Doctor Who Magazine
Up Above the Gods

From Doctor Who Magazine #227

Story: Richard Alan, Art: Lee Sullivan,
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft, Editor: Gary Gillatt

Synopsis: The Sixth Doctor and Davros discuss the destiny of the Dalek race...


A Light of Hope by Tim Roll-Pickering 11/12/98

"Where did the rage that created the Daleks come from?"

Coming in the midst of one of the most creatively barren periods for the DWM strip, Up Above the Gods stands out for its originality, offering a rare insight into one of the series' most powerful villains. Tying in with Emperor of the Daleks, the story features no action, but a simple discussion between the Doctor and Davros, with the Doctor looking for the good he believers exists in Davros, hoping to get him to turn the Daleks into a force for good, whilst the latter is sceptical and scheming.

Under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to do a strip like this, given the importance of the ongoing storyline. But at a time when the strip was aimless, featuring stories from all Doctors and throwing any ongoing developments to the wind, such a story was possible. Richard Alan's script is a delight, giving depth to both the Doctor and Davros, and wisely does not use Peri, thus allowing the conversation to flow without the need for constant explanation.

Complimenting the script is Lee Sullivan's artwork. Whilst his work on both Nemesis of the Daleks and Emperor of the Daleks had already made him the obvious choice to draw this story, Sullivan proves his worth again, providing excellent likenesses of the Doctor, who looks mysterious in many frames, concealing his ulterior motives, and Davros, whose earlier life is magnificently portrayed in a few brief flashbacks.

If there is any major problem with this strip, it is the circumstances under which it was produced. Whilst featuring stories from all Doctors was a good idea in principle, given that the lack of new episodes and the heavy torrent of video releases meant that just about every era of the series was 'current', it also meant that the DWM strip was totally disconnected, and a mere shadow of it's former glory days.

As the one story from this time which does attempt to link to another story, Up Above the Gods is undoubtedly the best strip of the era, providing characterisation, sorely missed at this time. This unique experiment paid off, but now that DWM has reverted to an ongoing set of stories featuring just the current Doctor, it seems unlikely we'll ever see such a story again. 9/10