It’s been three months since Doctor Who Magazine Issue 584 came along, and shocked the fandom with the surprise of Liberation of the Daleks. Billed at the time as Liberation on the spine and cover so as to hide the surprise: it not only brought the Daleks back to the DWM comic-strip but also provided a new lease of life for the Fourteenth Doctor. Before we dive into this month’s new part, let’s take a quick little refresh on the story of the first three parts…
Liberation of the Daleks – A Recap
Picking up straight seconds after The Power of the Doctor, the Fourteenth Doctor quickly found himself landing in what seemed to be the 1966 World Cup Final. Investigating Wembley Arena: the new incarnation swiftly found himself some aliens hiding under shielding, pretending to be humans. But in causing a commotion, the Doctor is identified by some nearby familiar foes… the Daleks! Uncloaking their ships, they begin to lay waste to Earth. Exterminating all in sight.
Whilst the Doctor tries to distract the Dalek forces at Wembley Arena (leading them on a game of chase around the place), the now-unshielded alien family gleefully watch the extermination of humanity across the planet. Making his way back to the TARDIS, he finds a mysterious stranger carrying a trophy. He’s able to get the stranger into the ship. But the Daleks swiftly take it away to their main command saucer before the Doctor can get back onboard. With the Daleks now surrounding the Doctor, their commander orders immediate extermination. A swarm of Daleks fire upon the Fourteenth Doctor…
Their gunblasts, however, go straight through the Doctor. As they do when they fire again. The Supreme Daleks has the Doctor brought onboard the command ship. Meanwhile, the alien family continue their escapades of selfies amidst destruction… Which is interrupted (to their annoyance) by the Doctor negotiating a temporary halt to the invasion. Scanning the Daleks, he comes to the conclusion that they are exactly identical. Fakes. Infuriated by this suggestion, the Supreme Dalek orders his fleet to crack open Earth. And with an epic explosion, it does!
Liberation of the Daleks – The Story of Part Four
Picking straight up from that, Part Four opens up with a furious Doctor warning the Daleks that if he was wrong and “that was real – if you’re real… – I promise you, you’ll wish you weren’t.” The Supreme Dalek orders that a course be set for Skaro, and makes plans to have the Doctor dissected.
Things gets readily more complicated. A duo of shielded and spacesuit-wearing individuals teleport into the Dalek ship. Invisible to the Daleks, they order the Doctor to come with them. The Fourteenth Doctor – as you’d perhaps expect – refuses and tries to bluff his way out with the sonic. In response, they nab them in a net & teleport away with him. With him gone, the Supreme Dalek orders an immediate scientific examination of the fleet… and then has the TARDIS brought up to the command bridge.
Elsewhere, the Doctor is freed from the net by the duo – who then unmask their suits to reveal that they are primate-like beings: Claire and Claudine. His delighted surprise to see them is matched by their confusion as to his unfamiliarity. Being introduced to an another individual, Georgette (who looks familiar – but we’ll get to that…), he is then led down a hall. Along the way, we see the alien family complaining to a different primate about the Doctor’s interference at Wembley Stadium.
Curious, the Doctor approaches a door marked “MAIN DOME THIS WAY” – and opens it. On the other side, he discovers an elaborate central dome. A main room for a amusement park/interactive museum of sorts. An amusement park of Daleks. Crowds of aliens passing around, with fake-Daleks among them… Listing of various different zones that exist within the place… And a “Skaro Observatory“. Georgette welcomes the Doctor – to the Dalek dome!
Theories Come True And Further Thoughts
Well, what a part this was. And it’s certainly headed in the kind of direction I had been expecting, in some ways. (Which is not a bad thing!) Back in my review of Liberation of the Daleks Part One, I had noted that there was perhaps more to the alien family given their lack of distress about the Daleks. And since it’s become more and more clear that they’ve been enjoying the invasion. Now, Part Four has given that exact context. It’s a fun adventure ‘ride’ that they’ve paid for within the Dalek Dome.
Though, I’ll concede that I wasn’t quite right about my theory that being-in-his-first-day might perhaps allow for him to absorb the Dalek gunfire and redirect it back at them. Perhaps that will come to play in later parts. Perhaps. At any rate, you can find my thinking here…
And it’s been a popular fan-thinking since Part Two that the Fourteenth Doctor was inside some kind of simulation or constructed reality. So, it was nice for Part Four to confirm and start pinning down the specifics a little bit. We know now about the Dalek dome and that the invasion is indeed falsified… Though, it’s not been explicitly said just yet how it’s being done. It could be a simulation – that’d certainly handle the issue of having a spare Earth to hand for destroying – but equally, the last page of Part Four shows Daleks milling around among the crowds of visitors. Which would suggest cloning.
Or perhaps genetic manipulation. The Doctor’s sonic scans did show the Daleks he might were all genetically identical. And the Supreme Dalek is now having a scientific examination of his fleet conducted.
Liberation Ahead Of Us…
Actually, that’s a good place to start for thoughts of what’s ahead. The title Liberation of the Daleks is certainly coming more into focus now that it’s clear the Daleks are part this amusement park-esque Dome setup. The Daleks in faux-1966 wouldn’t have uncloaked so fast if the Doctor hadn’t been identified. (Funnily enough, that’s an apt use of the old face. These Daleks are probably made as a copy of a Dalek that encountered or was, at least, aware of the Tenth Doctor.) And certainly, they wouldn’t have questioned their own selves genetically if not for him. So what will they do next?
The Supreme’s orders of an examination are almost certain to draw the same conclusions that the Doctor came to. And once they do, the Daleks are going to know they’re someone’s attempt at facsimile.
I can imagine that the faux-Daleks might escape on their own (if it’s a matter of genetic-duplication rather than digital simulation) via the TARDIS which they’ve captured or some other means. But perhaps a more interesting possibility is that the faux-Daleks might find a way to call the real Daleks in. Akin to the wonderful Revolution of the Daleks. Which showed that there’s nothing that the purity-conscious Daleks dislike more than other races making imitations. We imagine making them playthings for entertainment would lead for lots of loud angry shouting.
Nevermind the Fourteenth Doctor looking like the Tenth – why does Georgette look like the mysterious woman that ended up in the Doctor’s TARDIS? Well, Georgette does tell the Doctor that she “might seem familiar…” – so given the genetically identical Daleks & the gorilla-like assistants that all look similar in the Dome, is Georgette a clone?
The face is one thing, but the distinct white streak in the hair seems to seal the deal. And that mysterious woman was hiding behind the TARDIS waiting for the Fourteenth Doctor to approach. Why would this be significant? Well, it’s been a busy comic story so far but if you remember back to Part One, the Fourteenth Doctor got involved because of a distress signal in the vicinity of what then-appeared-to-be 1966. We’ve learnt since that it wasn’t the alien family’s doing (After all, they’re enjoying things at the Dome!), so that’s remained an open question.
The obvious likelihood to me is that the mysterious woman is one of many Georgette clones at the Dome. Probably designated to work on that specific 1966 part of it, they likely have become unhappy with working on the ‘rides’ and sent out a distress signal. With her now stowed within the TARDIS and in the hands of the faux-Daleks; would she wait for the Doctor’s help or try to free the faux-Daleks from their unknowing work? Was she looking for anyone, or was there a deliberate choice to try and get the Doctor to come?
One thing that really has raised a question for me, among primates unfamiliar to the Doctor and Georgette looking familiar… is that nobody working at the Dalek Dome has, thus far, seemed immediately familiar with the Doctor. Where the faux-Daleks immediately identified him (albeit likely thinking of him as the Tenth Doctor rather than the Fourteenth), there has be no sign of recognition from them. That’s a bit surprising, given that the dome has zones that mostly seem to be riffing on incidents that the Doctor has played some part in resolving.
Dome Wasn’t Built In A Day
The big question, really, has to be: who’s in charge of the Dalek Dome? With talking primates, potentially cloned customer assistants and definitely fake Daleks that look genetically convincing… it can’t have been an easy operation to put together. Not to mention all the zones that must replicate locations in incredibly good detail. Someone with some serious genetic and technological know-how must be behind this scheme to make Daleks into a tourist-trap amusement on such a scale.
Ultimately, time will tell what comes next. (And we’ve got more Liberation of the Daleks content coming soon, with a review of Part Four yet to come!)
Doctor Who Magazine Issue 587 – in which Liberation of the Daleks: Part Four is featured, among other exciting content – is available as a physical copy for £6.99 from newsagents and online via panini.com. The issue is also available as a digital copy for £5.99 from PocketMags from their own website and app & via the official DWM app.
Issue 588 – which will feature Part Five – will be released on March 2nd, for the same price & from the same venues of purchase.