Throwback: The Soul of a Cyberman

Goofs: In common with most of their early back-up strip appearances, the depiction of the Cybermen here isn't entirely faithful to that of the television series. They are markedly more emotional and oddly they only seem interested in Mondaran's mineral resources, either killing or enslaving the human inhabitants. We'll see more of this sort of thing later on.

Continuity: The Cybermen depicted here are sleeker than most of their television counterparts and most closely resemble a cross between those seen in The Invasion and those in Revenge of the Cybermen. The Cyberleaders have black triangles painted over the upper parts of their faces, the point facing downward where a nose would be in a human. Although their have circular metal plates at their joints, they are otherwise smooth bodied, although intriguingly their chest units appear to strapped on by some kind of harness. They carry tube-shaped weapons. The Cyberleaders have names (as in The Tenth Planet) and rather amusingly they have the rank of Junior Cyberleader [imagine Cybermen competing for promotion...]. Malfunctioning Cybermen can report to maintenance for repairs. As in The Tomb of the Cybermen, they apparently rely on external charging for power.

Junior Cyberleader Kroton malfunctions, regains his emotions, and becomes fascinated by humans and their illogical, emotional responses. Having rescued the human colonists from his fellow Cybermen and left them in the safety of the Forest of Lorn, he launches his spacecraft and drifts off into space, his batteries draining of energy.

The planet Mondaran is a human colony which has been occupied by the Cybermen for several months and is now in ruins. The capital is called Mondaran City. The Forest of Lorn is a vast region on Mondaran, where the humans believe that they will be able to hide indefinitely from the Cybermen. Mondaran is a six-day journey away from Telos in a Cyber ship.

Links: This is the first of many appearances for the Cybermen in the Marvel Doctor Who strip, but not their first comic strip appearance; they appeared opposite the Second Doctor in several TV Comic strips, beginning with The Coming of the Cybermen. Their adopted home planet of Telos first appeared in The Tomb of the Cybermen and again in Attack of the Cybermen, and has been mentioned in several of their other appearances on screen, in books, and in audio stories.

The Bottom Line: "Human? Me?" It seems highly likely that this strip is heavily influenced by The Wizard of Oz, and more specifically by the notion of a tin man in search of a heart. The back-up strip would often feature characters who either debuted in the main strip or who appeared in it later on, with Abslom Daak being the most obvious example. Throwback The Soul of a Cyberman introduces another of these in the shape of the fondly remembered Kroton, who would reappear sixteen issues later in Ship of Fools. After which he wasn't seen again for nearly twenty years, when the team behind the Eighth Doctor comic strip, with a little help from Cyberman fan Adrian Salmon, brought him out of retirement with a slick new makeover. It's easy to see his appeal; the strip is dynamically drawn, engagingly written, and Kroton himself is utterly charming, as he struggles to understand what is happening to him.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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