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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Encounter "Encounter"
V #3 (DC Comics)
Written by Cary Bates
Pencils by Carmine Infantino
Inks by Tony DeZuniga
Cover by ?
April 1985

The Visitors arrive early for their date in Sparkling Springs.

Story Summary

Continuing from last issue, the Visitor tanker ship lands on the outskirts of Sparkling Springs, enthusiastically greeted by the townsfolk. The two parties struck a bargain during the Visitors' initial presence on Earth: the Visitors peacefully siphon up tankers of the town's mineral water (which has an invigorating effect on the aliens' physiology) in exchange for advanced medical treatment and soil fertilization techniques.

Meanwhile, young Billy leads Willie and Boyce to the town jail where Donovan, Julie, and Hart are being held. They bust in and release the threesome. While escaping from the jail, Boyce is killed by a Visitor laser blast and Julie and Hart are taken prisoner and escorted to the tanker ship for delivery to Diana on the mothership. Billy is also killed trying to help Julie and Hart.

The townsfolk hold an impromptu funeral ceremony for Billy at the local church and Donovan makes an impassioned, if unwelcome, speech for the town's citizens to open their eyes and see what a threat the Visitors are. They reject Donovan's arguments and he and Willie set out to disrupt the Visitors' plans and free Julie and Hart by themselves.

As the tanker ship hovers over the geysers to suck up the water upon eruption, Donovan and Willie strap grenades to the geysers' spouts so that they are flung to explode against the belly of the craft. The strategy is successful, bringing the tanker to the ground in smoke and flame. Angry Visitor soldiers emerge with their weapons...and are met by the townsfolk who have thought over Donovan's words and decided to fight.

As the fight progresses, Julie and Hart are freed and the squad commander, Devon, makes his escape on one of the Visitors' flying platforms, ruminating on an excuse to give to Diana for his failure.

In an epilog picking up on Tyler and Chris' story from last issue, Visitor mercenary Lorne brings their covered bodies to Nathan Bates at his Science Frontiers office. Unknown to Bates, the two former CIA men are alive under the sheet, planning to exterminate him with extreme prejudice.



Didja Notice?

Page 1 reveals that Sparkling Springs is located on the outskirts of Death Valley.

As pointed out in the V-mail column of V #7, on the two-page spread of pages 2-3, panels 6 & 7 and 8 & 9 should be reversed to make sense.

On page 4, a Visitor doctor mentions that back on their homeworld they had great success with skull and brain reconstruction.

Also on page 4, the Visitor doctor uses a device with which he is able to instantaneously regenerate an old man's forearm that had been severed in a tractor accident.

On page 11, Julie and Hart appear to have been cuffed with some kind of energy-shackles by the Visitors, as we see them giving off a glow.

On page 12, Donovan, while lecturing the townsfolk who have made a deal with the devil, refers to the Visitors as "servile invaders." Since servile means "submissive" or "fawning", the verb applies to the townsfolk themselves rather than the invaders.

Although it looks like a typical Visitor transport ship on the outside, the tanker is apparently of much larger proportions. On page 15, we see the interior...rather spacious! On page 18, Hart refers to it as being the size of an oil tanker.
Visitor tanker transport Visitor tanker transport interior
Tanker transport exterior Tanker transport interior. (And what is the spacesuit that guy in the bottom right is wearing?)

On page 20 Devon uses an escape platform (though it's not called that), one of the Visitors' flying platforms with a chair mounted on it.
escape platform

After the townsfolk have rebelled against the Visitors and plan to dynamite their geysers so the Visitors can't extract any more of the mineral water, Donovan and Julie agree that the resistance is stronger today. (Yeah, until Diana decides to wipe Sparkling Springs off the face of the map in retaliation!)

On page 23, we see a Visitor hovercraft in use on Earth.
Visitor hovercraft

Notes from V-Mail

This issue's column features an overview of the players in V. In the section on Kyle Bates, it is revealed that he blames his father for causing his mother to have a nervous breakdown. Death Tide gives a little more detail on Kyle's mother.

The section on Elizabeth says that, unknown to her, she is related to the spiritual leader, Zon, upon whose teachings the Zon outlawed religion is based. Does this mean that her father, Brian, was related to Zon? Elizabeth's familial relationship with Zon is not revealed in the TV series.

Below is an ad for the V comic book which appeared in the April 1985 issues of DC comics.

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