Thursday, July 14, 2016

TRULY GONE & FORGOTTEN : ABSLOM DAAK, DALEK KILLER

"...anyway, happy birthday Petey, daddy tol' you he woona forget.."

I grew up as a (cough, ahem) Whovian, devoting an inordinate amount of my adolescent energies towards following the adventures of the UK's most stalwart science-fiction export, Doctor Who. This included collecting the official Doctor Who Magazine, specially ordered at my local comic shop, a document containing interviews, pointless recollections ("Remember this bullshit monster? How great was its greasy rubber face and stupid feet?" The answer was always, both from the magazine and from me, "Tremendously great") and, most importantly, comics!

Aw shit, this is the BIZ!
Primarily, the comics focused on the Doctor and his companions, both drawn from the series (Hi K-9!) and created for the comics (Hi, um, Frobisher the shape-shifting penguin alien!), with very few exceptions.

One of those exceptions, though -- possibly the most exciting of them all -- was Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer!

Created by Steve Moore and Steve Dillon, and featuring art by Dillon, David Lloyd and a few others, Abslom was a 26th century human with a rap sheet of brutal crimes a mile long. Facing a robot tribunal (and a final big Hi! to England's consistent robots-as-metaphor-for-the-absurdity-of-archaic-institutions motif), Abslom faces two punishments for his terrible crimes ... Vaporis(z)ation, or ... EXILE D-K!

It's either a Christian rock band or an Urban Decay palette, or so you'd think upon first hearing of it, but Exile D-K is a one-way trip to a Dalek-infested planet, armed with awe-inspiring weapons and the mandate to kill as many of the traditional enemies of the long-running show as possible.

"Practice!"
Abslom's adventures take him into the company of Taiyin, barely-clad princess of a world dominated by the Daleks, an alien Draconian (another familiar alien to Doctor Who die-hards) named Salander, an Ice Warrior (also etc etc from the show) and suicide provider named Harma, a sleazy warlord named Vol Mercurius  -- and also into a million Dalek-infested worlds where they get chopped up by Abslom's bad-ass-as-a-motherfucker chainsaw sword.

The strip only starts to exhibit a downturn when someone noticed the name on the front of the magazine, and decided to insert The Doctor into Abslom's adventures. This cuts the series off at the knees, because the punk-style ultra-violence of Abslom Daak, up to that point, had provided a sort-of mashup between the dystopian future world of British comics like Judge Dredd, Rogue Warrior and Strontium Dog and the familiar settings of the popular children's show.

When the Doctor shows up -- in his seventh incarnation, if I have my math correct -- the violence and self-loathing which made the strip such a grim, grimy pleasure had to be watered down. As dark as the Doctor had become when the character was portrayed by Sylvester McCoy -- represented here in the team-up with Daak -- the formula of the long-running cliffhanger serial overwhelmed all other concerns.

There are always threats and promises that Absolm Daak will come back in some fashion, frequently posited as a new companion on the show, star of an audiobook series, or returning to the comics. His explosive, self-sacrificing finale in the pages of his own adventure seem to imply no such thing was possible. As of yet, he's made -- in one fashion or another -- passing appearances in the Doctor Who series of novels and one cameo on the show, but the full inclusion of Daak in the Whoniverse hasn't happened yet -- and, frankly, maybe it doesn't need to. A wall built between the gleeful nihilism of the original series and the often-forced optimism of the show seems to benefit all involved.

Oh no, he's facing the deadliest Daleks of all, the Cuddle Daleks!

7 comments:

Adam Halls said...

He actually appeared in this year's FCBD Doctor Who comic.

Calamity Jon said...

Was it a reprint or a new story?

Unknown said...

It featured the Eleventh Doctor, so I assume it was new.

The Grand Comics Database entry doesn't have it marked as a reprint. http://www.comics.org/issue/1566862/

Not a great story. Daak wanders round the TARDIS trying to find his dead wife, while the Doctor explains to Alice that he feels he has something in common with the psycho. *shrug*

KAM

Matt Largo said...

An image of Daak makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the Series 8 episode of New Who, "Time Heist," as part of a readout of the Most Dangerous Space Outlaws that Sy downloads to get the attention of the Teller. I don't think I can append a picture here, but if you google "Abslom Daak Time Heist" it'll take you right there.

Calamity Jon said...

Yeah, that's the type of story I was talking about, where Daak intersects with the Doctor's world and it removes everything of distinction from the character. Good to know about it, tho, I'll go hunt down a copy if just for completism's sake...

Calamity Jon said...

And inre: Time Heist - yep, that was the cameo to which I referred in the post. Just a clip from the comic, it seems.

Edward Rex Young said...

These were collected and reprinted in a trade paperback in 1990. (One of my prize possessions, yay!) Amazon currently has 12 copies available at $24.99.

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