan comments that he remembers his dad buying bottles of Sparkling Springs Water when he was a kid. Since Donovan's father was implied to be an alcoholic in "Plan for Resistance" and the V novelization, he might have bought the water to mix his drinks with!

On page 13, when Donovan hears that the local hospital is empty despite the average age of the townsfolk being over sixty, he says, "That is one for Ripley's Believe It or Not." Ripley's Believe It or Not is a franchise of books, comic strips, comic books, radio shows, television programs, museums and more that tell the bizarre but true stories of people, places, and things in this world.

On page 14, the Visitors' flying platform, first seen in "City on the Edge", is seen again, but now has weapons mounted underneath.
Visitor flying platform

On page 17, Tyler is thinking of his hero on TV who likes to say "I love it when a plan comes together!" Tyler's hero then must be Hannibal Smith, portrayed by George Peppard in the 1983-87 TV series The A-Team.

The mayor of Sparkling Springs says that the Visitors first landed in town "nearly a year ago." If that is true, the Visitors arrived there shortly after V-day when the red dust was first released into Earth's atmosphere! It seems like this statement must be in error and, more likely, the Visitors arrived a little over a year ago, shortly before V-day. Then there must have been a hiatus in visits as the aliens fled Earth from the red dust until their return in "Dreadnought".

Page 18 reveals that the Visitors have some kind of crystals that, when seeded into the otherwise worthless ground, can cause vegetables to grow to the size of basketballs.

Page 18 also reveals that the mineral water of Sparkling Springs has an invigorating effect on the Visitors' bodies.

Page 21 reveals that Nathan Bates financed Lorne and his squad's defection from the Visitor military.

Also on page 21, Tyler says to Lorne, "You're about to make my day!" It sounds like Tyler has another hero in movie character Harry Callahan! Clint Eastwood made the phrase "Go ahead, make my day" popular as the tough cop character in the 1983 Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact.

Notes from V-Mail

In those pre-worldwide web days of 1984, letters on the first issue had not yet arrived for publication, so this issue's V-Mail column is a text piece by assistant editor Bob Greenberger about the comic staff's visit to the World Science-Fiction Convention in Anaheim, CA in the summer of 1984. Greenberger mentions that the day after the convention, he met with the TV series' Executive Producer Daniel Blatt, whose office was decorated with posters from some of his films, including one called Independence Day! (Blatt's 1983 Independence Day film has nothing to with aliens and flying saucers, unlike the V-inspired 1996 film; this one is about a female artist challenging herself to become all she can be.)

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