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The World Shapers was the final regular Doctor Who Magazine comic strip to feature the Sixth Doctor. It featured the death of Jamie McCrimmon, a fate which, as of 2021[update] has not been contradicted in any medium. It has also attracted attention because it was written by legendary comic scribe Grant Morrison.
It was a Mondasian Cybermen origin story which showed that the Cybermen evolved from the Voord. These origins conflicted with most of the other origin stories given for the Cybermen, including Spare Parts and DWM's own The Cybermen. However, The World Shapers was specifically referenced in The Doctor Falls as one of many origins of the Cybermen which all coexist in the Doctor Who universe, though it also establishes Planet 14, Marinus and Mondas as separate planets, contradicting The World Shapers.
The Sixth Doctor, Peri Brown and Frobisher follow a distress signal to a watery planet that the Doctor recognises as Marinus, although it is now apparently deserted. The signal is coming from another TARDIS. They find an elderly, dying Time Lord who mutters "Planet 14" before expiring. As he was on his last regeneration, his body breaks down into its constituent molecules, though the Doctor notes that it happened very quickly. The late Time Lord's TARDIS informs them they were sent to Marinus to investigate violent disturbances in the space-time continuum. Frobisher moults rapidly and Peri's hair and fingernails grow; the Doctor notes that time has been accelerated. The mention of Planet 14 jogs the Doctor's memory. He dimly recalls an adventure from his second incarnation. He decides to visit Jamie McCrimmon to see if he would know.
As they depart in the TARDIS (observed by a group of Voord), a spaceship prepares to land, piloted by Deedrun and Maxilla, who repair Worldshapers. They note that the last Worldshaper they repaired was on Planet Thirteen...
The TARDIS has arrived in Scotland in the 18th century, and the travellers are escorted by Dugald to visit "Mad Jamie", who has been labelled as crazy after the Battle of Culloden, claiming to have visited the moon and stars. Having miscalculated by about 40 years, they've arrived to find Jamie an isolated old man living alone in a run-down shack. Jamie (who had been trained by the Doctor to resist the Time Lords' erasure of his memory) recalls the mention of Planet 14 by the Cyber Controller in their dealings with the Cybermen's attempted invasion of Earth via the London sewers. He begs the Doctor to take him with them, and they depart in the TARDIS before the bewildered eyes of the villagers.
They arrive on Marinus only a week since their departure, but in that time the vast oceans have been drained. They encounter Maxilla, now rapidly aged, gasping for help and claiming that "it's all gone wrong." They turn to find themselves surrounded by a party of Voord, who bear some uncanny resemblances to Cybermen...
They retreat with Maxilla into the safety of the TARDIS. Maxilla tells how the Voord had captured the Worldshaper and used it to rapidly evolve. His partner, Deedrun, was killed in the process, but Maxilla partially shielded himself with a time shield. The Voord are evolving into Cybermen. The Doctor realises the peril the Cybermen would pose with the Worldshaper. He resolves that the machine must be destroyed. Leaving Peri and Frobisher behind in the TARDIS, the Doctor, Jamie and Maxilla home in on the Worldshaper. Maxilla is stunned to find it unguarded, but runs into a protective field surrounding it which ages him to death. Jamie, however, sacrifices his life by plunging his sword into the heart of the Worldshaper. An enormous burst of temporal energy engulfs the entire planet (though the Doctor escapes to the TARDIS), causing millions of years of geological development to pass very quickly. Once it subsides, they emerge from the TARDIS to find a pair of Time Lords waiting for them. The Doctor now recognises the planet as Mondas. The Time Lords order the Doctor and his party to leave, despite the Doctor's insistence they have the chance to stop the Cybermen's development before they can threaten the galaxy.
As the Doctor angrily departs, the Time Lords reflect that in five million years' time, the Cybermen will evolve beyond corporeal form into a disembodied benevolent race, becoming the most peaceful and advanced people in the Universe. They agree that the millions of years of bloodshed in the interim are worth "the ultimate salvation of sentient life."
- Sixth Doctor
- Peri Brown
- Jamie McCrimmon
- Dying Time Lord
- Time Lord in red
- The Time Lords reveal that the Cybermen will eventually ascend to a state of pure consciousness.
- Peri and Frobisher experience accelerated ageing.
- Frobisher says Worldshapers were banned after one was used on the planet Yxia, causing the whole planetary system to fall apart.
- This marks the final appearance of the Sixth Doctor in regular comic strip format. His final lines in his comic book tenure are; "You haven't heard the last of this!"
- Charlie Kirchoff was the colourist for the Grant Morrison's Doctor Who reprint.
- Peri references the events of The Two Doctors. According to her, "a couple of years" have passed for her and the Doctor since those events.
- The Doctor badly remembers life before his second regeneration. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)
- The references to Planet 14 derive from a remark by the Cyber-Director in The Invasion; in that story, the Cyber-Director recognises the Second Doctor and Jamie from Planet 14.
- According to the strip, Jamie was taught a mind-trick by the Second Doctor which allowed him to retain his memories of travelling with the Doctor, despite the attempt to erase them in The War Games.
- Part of the story takes place on Marinus, with the Doctor recalling the events of The Keys of Marinus.
- A reference is made to the events of The Tomb of the Cybermen.
- The Doctor hints that he has stolen his TARDIS. (TV: The War Games, Frontier in Space, Logopolis, Planet of the Dead, The Doctor's Wife)
- While facing the Cybermen on a Mondasian colony ship, the Twelfth Doctor would recall Marinus as one of the worlds where they rose. (TV: The Doctor Falls)
- The Doctor and Jamie's lifesigns are registered as traces on the TARDIS's external sensory equipment. (TV: The Five Doctors)
- The Master would use a similar form of accelerated aging technology on the Doctor but made from Richard Lazarus' "de-ageing" device. (TV: The Sound of Drums)