Eve of War, reprinted as A Fresh Start, was the first story to feature the Mechonoids in comic form and as an explicit enemy of the Daleks. This story was also notable for its change of artists mid-way through the story, resulting in differences in style of Daleks, ships and all style and painted elements of the story. The Daleks' design shifted from one based on their appearance in the first Dalek story The Daleks to a design similar to the Dalek film (Dr. Who and the Daleks) released the year this story was first published.
A new chapter in Dalek history begins. Following the Monstron attack, the Daleks have rebuilt their city with new defences to warn them on any future invasion. With the threat of the rust plague and the Monstrons over, the Dalek Emperor orders the Daleks to resume their conquest of other planets with the next target being Oric as it contains valuable minerals. As it is further away than Alvega or Solturis, the Daleks are building a refuelling station when one of the Daleks comes under attack from a cloud in space. It goes insane and starts seeing other Daleks as its enemies and begins killing them. Watching from a cloaked spaceship, a Mechanoid reports to its leader Menoid that their "suspicion" ray is successful and they wait for a rebellion among the Daleks to begin.
The rogue Dalek is restrained as the Red Dalek Leader says their radardroves have detected enemy messages in their space. They uncover the Mechanoid ship and destroy it. However, the Mechanoids return with two more ships. They melt the Dalek's flying saucer, killing the Red Dalek within. The Mechanoids issue a warning to the Daleks and say that they are to stay out of Mechanoid skies. Soon they plan to attack Skaro.
Back on Skaro, the Emperor Dalek extracts information about the Mechanoids from the Dalek affected by the "suspicion" ray. As other Daleks begin to question who the Mechanoids are, the Emperor has the rogue Dalek's through patterns analysed and they receive information on their new enemies. The Emperor orders new weapons and defences to be built and begins mobilising the Dalek forces. War is coming.
Dalek technology Edit
- Dalek sound scans can listen for things approaching up to 100,000 AUDs away from the North and South.
- Videoscopes also watch for things around Skaro.
- The Daleks use H20 ballast in their saucers to blow the cloud hiding the Mechanoids' ship away.
- Mechonoid Interceptors can travel at lightspeed.
- The Mechanoids use force field protection on their ships, rendering the Daleks' weapons useless.
- Mechanoids are totally machine and have powerful positronic brains.
- The regular artist, Richard Jennings, left the series mid-story but still contributed to The Dalek Outer Space Book.
- Ron Turner, who finished this story, didn't become the regular artist until after the next story. He had a number of previous commitments and at the time had no experience in providing art for a colour comic.
- The change in artist mid-story causes slight continuity issues. The colours and shape of the Red Dalek, as well as other Daleks become simplified and their shapes change. Mid-battle, a flying saucer becomes topped with a giant Dalek head.
- This is the first of the Mechonoid story arc. Dalek-Mechonoid combat was previously shown in the television story The Chase and the comic story The World That Waits.
- In The Chase, the Mechonoids were said to be robot servants built by humans for colonisation purposes but they were forgotten after interplanetary wars ended the Earth Empire's expansionist phase. In this story, the Mechonoids are an independent species. The main theory is that Mechonoids became their own species overtime after their abandonment but its more likely that the Humans salvaged Mechonoid technology to use for colonization but were less advanced than the originals. The TV21 Comic Strips are set prior to The Dalek Invasion of Earth and before humanity could colonise other worlds.
- This story was reprinted as A Fresh Start in The Amazing World of Doctor Who, with new narrative boxes linking each part replacing the introductory "The Daleks by Terry Nation" image and the closing Stop Press! messages.
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