Black Legacy

Goofs: The Cybermen: never have they been so emotional. Lines uttered here include "Blood of my ancestors!", "By the void, what has happened to him?", "I'd sooner perish than see another man sacrificed to your mad obsession!!" and "Curse me for a fool!"

Continuity: The Cybermen depicted here resemble those in Deathworld [a result, of course, of David Lloyd providing the artwork for both strips]. They have individual names (as in Throwback Soul of a Cyberman and their television debut The Tenth Planet). They arrive on Goth in search of the weapons of the Deathsmiths. As in Throwback The Soul of a Cyberman the rank of Junior Cyberleader exists, and rather amusingly they have a medical officer to repair injuries [so basically a mechanic then]. They are susceptible to the telepathic nightmares projected by the Apocalypse Device, which drives them insane. The Apocalypse Device also kills them by causing their casings to rot away like living tissue. The Cyber ship has an autodestruct mechanism.

Months after Maxel destroys himself and his ship, a Sontaran ship arrives on Goth.

The Deathsmiths of Goth were expert weapons designers and manufacturers and were apparently once more feared than the Daleks. They had weapons, which could shatter suns and disrupt planetary orbits, as well as cellular-disruptors, brain-wave scramblers, implosion grenades, and thermic cutters. They disappeared almost overnight when their ultimate weapon, the apocalypse device, turned against them and wiped them out. Goth has been abandoned for over two hundred years by the time the Cybermen arrive. The Deathsmiths left behind the "Black Colossus of Goth" [which appears to be an effigy of the apocalypse device] and a war museum full of weapons.

The Apocalypse Device is a synthetic creature created by the Deathsmiths as the ultimate weapon. It carries every conceivable disease and virus and broadcasts telepathic nightmares to paralyze its victims with fear. It is indestructible; when it turned against the Deathsmiths they destroyed all their spaceships to prevent it from escaping from Goth before it wiped them out. It resembles a wraith-like ghoulish humanoid, and is intelligent. It's sole purpose is to kill, and it seems to enjoy it - it tells Maxel that it deserves a challenge, hunts the Cybermen down one by one, and generally gloats. It lets Maxel live, because it wants him to take it off Goth.

Links: Black Legacy marks the fourth and final appearance of the Cybermen in the original run of the Marvel Doctor Who back-up comic strip; they previously appeared in [DWM]Throwback The Soul of a Cyberman, Deathworld and Ship of Fools. The Sontarans, who appear briefly at the end, have previously appeared in the back-up strip in The Final Quest and The Outsider.

Location: Goth, date unknown [the future].

The Bottom Line: "One day they lost control... and I annihilated them! That seems to be a recurring problem with ultimate weapons, doesn't it?" Black Legacy is... interesting. Exactly why Moore uses the Cybermen is unclear, as they are so emotional that he might as well have used the Sontarans (who arrive on Goth at the end anyway), and the plot and the gloating Apocalypse Device are the stuff of pure cliché. Nevertheless, Black Legacy is rather entertaining, partly because the clichés on display here have become clichés largely because they work, and partly because David Lloyd makes the haunted world of Goth a nightmarish place full of ominous shadows. The Apocalypse Device, deliberately drawn to resemble something out of a horror film, looks great.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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