Marvel Premiere #58
Marvel Comics (February, 1981)
REPRINT COLORIST: Andy Yanchus
“Doctor Who & The Iron Legion” part 2: “Against The Gods”
WRITERS: Pat Mills & John Wagner
ARTIST: Dave Gibbons
“K-9’s Finest Hour”
(originally presented in Doctor Who Weekly #12)
WRITER: Steve Moore
ARTIST: Paul Neary
In the main story (still reprinted from Doctor Who Weekly), The Doctor, Morris the cyborg, and Vesuvius the library robot learned the gods that took over the alternate universe Rome are actually aliens called the Malevilus. They feed off of death and they used Rome to spread that across the galaxy. Now they want to conquer other dimensions, and some of the people kidnapped from regular universe Stockbridge are the first victims. Our heroes make their escape after having learned that the leader, Magog, can be in multiple places at once and has even taken over the boy emperor’s mother. Morris is shot and later dies from his injuries. Using an organic experiment called Beastius that was locked away, the Doctor sends them to start a revolution by attacking the robot soldiers. Then the Doctor just shows up in Magog’s quarters and the angered “god” destroyed Ironicus for his constant failures (letting the Doctor get away and not being able to find him until he somehow got in her/his/I don’t know quarters). Magog forced the Doctor to bring him to the TARDIS and show him how to use it but the Doctor tricks him, sending Magog into an empty dimension while his brothers are killed when their ship crashes. Vesuvius is made the new Caesar and the Doctor returns to his home reality.
What they got right: The Malevilus are a good threat for the Doctor. They’re described as “anti-life”, feeding off of death (somehow, but not the actual dead, just their dying). It does kind of fit the show’s tone at the time without the worry for budget restrictions.
What they got wrong: Magog is starting to be overused as a reference. It’s not even the only time Doctor Who has used it, but given how many origins there are for the Loch Ness Monster that’s not too surprising. It’s also a bit more gruesome; not too much but enough that even I would worry about showing it to kids. Remember when the show was for kids?
Other notes: According to the Doctor Who wiki this was originally pitched as an episode of the show and just ended up in the magazine instead.
K-9 was the Doctor’s companion in the comic in the time (I’d have to do some math to see if he was still in the show at the time) but he wasn’t in this story. Fans of the UK magazine asked where he was and this was the story. Bounty hunters employed by the Sontarans tried to teleport the Doctor off of his TARDIS but ended up getting K-9 instead. They planned to use the tin dog as bait but he fought back, realizing that the airless chamber he was teleported into was meant to suffocate the Doctor. He defeats them just before the Doctor arrives.
It’s a short story but a good way to introduce K-9 to the US audience. Of course I’m a bit biased because K-9 is my favorite Companion.
Recommendation: A good conclusion to the story arc and a good introduction to US comic fans who hadn’t watched the TV show. Worth checking into.