"What is it Good For?"
Lost in Space #3 (Dark Horse)
Written by Brian McDonald
Pencils by Gordon Purcell
Inks by Terry Pallot
Cover by Gary Erskine and
The alien warrior lets Don in on the secret
of its past.
Dr. Smith negotiates an evil deal with the alien warrior
possessing him. But, using the big frakking gun he found in the
pit, Don confronts the alien warrior, who has commandeered the
Jupiter 2. The alien defeats Don, but out of respect
for a fellow soldier, it mind-melds with the human, showing him
its past and the war with another world that led his formerly
peaceful race to violence.
The alien armor was designed by their scientists to preserve the
essence of the warrior inside when the being neared death.
Hence, anyone donning the armor afterward would be possessed by
the suit's former owner. This is how Dr. Smith became
transformed into the alien, his consciousness submerged inside.
The alien bargains with the Robinsons to spare Don's life for
their assistance in completing repairs to the
Jupiter 2 and taking him to his enemy's
homeworld to continue the fight. When they arrive, they find the
world has already been disintegrated, only an asteroid field
is left (the same one the ship jumped into at the beginning of
"Wake the Dead"). Joyous at his
people's apparent victory, the alien makes the crew take him
back his own homeworld. They find the planet devoid of
intelligent life, the cities burned-out ruins. Apparently,
neither side won.
The synthetic alien programs the armor to end his own life,
freeing Dr. Smith. Don wants to kill the traitorous human, but
John points out what the violence of the two alien races brought
them. Don finally agrees to spare Smith, saying, "Let's just get
the hell outta here before I change my mind."
Neither the mini-series as a whole nor the individual issues
had a title beyond Lost in Space. The title "What
is it Good For?" I've used in this study is
a line borrowed from the 1969 song "War" written by Norman
Whitfield and Barrett Strong, most popularly known from the
version performed by Edwin Starr in 1970.
On page 7, Maureen retorts to her husband, "Don't give me any of
that women-and-children-first crap--this is not the Titanic."
The phrase "women and children first" is most famously associated
with the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic, though it largely
emerged from the 1852 sinking of the British Naval ship HMS
Birkenhead, during which the captain ordered the wives and
children aboard to be loaded onto the single lifeboat.
On page 10, Dr. Smith, seeing that Don has come back to the
Jupiter 2 to confront the alien, says, "...it seems the
mountain has come to Mohammed." This is a play on the phrase "'If
the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the
mountain," in the telling of the story of Mohammed, founder of the
Islamic religion, as related in Francis Bacon's 1625 Essays.
On page 12, Dr. Smith says, "I've never felt such pain." This is a
way of evoking, yet skirting, Smith's oft-repeated line from the TV
series, "Oh, the pain... the pain!" (though the current incarnation
of Smith did use that line in the
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