December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who Classics “City Of The Damned”

The Doctor visits a city where feeling any sort of emotion is a crime.

Alright, a second story from the writing team of Mills and Wagner with more great art from Dave Gibbons.

This time, it’s a city where feeling anything could lead to a lobotomy.

This time around, the Doctor finds himself in the “damned city” on the planet Zom.  The place had been pure chaos until the people in charge figured the problem was emotions made people chaotic, so that had to go.  They genetically engineered the Brains Trust–people with brains for heads–and the Moderators–police that punish people for feeling literally anything–and the city is filled with compliant drones who don’t mind, if, say, their spouse is ordered to be turned into fertilizer because of a heart defect that shouldn’t be passed along to children, and the spouse was picked by the state anyway.  People have numbers instead of names, and naturally the Doctor pops in and gets arrested almost immediately.

Fortunately, he’s rescued by rebels, people who only feel one emotion each and name themselves for it.  So, men like Half Daft, Will-to-Live, and Very Angry spring the Doctor, but rebel amongst rebels Big Hate has a secret weapon:  scavenger insects that can strip a person to the bone in seconds.  He plans to let them loose on the Moderators.  Too bad that would also destroy the ordinary people in the city, but unsurprisingly, a guy named “Big Hate” doesn’t care how many people he kills.  He hates everybody.

What a jerk.

Regardless, the Doctor does find a weakness to Big Hate’s plan:  the Barabara bug won’t bite anyone who feels things, and if they do, they die of adrenaline poisoning.  Can the Doctor switch on the feelings of the city’s residents before they all die?

Oh yeah.  The Brains Trust even agree to help before the Moderator General shoots them all down.  It’s another fun story, nothing spectacular, but fun.

Yeah, there isn’t much to these so far.  I don’t really expect that to change, and this is Doctor Who, so I wouldn’t try to guess whether or not these stories are “canon”.  Probably not, but Doctor Who fans often treat every story as canon because…well, why couldn’t they?