Sunday, 29 January 2012

Menace on Metalupiter

The Doctor Who books' stories have certainly taken a turn for the stranger since I have reached the ones with Tom Baker as the Doctor, but Menace on Metalupiter is possibly the strangest yet. It is another story with the Doctor, Sarah and Harry, but even though this is a picture story the artist seems to want to draw Sarah as little as possible. Given how unlike Ian Marter all the pictures of Harry look, this may be a lucky break for Sarah.

Metalupiter is "a small planet rich in minerals." From the name I would have assumed it was like Jupiter only made of metal.

The Doctor shows Sarah a picture of a Metalupiter robot. He says "their appearance is most appealing" but the picture is very unclear as to why. Maybe we will find out later.

It is so hard to follow what happens on this page that they have included arrows to try and help us. Even with the arrows I still don't know why they need to run away "back to the TARDIS!"

It turns out the robots look like cats! No wonder the Doctor said "their appearance is most appealing" - this is a plot twist I like a lot. Purr.

They capture a robot and the Doctor is surprised that "his whole brain is made of rubber!" That is a surprise. I didn't know that robot cats could have brains made of rubber.

That isn't the most confusing thing that happens on this page, though. That is when things seem to happen in the wrong order - the box text tells us how the Doctor finds things out from the robot, and then in the next panel he says "Right! Now to switch him on..." and then the robot wakes up and begins to tell the Doctor the things we already know from the box text.

The baddy aliens want to turn Metalupiter into a "giant crystal" that "can be used to build spaceships" - this sounds a bit like the plan the Daleks used when they invaded Earth, because the Daleks wanted to turn the Earth into a giant spaceship that they could then fly around in.

When Harry says "Today!?" he looks a bit like Michael Jayston, so maybe he was substituting for Ian Marter when they made this story.

This story needs some action, so the Doctor, Harry and Sarah get shot at and go "Aagh!" and "Umf! Doctor! My Brain! I can't move!" and "I can't move! That creature is scrambling our brains!"

This is getting quite exciting. Our heroes are in peril and the stakes are high, as is emphasised by the next panel, when the Doctor says "Got to reach... gasp!... can't move! The planet will explode!"

How can they possible escape? All seems lost.

It turns out that Puskeet is able to ignore "the awesome firepower of the four-armed creature" (it's a good thing that box text tells us the creature is "four-armed" because the pictures certainly don't make that clear), which is handy.

"Yaarg!" lol.

Puskeet saves the day with the help of what looks like a big stick. I am torn between thinking this is yet another cop-out ending, which would make me a sad cat, and thinking how great cat robots are that they can be immune to weapons and save the day, which would make me a happy cat.

Naturally cat robots are great and I am a happy cat, but this is still a cop-out ending. The last two lines confirm it by drawing attention to the fact:
"What I'd like to know is how Puskeet managed to do it." (says Harry, looking as much like himself as he gets to in this story.)
"So would I. But it's like I said - Metalupitrons have many fine qualities." (the Doctor - who, to be fair, has managed to look quite a bit like Tom Baker throughout - replies.)

I'm only going to let them off because I like the word "Metalupitrons." And because cat robots are great!


  1. I thought you might be interested to know that I have made a sequel to Menace on Metalupiter, for the #MissionDALEK competition run by the BBC. It's called Mistress of Metalupiter, and you can find it here:

  2. That is very well done, you have captured the art style of Menace on Metalupiter and mixed it with the new series characters (and Remembrance of the Daleks style spaceships) very well.

  3. Thanks! I've been fascinated by Paul Crompton's work for years, it was fun pay tribute to him.