Doctor Who: Children of the Revolution Review

Children of the Revolution is a full colour strip featuring the Daleks! … In fact is the ONLY full colour strip featuring the Daleks as of 2020 (not counting the admittedly many Dalek-only stories printed in the 60s) so it has a lot to live up to. Thankfully instead of just pulling the usual “evil Daleks invade base” or “group of resisters fight back against the Daleks” it creates a far more interesting story, though admittedly one that relies heavily on your knowledge of the 2nd Doctor mostly lost (but will inevitably be animated soon) story “The Evil of the Daleks”. Does it work? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

A submarine is cruising the area, when it is supposedly attacked by Daleks. Nobody is killed and everyone is taken prisoner.

When the Daleks find the Doctor, he attempts to trick his way out of the room before the Daleks hail him as their saviour.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

That would be the Daleks calling him their saviour, not The Doctor being surrounded by Daleks… That’s… that’s not new…

The core plot of the story is that the Daleks who gained the “Human Factor” from the Doctor’s meddling in “The Evil of the Daleks” survived the civil war and escaped to a planet known as Kyrol. There the Daleks created a peaceful society in an underwater cave, eventually their weapons are deactivated and removed which leads to them gaining a small measure of psychic power. The Doctor and Izzy are on this world in a large submarine because The Doctor is cashing in a favour to an old friend called Alison, her experience in marine biology allowing her to help Izzy get used to her new aquatic body. It’s here where The Daleks arrive and take everyone prisoner, being careful not to actually harm anyone, and soon reveal their backstory to the delighted Doctor, who they called their saviour.

The only problem is that the Daleks don’t trust other races to believe they’re anything other than killers, so they won’t allow the humans to leave… ever. Living admittedly peacefully alongside Daleks in a large cave for the rest of their lives doesn’t appeal to many of the human crew, some of whom act very much like the racists of yester… *sigh* today and refuse to believe their opinion of a different race could be wrong and that they ALL must be exactly the same. While Izzy tries to stop the two sides going to war, the lead Dalek named Alpha and the man who game him that name in The Doctor go for a long swim through some dangerous caverns, his saviour’s presence finally giving the Dalek enough bravery to see what lurks there.

Sadly what’s down there is a large, multi-eyed squid-thing called Kata-Phobus, the last of the native species of Kyrol, who has powerful psychic powers and is irredeemably evil, which is a bit of a let down after the interesting plotting that had gone on beforehand. He turns Alpha on The Doctor, but the latter manages to bring him round while the giant monstrosity arrives in the middle of the Dalek city and begins feeding on the mental energy of all the Daleks. Alpha, realising they’d been fooled by this creature the whole time, instructs his whole race to self-destruct, giving Kata-Phobus a deadly dose of “mental feedback” and destroying it. The Doctor soon becomes appalled when some of the humans still refuse to acknowledge that the Daleks helped them and heads back to the TARDIS with Izzy, but the story ends with the latter being kidnapped by more DWM classic floating energy beings who mistake her for Destrii, the original owner of the body…

It’s a really good story, showing Daleks in a new light and taking a look at the illogical and frustrating nature of racism. Not that it was perfect…

The Bad:

Kata-Phobus gets Scha-throomed!

The main bad, as I hinted at in the rundown above, is Kata-Phobus, who is such a generic looking and acting alien baddie that he stands out amongst a more interesting and thought-provoking story around him. They should’ve just kept the drama coming from the humans fighting back against their captors, even though they don’t mean any harm (and are bang on the money in saying some of the humans will report a Dalek city, which will lead to their destruction…) THAT was the interesting drama, not a giant squid alien who would be twirling its moustache, you know, if it had one…

The only other thing was tying the story so heavily to “The Evil of the Daleks”, especially at the time. It includes a couple of pages of flashbacks to inform everyone, but it was still an odd decision, though obviously Doctor Who Magazine readers are the most likely to know about a Second Doctor story, even if it’s mostly lost… Doesn’t effect me either, I’d watched the recon by the time I first read it, but I imagine if it were released now it would confuse a chunk of the audience. Well, until the animated version inevitably comes out in a year or so…

The Continuity:

Hey look, some continuity explained from the comic itself!

Well, I don’t think I need to say it again, but for future review-linking’s sake, this story is a sequel to the Second Doctor TV story “The Evil of the Daleks”. It also ends on a cliffhanger that leads into the next story: “Uroboros”.

The only other connection is the 10th Doctor TV two parter “Army of Ghosts / Doomsday”, where The Doctor meets “The Cult of Skaro”, which feature Daleks who have learned to become more human in order to outsmart their enemies, including giving themselves names. So, yes, another case of the Russell T. Davies scripts feeling very similar to the Eighth Doctor DWM strips!

Overall Thoughts:

Nice to see Izzy enjoying herself again… That won’t last long…

Children of the Revolution is a great story that features the Daleks in a new and interesting light (something that’s hard to do!) and also puts the human race under the microscope. Sadly the reveal of a more traditionally generic villain derails the story a tad, but it’s still a great read overall. Good cliffhanger too!

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