Marvel Premiere #60
Marvel Comics Group (June, 1981)
Doctor Who: “City Of The Cursed” part 2: “Night Of The Barabara!”
(Originally published in Doctor Who Magazine #s 12-16 as “City Of The Damned”
WRITERS: Pat Mills & John Wagner
ARTIST/LETTERER: Dave Gibbons
COLORIST: Carl Gafford
COVER ART (according to the TARDIS wiki): Earl Norem
US EDITOR: Jim Salicrup
Continued from last issue, the Bloodbugs (aka the Barabara) flood over our heroes but do the adrenaline in their bodies caused by having emotions they are safe. However, the moderators have had their emotions removed and thus have no adrenaline and are eaten by the Barabara. Big Hate has put the bugs into the food shipments to the city and the moderators unwittingly stop the Doctor and the non-psychotic ZEPO members from warning them. As the bugs flood the city. Mournful accidentally gives the Doctor the idea to return the emotions to the city and he goes to the Brains Trust, who immediately see he’s right. However, the Moderator General would rather his people die that leave their “harmony” and kills the Brains Trust. The Doctor works around the Moderator General and restores the people’s emotions, saving as many as he can. He leaves the planet as they adopt a new way, the way of the Fourth Doctor. (He hopes they grow out of it.)
What they got right: Seeing these “one emotion” Zepo people in action is equally amusing and disturbing, which I think was the point. The ending works and the art is rather good. The coloring is matched in well since this was originally released in black and white in the magazine.
What they got wrong: Considering how the show was bothering certain parent groups in the UK I’m not sure doubling down on the violence (seeing the skeletal remains of the victims for example) simply because you don’t have to worry on the show budget is only making it worse. Yes, the groups were kind of overboard but do you have to prove them right?
Other notes: While Marvel Premiere continued on (the teaser for next issue was a Star-Lord story) this was the last of the Doctor Who stories. The pilot must have worked because the ongoing Doctor Who comic, which we’ll start on next week, went on for 21 issues. Interestingly a back-up feature in this comic introduced the Fifth Doctor and seemed to be a farewell to the Fourth, although Fifth would only show up in the final issue of the Marvel US run. The rest would be the Doctor, K-9, and magazine-exclusive companions.
Recommendation: It’s a fun yet dark story, which is in line with Who at the time. It’s worth checking out.