Sticking with my recent graphic novel theme (see “Moore’s Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Moore extraordinary adventures”), I thought I’d write about Doctor Who comics. They’ve been around, in many different forms, for a long time. My experience with them has been minimal, but let me tell you about it anyway…
I’ve got to admit that although I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, I’ve never really been into the comic versions. Many years ago I used to regularly buy Doctor Who Monthly — and in each issue there would be the latest episode of the good Doctor’s graphic adventures. I didn’t care for them all that much. The likenesses were often a bit iffy and I thought the plots a little silly. I have vague memories of the Doctor having a shape-changing penguin as a companion in some of them and a series about some macho Dalek killer named Abslom Dak. (Actually, I just Googled him and found he has a website.) They just didn’t fit in with my view of the series at the time, and I’ve never gone back to re-examine them.
So it was with some trepidation that I picked up a copy of The Only Good Dalek by Justin Richards and Mike Collins. The story is set during a hundred-year war between Humans and Daleks. For those of you who follow the series, it’s the new bigger more colourful Daleks. I thought these Daleks looked a bit ridiculous when they showed up in the series, but they seem to work better in illustrated form.
The Doctor and Amy land aboard a super-secret Earth space station where scientists are researching ways of defeating the Daleks. Much to the Doctor’s horror, they actually have a few captive Daleks that they have been experimenting with. One scientist has even been trying to modify Dalek DNA to introduce human emotions, thereby creating a “good Dalek”. Of course, the Daleks don’t like the idea of humans tinkering with their genetic makeup and so formulate a plan to find and take over the space station. What results is a lot of action and adventure, some thrills and spills, and even a surprise or two.
It’s quite a good plot and is, in fact, better than any of the more recent televised Dalek stories. (We haven’t had a truly brilliant Dalek story since Series 1 and everything since Series 3 has been pretty CRAP.) The artwork is also good — the Doctor and Amy are convincingly portrayed and the Daleks actually look better than in the TV series.
It’s nice to see some classic series continuity being acknowledged with the presence of Robomen and Organs and even a Slyther and some Varga Plants. From this, I gather that the author, Justin Richards, is a fan rather than just a hired writer.
The Only Good Dalek is part of a series of Doctor Who graphic novels published by BBC Books. They are quite good-looking hardcover releases, and if The Only Good Dalek is anything to go by, I certainly wouldn’t object to picking up a few more.
Catch ya later, George
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