Doctor Who #1
Marvel Comics Group (October, 1984)
COVER ART: Dave Gibbons (artist) & George Roussos (colorist)
REPRINT COLORIST: Andy Yanchus
UK EDITOR: Dez Skinn
“Doctor Who And The Star Beast”
(originally presented in Doctor Who Weekly #s 19-21)
WRITERS: Pat Mills & John Wagner
ARTIST: Dave Gibbons
“The Return Of The Daleks”
(originally presented in Doctor Who Weekly #s 1-4)
WRITER: Steve Moore
ARTISTS: Paul Neary & David Lloyd
In our main story the Doctor’s trip to Benidorm is once again delayed when the TARDIS arrives on an alien ship above Earth. It belongs to the Wrarth Warriors, who damage K-9 and knock out the Doctor. When he comes to, two of the Warriors are hiding on the ship when the Doctor intercepts a news broadcast about a starship that crashes into a steel mill in Blackcastle. He follows but two teens named Sharon and “Fudge” already found its pilot, the blue fuzzball that only says “Meep”, which is what they call him. They bring the Doctor to him just as he realizes the Wrarth Warriors turned him into a living bomb! And they’re about to press the detonator!
What they got right: I like the designs of the Wrarth Warriors, down to the digits on their tongues. They look appropriately menacing. The Meep’s design is in reverse properly adorable. And as I’ll explain next week they ended in just the right spot if they didn’t think they could post the whole story in one issue. There are also some humorous moments as the Doctor tries to repair K-9 and doesn’t get very far.
What they got wrong: Although getting K-9 out of the story hardly matters since his weapon doesn’t work on them anyway. (Now he knows how Lethbridge-Stewart feels.) If Fudge is such an sci-fi freak shouldn’t he at least be as excited as Sharon to see Meep and the starship? Sure, he’d have a different interest than “oooooh, he’s so cute” but as Linkara would say, be excited dang it! Not surprised Sharon doesn’t care about the ship though. Finally, was it luck that the Doctor stumbled on that newscast, the TARDIS giving him a heads up, or something the Wrarth set up to send him to Blackcastle? Would have surprised the daylights out of the stowaways if they ended up in Spain instead of a small English township.
Other notes: I’m jumping ahead a bit but Sharon is going to be one the Doctor’s Companions after this story. The UK magazine comics rarely used the companions from the show. K-9 and Peri are the only ones I know of until the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler. (I think that was a demand from Russel T. Davies, who was oddly in love with one of the most disliked characters in his run. At least among the folks I know.) Sharon is also the second time a black person was a Companion in any media and the first for more than one story. A later tale will give her the last name Davies. And given the treatment of Mickey and (to a lesser extent but still there) Martha during the other Davies run (because of his Doctor/Rose love story, not necessarily racism) that’s kind of a sad legacy to have.
In the back-up story the Doctor tells us the tale of the planet Anhaut, where centuries ago the Daleks were defeated by a force under the leadership of Nor-Din but nobody knows how and they’re barely remembered. Holographic movie mogul Glax decides to make a movie about the events and though research only says where they were defeated and not how he’s just going to make it up. The Daleks catch the broadcast and use a local slave, Kuay, to get them to the planet and the studio. Glax and the movie’s star, Hok Nepo, travel to the battlesite, followed by Kuay, who destroys the machine before they can figure it out, but the machine ends up severing her ties with the Daleks. When they decide to kill her too she uses her implant to interface with the machine and wipe them out, but at the cost of her lifeforce. Now Glax has an ending for his movie, and his audience will be alive to watch it. (The ones not killed by the Daleks.)
What they got right: This is a good story to use to introduce US audiences unfamiliar with the PBS airing of the show to the Doctor’s most dangerous threat, the Daleks. And it’s a good story on its own. I like seeing someone other than the Doctor can defeat the Daleks without making it look easy.
What they got wrong: There’s one rather obvious break between stories, and the caption box and placing of the panel clearly shows there’s a part missing. I’m not sure why Marvel US believed they had to make it look continuous (something IDW didn’t do when they did their own reprints and none of the UK collections I’ve seen from Marvel or Panini) but they should have done a little touch-up to at least take out the caption box.
Recommendation: If you just want the comic stories hunting down all the magazines (where the stories are in multiple parts and only four pages per issue) is a waste of time, especially in the US. Better to get a collected tale like this one. And you get it in color.