We reach the “main event” of the Lost Warriors boxset with Monsters in Metropolis, a story that features the first ever encounter between the Ninth Doctor and the Cybermen… well, I should say Christopher Eccleston and the Cybermen because they have met in a comic once before… Anyway, the idea of the central automaton from the all-time classic film being replaced with a Cyberman was a really fun concept and with John Dorney holding the metaphorical pen I knew the concept was in safe hands! Let’s take a look…
Berlin, 1927. The making of a science fiction legend. But death stalks the film set and history is not what the Doctor expects it to be. And this new ‘Machine Man’ is a more terrifying vision of humanity’s future than Fritz Lang had in mind…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Love the fact they took the time to design a new version of the Cybermen. I guess this is the Ninth Doctor era Cybermen? Weird sentence to type!
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph the concept of the super-influential silent film Metropolis (which I actually reviewed HERE! You won’t see that happen to another silent movie on this blog, that’s for sure…) having its central figure replaced with a Cyberman was a great concept and I love the new design of the classic foe that’s featured on the front cover. Basically The Doctor arrives on set for seemingly no other reason than he is excited to see the big hit being made, even geeking out at director Fritz Lang (Nick Wilton) and his assistant Anna Dreyfus (Helen Goldwyn) but all the fun ends when he is introduced to Dieter Jovanovic (Peter Bankole) and his amazing automaton, an automaton that’s actually just a damaged Cyberman he’s managed to convince to follow his orders. The Doctor is soon kicked off set when he uses his sonic screwdriver to disable it temporarily but soon sneaks back in just in time to hear would-be star Olaf Ritcher (Raj Ghatak) get murdered by the Cyberman before it runs off.
The Doctor and a seemingly guilty Dieter follow it into the sewers where it shows that it has somehow begun to fight the programming and is starting to feel again, including guilt at having been forced to kill. As The Doctor begins to break through to it he’s clocked on the back of the head by Dieter, who then orders his Cyberman to kill his would-be savour before the two head back to set with the intention of killing Fritz Lang. The Doctor arrives in time to save the director, revealing that the Cyberman managed to pull back from actually killing him and soon discovers Dieter’s very period-accurate reason for his actions: the dramatic poverty the people of Germany were facing at the time thanks to the whole Treaty of Versailles and the insult that is amount of money being spent on this picture. The Doctor understands all too well the heavy after-effects of great wars and sympathises with him but its obviously no excuse for the whole killing thing.
The Cyberman ends up offing Dieter and then is shown the full reel of Metropolis in a cinema with The Doctor, which he rightfully exclaims as an odd experience. After the Cyberman talks about how beautiful the film was he asks to be allowed to die while he still has humanity, something The Doctor grants off-screen (or whatever the audio equivalent of that phrase is). On his way back to the TARDIS The Doctor tells Jewish Anna Dreyfus that she should really leave Berlin soon without telling her why…
I can’t really think of anything, honestly. For a one-hour audio drama it was perfectly paced, some good twists, fun, dramatic and sad moments… In terms of what it is I can’t really fault it.
The overall cover shows us an even clearer look at the new Cyberman design. Great stuff all round!
As mentioned off-hand in the opening paragraph this isn’t the first encounter between the Ninth Doctor and the Cybermen, that honour goes to the cross-over comic “Supremacy of the Cybermen”, though obviously having Christopher Eccleston himself go up against them is still quite special (plus Supremacy was a bit crap, so…)
Other than that nothing much to connect it. There have been a few Doctor Who stories set during the era of silent film, but this is the first to be set outside of early Hollywood!
“Monsters of Metropolis” manages to both give us a Cyberman / Ninth Doctor story and also give us a Cyberman story with an emotional twist with not just the original creature but the one controlling it. As per usual John Dorney delivers the goods writing-wise and all the actors were on fine form, so it’s not a surprise I’m giving this story a…