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Gotham City has Batman. Metropolis has Superman. Keystone City has the Flash. Washington, heretofore heroless, now has Vallator, Defender of the Future.

Vallator, created by ex-semiprofessional wrestler Victor Hugo Peck Jr., is a Battlestar, one of a race of superpowered warriors who combat the Sorgons, aliens hellbent on enslaving humanity and stealing the Earth’s water supply. Like the socially aware Marvel and DC comic books published in the ’60s and ’70s, the first issue of Vallator, titled The Krill Factor, has a message: Say no to drugs (“krill,” in this case, is a highly addictive drug the Sorgons deal to weaken humankind’s resolve) and yes to the Battlestar’s Intergalactic Code of Honor: P.I.I.M.D.E.F.N.A.T., which stands for “Purpose, Intellect, Integrity, Motivation, Discipline, Ecology, Fitness, Nutrition, Appreciation, Tolerance.”

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“I really think that as time goes on, the world’s gonna be a less personable place,” predicts Peck, a mortgage banker by day and president of Battlestar Entertainment by night. “There’s gonna be more Internet, there’s gonna be less time with mom and dad especially for the middle class and I wanted the guidance and values mom and dad would themselves teach [to be] embodied in P.I.I.M.D.E.F.N.A.T. If you’re a child and there’s gonna be a third party from another country taking care of you,” explains the pumped-up entrepreneur from Alexandria, “these are good ol’ American values you can relate to, the reasons why this country was so great in the past.”

Peck began building the Battlestar empire five years ago, writing, producing, and even starring as Vallator in a 30-minute video. The low-budget show was a hit when it aired on ACT Channel 33 in 1995, and a second episode followed in 1997.

The recently released Vallator comic, written by Peck and drawn by Nathan MacDicken, sets the eternal struggle between good and evil in the slums of D.C. There’s a girl reporter, Iris Arden, cut from the same cloth as Lois Lane, and a sidekick-in-training, Li’l Bobby, who could be Jimmy Olsen’s younger brother. Add a hero with the ability to fly, and the whole thing begins to sound, well, rather familiar.

“Yeah, but what I didn’t like about Superman was that you couldn’t kill him,” says Peck. “A Battlestar is an intergalactic warrior, but you can kill him. If you shoot him with a machine gun, he will die.”

Plus, you, too, can be a Battlestar, says Peck, who’s going on tour to promote his comic book. “If you practice P.I.I.M.D.E.F.N.A.T. religiously, we’ll get you some thunderbolts, and you can go help defend the future.” —Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Check out Vallator on the Web at www.battlestar.com.