Abslom Daak... Dalek Killer

Goofs: The cowardly Dalek! Daak bullies it into submission by chopping off its gun and then asking it to imagine the chainsword ripping through its body; amusingly, when it does what he wanted it to do, it plaintively asks, "You will not exterminate me?"

Continuity: During the twenty-sixth century, another Dalek War is being fought between the human and Dalek empires. Human criminals found guilty of capital crimes are offered the choice between death by vaporization or exile D-K, the latter of which is the option of being sent by matter transmitter to a suitable location in Dalek-occupied territory and becoming a Dalek Killer for as long as one can survive. Robots are used to process Dalek Killers once they leave the court and as they are prepared for transmitter. Only Dalek Killers, not soldiers, are sent through the matter transmitter because only one in four people sent through it arrive at his or her destination: the rest are scrambled all over the galaxy. They are allowed to take one personal item with them through the transmitter and are provided with a selection of weapons that don't become active until they pass through the transmitter. The life expectancy of a Dalek Killer once they arrive at their destination is two hours, thirty-two minutes and twenty-three seconds and the odds against survival are six hundred million to one.

The Daleks use hoverbouts here that are bulkier than those depicted in past strips and are studded with Dalek sensor globes. The Dalek force on Mazam is based in its large spaceship. The Command-Dalek on board the ship is black with white trimming and is wired directly into the controls of the ship. The airborne Omega-units, which use smaller assault craft, specialize in saturation bombing. Daak destroys the main Dalek ship, wiping out the main Dalek force on Mazam.

Abslom Daak is found guilty of twenty-three charges of murder, pillage, piracy, massacre, and other crimes "too horrible to bring to the public attention". He's given the choice between death by vaporization or exile D-K and chooses D-K because "vaporization doesn't hurt". He takes several weapons with him when he steps through the transmitter including an assortment of bombs, but his main weapon, and his sole personal possession, is his chainsword, which is capable of cutting through robots and Dalek casings alike, as well as the doors of a Dalek ship. Interestingly, despite his status as a professional killer [the implication is that he is, perhaps, a mercenary rather than a pirate] he immediately saves Taiyin when he arrives on Mazam and causes a distraction so that she can get her people to safety, which hints at a hidden heroic streak. He's also suicidal, hurling himself into battle fully expecting to die but is unwilling to go down without a fight, explaining "there's a fury in me... a hatred... a fire that can only burn itself out in the heat of battle". Taiyin reminds him of "someone with blue eyes" named Selene, and although he claims that they didn't have any "good times" he and Taiyin are instantly attracted to each other. She just has time to tell him she loves him before a lone Dalek survivor exterminates her; Daak carries her corpse off in his arms, and we'll see why in Star Tigers.

The planet Mazam has recently been occupied by the Daleks. The population surrender under the orders of the planet's ruler, Taiyin, Princess of the Moons of Eperu and Empress of Mazam, who was promised that her people would be spared if they gave up their weapons. Not surprisingly, the Daleks have no intention of keeping this promise.

The next case presented to the court after Daak's is that of Curtis Henry Foobl, who is accused of eating the Vegan Ambassador!

Links: The dating of this story, and the Dalek War, ties in with the events of Frontier in Space. The Dalek War of the twenty-sixth century would later form the backdrop to several New Adventures. This is Abslom Daak's first appearance, but by no means his last: he later stars in the back-up strips Star Tigers and, erm, Star Tigers before joining forces with the Seventh Doctor in Nemesis of the Daleks, and again in Emperor of the Daleks. He's also appeared outside of the comic strip; he stars in the short story Between the Wars: A Slow Night in Paradise in the Abslom Daak graphic novel, he has an unnamed cameo in Scarab of Death (Decalog) and a clone of Daak featured heavily in the New Adventure Deceit.

Location: A court somewhere in the Earth Empire; and Mazam, during the twenty-sixth century.

The Bottom Line: "I'm gonna kill every damned stinking Dalek in the galaxy!" Abslom Daak has proved popular with fans and it's easy to see why; he's a real anti-hero, sentenced to become a Dalek Killer for a series of really appalling crimes and with a hunger to die in battle, but who takes his first steps towards redemption here as he meets Taiyin and swears revenge against the Daleks for her death. Moore and Dillon always make a good team, and the art and the script mesh beautifully making this the Doctor Who equivalent of an action movie to great effect.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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