There are certain Doctor Who monsters which have become synonymous with the show, whether you happen to be a fan or not. Ask anyone to name a baddie from the programme’s almost 57-year history, and chances are they will say either the Daleks or Cybermen; both creations captured the public consciousness in such a fashion that they are as identifiable as the Police Box or Sonic Screwdriver.
Just beneath this top tier of villainy comes a number of other alien ne’er-do-wells who have shown a bit of staying power, rather than being forgettable one-hit wonders, and become fan favourites. Among the ones who came back for more are such names as the Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Zygons, Yetis and Autons. Casual viewers may not recall what all the creatures were called, but many have come to remember iconic stories as ‘the one with the giant spiders’, or ‘the one with the giant maggots’, for example.
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One which has similarly lived long in the memory is ‘the one where they came out of the sea’, which introduced the aptly named Sea Devils. First appearing on our screens in 1972, the reptilian Sea Devils – alongside their cousins, the Silurians – inhabited the Earth before humans, but went into hibernation at a time when it seemed that a great catastrophe was about to befall the planet; in reality, there was a planetary body which was approaching Earth, but instead of colliding, it got caught up in our orbit, and became the Moon.
As with the land-based Silurians, the Sea Devils’ alarm clock failed, and they remained in their slumber for millennia; the Master eventually revived the Sea Devils, and wanted to use them as a means to subjugate humanity, using the antipathy they had for what they saw as primitive apes and usurpers, in order to conquer Earth. Although they were unsuccessful on that occasion, the Sea Devils returned – accompanied by the Silurians – in 1984’s ‘Warriors Of The Deep’, set a century in the future during a renewed Cold War.
Thankfully, humanity was able to survive the onslaught of the two species, along with their secret weapon the Myrka, which is widely renowned for having been powered by the pair of artistes usually found inside Dobbin the pantomime horse from Rentaghost. Rather curiously, the Silurians have reappeared – albeit in a massively redesigned form – in the show since coming back to TV in 2005, while the Sea Devils have been strangely absent from that growing pantheon of returning nasties.
This means that Titan’s Doctor Who Comic #1 does have an advantage by being able to showcase the Sea Devils as the aquatic Homo reptilia rise from the depths once more. Well, not that there is any H2O in evidence here, as they stomp their way around the streets of an alternate London, which makes one wonder just why they have been chosen, rather than their landlubber counterparts. You would maybe think that the key was in their name: after all, ‘Sea’ is somewhat of an intrinsic part of their identity, after all.
Pity, then, the poor Sea Devils for having their reemergence completely upstaged by an overused gimmick which is now becoming rather tired and irritating: a team-up of the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors. Multi-Doctor stories were the rarest of special treats once upon a time, and best used sparingly; it feels nowadays, however, that the occurrences of the Doctor running into him/herself are so frequent, the shine is being taken off what should be a big event, as opposed to being an almost everyday happening of little significance.
In fact, this is now the third consecutive Titan story in which this pairing have actually crossed each other’s paths, so they now start to feel like a double-act. It seems that writer Jody Houser has a masterplan in place to tie all this together, and explain just why the duo appear inseparable at the moment. Right now, however, Houser’s latest story has not got off to the most auspicious of beginnings, but time will tell whether we get a satisfying payoff for this ongoing tale of a temporal pair o’ Docs.
Doctor Who Comic #1 is out on 18th November from Titan Comics.