The longest running science fiction television program, Doctor Who is mostly known for its monsters. Some are bug-eyed or spew slime or just wriggle like a plate of spaghetti, but each is instantly recognizeable as a Doctor Who Monster.
While the most popular monster that the Doctor has faced must be the Daleks, The Cybermen run a close second. Introduced during the final adventure of the first Doctor played by William Hartnell, the Cybermen were thew survivors of Earth’s doomed sister planet, Mondas which had hidden on the other side of the sun before being transformed into an exploration vehicle by advanced technology. In order to cheat the slow decay of their bodies, the Cybermen had replaced their failing organs with cybernetics, eventually becoming more machine than human being. Their resources exhausted, they stalk the universe for raw material. In 1966′s The Tenth Planet, the Cybermen plotted to drain the planet Earth of its energy entirely and were narrowly defeated by the Doctor right before he regenerated into a new form.
More terrifying than any other monster due its humanoid appearance and zombie-like walk, the Cybermen are a grim reminder of human frailty and our reliance upon technology to survive the rigors of aging and disease. Constantly scouting for new raw material, the Cybermen of the 1960′s are usually seen dragging their prey off-screen to be harvested for parts of transformed into Cybermen, another nod to the modern zombie myth. The new version of these monsters introduced in 2006 is an entirely different creation but it still draws upon similar concepts and I have no doubt that the children of today find them horrifying.
The second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, faced the Cybermen on four occasions but they were not seen again until 1975 when they pitted their computerized brains against the fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker.
Not the most beloved of the Cybermen adventures, Revenge of the Cybermen is still strikes an iconic visual moment in the minds of most fans of the classic series. Written by the co-creator of the Cybermen, Gerry Davis, Revenge of the Cybermen centers on the destruction of Voga, otherwise known as the planet of gold. As the Cybermen are allergic to gold, they fear that the substance will be mined and weaponized by their enemies. A small assault squad is sent to destroy Voga using the Doctor and the crew of the Nerva Beacon orbiting the planet as human bombs.
Just announced for release in November is a set of three Cybermen and a Cybermat (a creepy metal baddie used to spread a killer virus throughout the crew of the Nerva Beacon, preparing the way for its master’s assault). They may appear similar to the Cybermen last seen in the previous adventure, 1968′s Invasion, but they are actually a drastic updated design drafted up at the last minute, adding built-in headlamp guns and trousers that look suspiciously like bell bottoms.
The 1974/5 12th series of Doctor Who is regarded by many as a seminal moment when the program entered a new golden age with Tom Baker as the Doctor, Robert Holmes as script editor and Philip Hinchcliff as series producer. The final adventure of the 12th series may not have been as much of a corker as the others, but it still holds a special place in the heart of many a die-hard fan. It can now occupy a special place on your shelf as well with this box set.
Until recently the Revenge of the Cybermen design was one of two Cybermen designs to not be released in action figure form (the other one being from the Wheel in Space). A previous box set of Cybermen action figures ‘Age of Steel’ combined the designs from the Tenth Planet, Tomb of the Cybermen and the Invasion. It is becoming a rarity, so if you are interested in these, I strongly recommend pre-ordering now.
In the UK pre-order from Forbidden Planet.
No word yet on a US source, but I will keep you in the know.