Click here to return to the main site.

Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Supremacy of the Cybermen (Hardback)


Writers: George Mann and Cavan Scott
Artists: Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Geovanni, with Alessandro Vitti and Tazio Bettin
Colourists: Nicola Righi with Enrica Eren Angiolini
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £17.99, US $19.99, Cdn $25.99
Age: 12+
ISBN: 978 1 78585 684 6
128 pages
Publication Date: 07 March 2017

The Cybermen have already won… You will be deleted! Exiled from Gallifrey at the very end of Time, Rassilon, fallen leader of the Time Lords, has been captured by the last of the Cybermen. Now the Cybermen have access to time travel! With it, every defeat is now a victory. All of the Doctors’ lives are in grave peril. Will they be able to defeat the odds and champion over a Cyberised cosmos? Or is this how the universe dies – not in fire, but in metal…? Writers George Mann (Dark Souls) and Cavan Scott (Vikings) together with artists Ivan Rodriguez (The Shadow) and Walter Geovanni (Red Sonja) chart the journey that could end all of Time itself…!

For their previous Doctor Who ‘event’, Titan Comics gave us Four Doctors. This time they’re giving us… four Doctors!

This graphic novel features not only the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, but also several of their companions: Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, Gabriella Gonzales, Cindy Wu and Alice Obiefune. Only the Twelfth Doctor is travelling alone. I hope Titan aren’t going to rely on multi-Doctor crossovers for their specials every year, because the novelty value could easily wear off. However, it is undeniably exciting to be able to see the Ninth Doctor fighting alongside his successors, something that sadly proved impossible in The Day of the Doctor.

Well, I say “alongside”. Taking a leaf out of the book of The Five Doctors and The Sirens of Time, Supremacy of the Cybermen (by the way, did I mention – the Cybermen are in it, too!) keeps the various incarnations apart for the majority of the story. The Twelfth Doctor begins his strand of the narrative on the planet Karn (for a moment, I thought it was a flashback to Night of the Doctor). The Eleventh Doctor and Alice are on prehistoric Earth (I’ll forgive the assortment of dinosaurs from different continents and periods, as it’s clear that there is something timey-wimey going on). Meanwhile (if that word can be applied to a time-travel tale), the Tenth Doctor, Gabby and Cindy are in deep space in the 24th century, while the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Jack are on the Powell Estate in 2006. All of these worlds have somehow been altered by Cyber-technology. The multi-stranded plot structure used by George Mann and Cavan Scott is effective, switching from Twelve to Eleven to Ten to Nine, and then back again. Each of the Doctors’ scenes ends at a dramatic moment, providing lots of little cliffhangers throughout the book.

Some of the plotlines owe a debt to comic strips published in Doctor Who Magazine years ago, with the Cybermen interacting with Silurians and dinosaurs – as in the Cybermen strip penned by Alan Barnes and drawn by Adrian Salmon – and the Tenth Doctor meeting a thoroughbred Sontaran – as in the Seventh Doctor strip Pureblood written by Dan Abnett with art by Colin Andrew. Here the ‘original’ Sontaran, their emperor, with his white beard and billowing red cape, looks rather like a Sontaran version of Santa Claus. I can just imagine the young cadets sitting on his knee: “And what would you like for Christmas, little boy?” “The total defeat of the Rutans, for the glory of the Sontaran Empire!”

There’s blood, sweat and tears as the Doctors strike back against their enemies. Nine and Ten become particularly reckless – and ruthless – when they believe that they have lost their nearest and dearest and so have little left to lose. As Nine puts it: “Messing with the TARDIS, that was their first mistake. But this? This changes everything, because now I won’t stop until I find out how… And once I know, I’ll make them pay!” His successor echoes that sentiment: “OK, Cybermen. If you thought I was dangerous before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The likenesses of Matt Smith, David Tennant and Camille Coduri (yes, Jackie Tyler is in it as well!) are not great. Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, John Barrowman and in particular Peter Capaldi are more successfully captured, though the choice of artist for the Twelfth Doctor scenes varies throughout the book, leading to a somewhat inconsistent result. The strongest Capaldi pages are at the beginning, provided by Tazio Bettin (an attribution I got wrong when I reviewed the monthly serialisation of this story).

Bettin’s colleagues Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Geovanni also supply some impressive images, such as Gallifrey’s Capitol surrounded by a vast fleet of Cyberships and an asteroid shaped like a Cyberman’s head. Their renditions of a giant CyberKing are suitably mighty, and there are some neat pixellation effects as the Eleventh Doctor fights the system from within – rather like he did (or rather will do) in Nightmare in Silver, it has to be said.

This is a real nostalgia-fest, with the various Doctors making mention of Sky-Trenches, Transduction Barriers and other Time Lord technobabble, a Cyberman declaring that, “You belong to us! You shall be like us!”, and the Twelfth Doctor visiting the so-called Tomb of Rassilon (though obviously the man himself is still alive and kicking). Our hero notices that the Lord President has had the Panopticon redecorated – and he doesn’t like it!

What I certainly do like is the fact that, as well as collecting the five-issue Supremacy of the Cybermen mini-series, this volume also includes the nine ‘teaser’ pages that appeared in other Doctor Who titles, featuring the first eight Doctors plus the War Doctor. There are some real corkers here, the most noteworthy pages being those involving the First, Second, Fourth and Eighth Doctors. The First Doctor prequel is rendered in era-appropriate black and white by artist Dan Boultwood. The Second Doctor episode, drawn by Andrew Pepoy and Jason Millet, takes two classic lines from Troughton-era Cyber-stories and combines them to dramatic effect. The Fourth and Eighth Doctors cross paths with some very rare varieties of the machine creatures, with the Fourth Doctor (as rendered by Blair Shedd) encountering the skeletal Cybermen that were designed for the unmade 1993 anniversary special Lost in the Dark Dimension. Then the Eighth Doctor has a rematch with the Cybermen as they looked in the 1996 Radio Times comic strip Dreadnought. Lee Sullivan, who drew the short-lived RT strip, returns (with Luis Guerrero) to provide the artwork.

Oddly, though, these pages are presented at the back of the graphic novel. Surely it would have made more sense to have them at the front or interspersed throughout the book (with most of them taking place before the current Doctor begins to feel the after-effects of the attacks upon his former selves about halfway through the story).

For all my quibbles, though, it’s good to have the Cybermen back again, in multiple forms. As the creatures themselves used to say back in the 1980s – excellent!


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Kindle Edition