Doctor Who has been on (and off) the air since 1963, with a myriad of adventures showing the Doctor and his companions traveling to endless corners of the universe.
(Daily Doctor Who #314)
But do you know where they haven’t traveled? Into my other favorite science fiction media properties, that’s where!
But what if they had? What if somehow, this had been possible? What stories would it have been cool to see the Doctor interacting with?
In this series of posts, we’re going to make some suggestions. Thirteen suggestions, in fact…one for each Doctor. The idea is to find something for each that, even if there was no real way for to have happened, was at least remotely possible from a time-frame point of view. So, no meetings between the Third Doctor and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, for example.
We have covered the First Doctor, the Second, the Third , the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh, the Eighth Doctor, and the Ninth Doctor. While we’ve been to a lot of different franchises, they’ve all been live action TV shows. Now for the first time we’re going to switch that up a bit.
So, this world of complete fantasy fan-fiction is proud to present…
The Legion of Super-Heroes
If you are a reader of this blog (and by definition if you are taking in these words, you are…welcome to the club!) then you may know that I’m a big fan of DC Comics’ Legion of Super-Heroes–it’s my favorite comic book title and I’ve written about it extensively in the past (see here and here and here, for example). To summarize, the Legion was originally a spinoff of Superboy, consisting of teenaged super-heroes from the future who had been inspired by the Boy of Steel’s exploits in the 20th (now 21st) century.
However, for my Doctor Who crossovers, I want to limit myself to audio-visual media–basically, no books or comics (mainly because they can actually plausibly be done, and in some cases already have). So today we’re talking about Doctor Who meeting up with the animated Legion TV series which aired on Kids’ WB from 2006-2008, or right during David Tennant’s era as the Tenth Doctor. In fact, Tennant starred as the Doctor in the animated serial The Infinite Quest right in the midst of this, in 2007.
The animated Legion isn’t my favorite version of the team but the show was still pretty cool, and is a perfect place for the Doctor to show up. I got inspired with this idea while I was watching through the second season not long ago, and at the time I had all sorts of ideas at how my story could “fix” things that I wasn’t crazy about. But that was a while ago and now I can’t remember any of that, so I’m just going to have my story take place after the second season (which focused on a whole bunch of problems with Imperiex and Brainiac) is all over, so I don’t have to worry about any ongoing plot lines.
Specifically, today’s story will be a special two part episode of The Legion of Super-Heroes which we will imagine aired as a one-off special in the middle of 2009, sometime between Planet of the Dead and The Waters of Mars, giving viewers an extra opportunity to enjoy the Tenth Doctor.
Echo of Apocalypse – Part I
A Legion cruiser is on a mission in deep spacel. They are heading to the world Talok VIII, which is particularly off the beaten path, after a deep space science vessel detected a very concerning energy signal from the world. The team consists of Brainiac 5 (voice of Adam Wylie), Lightning Lad (voice of Andy Milder), Bouncing Boy (voice of Michael Cornacchia), Phantom Girl (voice of Heather Hogan), Matter-Eater Lad (voice of Alexander Polinsky) and Saturn Girl (voice of Kari Wahlgren). Lightning Lad is ostensibly in charge, but Brainiac 5 is the expert on strange energy signals and is the one reminding everyone why their mission is important.
Relations between the United Planets and the inhabitants of Talok VIII are dicey–the world deeply distrusts outsiders and anything that disrupts their traditional way of life (ie, much modern technology). No UP delegate has ever been successful at forming official diplomatic relations with the Talokians, which is seen as a shame since their world seems full of mysterious energy sources–some would say magical. But the signal that is detected potentially represents fundamental damage to the fabric of the universe, and could theoretically endanger not just Talok VIII but the whole region of space.
However, the heroes are bored–the journey is long and dull. And Matter-Eater Lad is unhappy with the food that was brought along and keeps eating the chairs on the bridge, and now there isn’t enough room for everyone to sit down.
Finally, the ship arrives and lands, and the heroes emerge. Brainiac 5 wants to trace the location of the energy signal immediately using a specially calibrated meter that he has developed, but the others insist they have to find their contact first, to avoid diplomatic problems. Phantom Girl (the daughter of a political leader) fronts this part of the mission, and leads the team toward the coordinates where they are meant to rendezvouz with their contact, a planetary chief named Cor Mallor.
Suddenly, the heroes are set upon by a small army of spear-wielding soldiers. Lightning Lad is about to respond with force, but Bouncing Boy and Saturn Girl stop him, reminding him that they aren’t there to start a fight. The team surrenders to the soldiers, and are then greeted by the Chief, Cor Mallor. He is very distrusting, in part because there has been other off-world activity since the energy signal began to emerge, and not everyone has attempted to respect their customs. Phantom Girl attempts to ensure him of their trustworthiness–they are only concerned about the potential danger that the signal presents, including to Talok VIII itself. She shows the local leader the meter that Brainiac 5 is carrying, which will allows them to finely track the source location of the signal, explaining that the device is necessary because otherwise the signal is so strong that it just seems to emanating from the whole planet.
Suddenly, the whole meeting is disrupted by a concussive blast, stunning the group. A group of raiders attack–made up of local tribal warriors and off-world mercenaries with advanced weaponry. The team is stunned and struggle to get their bearings, and Cor Mallor is badly wounded. Suddenly, another fighter enters the battle–a blue-skinned teenage girl who seems to be able to cast darkness. Her arrival turns the tide and the Legion are able to drive the attacking raiders off. Only too late does Brainiac 5 that they still succeeded in their mission: stealing the specially calibrated tracking device from his possession.
The teen girl introduces herself: she is Tasmia Mallor, the daughter of Cor Mallor, the wielder of the darkforce and the planetary champion of Talok VIII. She says the raiders were led by a known dissident on their world, named Tarkash, but that he obviously had some sort of off-world assistance.
Their main goal was obviously getting the tracking device, without which the Legion have no way of precisely tracking the signal’s origin. However, Brainiac 5 is aware of roughly where it is coming from when he was attempting to use the device earlier, and suggests that they start their search at a nearby mountain range. Tasmia orders that the soldiers look after the wounded, including her father, while she accompanies the Legion. Lightning Lad tries to object, but Phantom Girl realizes that this is pointless. They give Tasmia a spare flight ring in order to speed up the process.
The Legion and Tasmia arrive at the edge of the mountains, where a large cave system begins. They are wondering where to start looking when Saturn Girl suddenly detects the presence of a powerful alien intelligence nearby. Assuming that this is the being responsible for “upgrading” Tarkash, Tasmia prepares to attack. Following Saturn Girls’ guidance, they come across the alien…an apparently ordinary humanoid man with highly anachronistic clothing who is busy scanning the cave system. Tasmia surrounds him with a darkfield and throws him against some rocks, demanding to know what he is doing on their world.
In spite of the attack, the man charmingly introduces himself as the Doctor (voice of David Tennant), claiming to be just a traveler trying to help. He claims to have no knowledge of any raiders or recent attack, but suspects that they are looking for the same thing he is–the source of a pretty enormous energy signal that’s coming from somewhere in this cave system. The Doctor is using his own tracking device to locate the source, which Brainiac 5 grudgingly admits is more advanced than the one that he had made. The fact that the Doctor has his own device seems to be pretty strong evidence that the didn’t steal the Legion’s.
Saturn Girl attempts to read the Doctor’s mind to find out if he’s telling the truth but finds she can’t without his permission. When he allows her to, she realizes that he’s a time traveler who was drawn here not just by the signal but because he had discovered that this day was the beginning of aberrant timeline in which the whole galaxy fell to the might of a cruel dictator who came to be known as simply “the Sovereign”. Something that happens this day leads to the rise of this destructive monstrous being that nobody can oppose, and the Doctor is determined that that never happens. In his mind, Saturn Girl sees the Sovereign: a fair-skinned youth with power on the same level as Superman.
Following the Doctor’s readings, the team begin to explore the cave system, and soon find what they are looking for–a bizarre breach in the fabric of space-time through which the young man from the Doctor’s mind is trying to break through. He seems to be in terrible pain and caught in some sort of time loop whereby he is repeatedly attempting to push beyond the barrier into their own universe, but never able to break through. Saturn Girl is terrified of the man, having seen in the visions what he will do, and Lightning Lad and the Doctor agree that if they can prevent him from ever entering the universe they should be able to stop his rise to power.
The Doctor determines that an electrical blast delivered at precisely the right moment in the time loop and at the right intensity should collapse the portal completely. Lightning Lad prepares to fire at his signal.
Just then, the raiders led by Tarkash also find the breach, and attempt to claim it. The rest of the Legion and Tasmia Mallor attempt to hold them off, while the Doctor initiates his plan. However, at the last moment, Saturn Girl makes inadvertent mental contact with the Sovereign, and then suddenly cries out for Garth to stop. Too late, Lightning Lad fires but Saturn Girl gets in the way and takes part of the blast. As a result, rather than collapsing the breach, it is opened fully and the Sovereign falls onto the ground in the cave, nearly unconscious. The Legion is distracted by the turn of events, and Tarkash’s people are able to overcome them and recover the Sovereign and escape with him…
To Be Continued
Echo of Apocalypse – Part II
The departing enemies shoot at the ceiling of the caves, trapping the Doctor, the Legion and Tasmia Mallor within. The Legion recovers from their injuries and try to understand what has happened. Tasmia is incensed at Saturn Girl and her apparent betrayal of the team, but Lightning Lad and the others defend her, saying she must have had a reason for her actions–but she’s too injured to explain herself. All she can do is murmur, “Superman.” Just then, Bouncing Boy realises that Phantom Girl is missing.
Phantom Girl, we see, has managed to sneak aboard an enemy spaceship which has picked up Tarkash and his people, as well as the barely conscious Sovereign.
The group is greeted by a frail but bitter old man that Phantom Girl recognizes as Leland McCauley, a corrupt business tycoon who is at the end of his life. He has funded his own private mission to investigate the signal, allying himself with the greedy Tarkash in the process. McCauley salivates with glee at the sight of the wounded Sovereign from the breach, saying this is exactly what he needed. He knows who he is from his research–a time-lost traveler named Lar Gand.
As Tarkash and his people return to Talok VIII with new weapons from McCauley–their pay for their services–Phantom Girl manages to surreptitiously send a signal to Brainiac 5, alerting the Legion to their location.
Matter-Eater Lad manages to eat through the collapsed caves so the Legion can escape. They head to their ship but find themselves confronted again by Tarkash and his people, who have now seized control of the village. Tarkash destroys the Legion’s ship, apparently stranding them, but the Doctor reveals that he has a ship of their own. Tasmia Mallor and Lightning Lad hold off Tarkash’s soldiers while the rest of the Legion follows the Doctor to his ship, taking with them the injured Saturn Girl.
Back on McCauley’s ship, the businessman hooks up Lar Gand to a machine which will allow McCauley to transfer his own mind into his body, giving him a new lease on life. McCauley is in a hurry to do this–Lar Gand is beginning to recover and won’t be able to be contained much longer.
Arriving at the ship, they find that it is an improbably small blue box–the TARDIS–but which is much larger inside. Even Brainiac 5 is impressed. The inside of the TARDIS has a restorative effect on Saturn Girl, helping her to recover more quickly. Saturn Girl reveals that she stopped Lightning Lad’s attack because she mentally realized that Lar Gand was not the Sovereign of the Doctor’s nightmare future, in spite of looking like him. Lar Gand has a noble heart and no intentions at conquest–and he was trapped in the breach a thousand years ago by none other than Superman, and now needed their help. But why would Superman of all people trap him if he was not a threat? Saturn Girl isn’t sure but she knows that she is right.
The Doctor takes the TARDIS directly to Phantom Girl’s location, where they find that the process is already underway–McCauley’s mind is being transferred to Lar Gand’s body. McCauley’s is laughing gleefully as Lar Gand screams in agony. McCauley’s guards attack the Legion, but are held back by Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Matter-Eater Lad and Phantom Girl. Meanwhile, the Doctor confronts McCauley, whom he realizes is the actual “Sovereign” of the nightmare alternate future–the madman who will impose his will on the galaxy using the body and power of Lar Gand. The Doctor attempts to disrupts the transference process but finds that it is force-shielded and he is unable to interfere.
Saturn Girl meanwhile makes mental contact with Lar Gand, urging him to resist losing control to McCauley. In the process, she discovers his backstory–he was a traveler from a world similar to Krypton who lost his memory but met a young Superman (note: in this version of the Legion, Kal-El was never known as “Superboy”, but always “Superman”, even as a teenager), and believed for a short time to be his brother.
Taking on the name “Mon-El”, he enjoyed being a fellow protector with Superman for a while before he contracted a fatal dose of lead poisoning. Superman attempted to use Mon-El’s technology to send him back home where he could get help but instead he found himself trapped in a Stasis-Dimension. After a thousand years his body was finally detoxified and then has expended all his effort breaking back into the regular world.
With Saturn Girl’s help, Mon-El realizes the danger that his body poses to the galaxy, and says the only thing to do is to re-activate the lead poisoning in his body. Saturn Girl is reluctant but Mon-El says it’s the only way to stop him, at least with so little time.
Saturn Girl breaks the mental contact and is about to tell the Doctor what she has learned, but just then the transference is complete enough for McCauley-in-Mon-El’s body to rise up. He quickly overpowers the Legionnaires, and gleefully relishes in his power. Saturn Girl mentally tells the Doctor what she has learned, and the Doctor is able to use the equipment to re-activate Mon-El’s lead poisoning.
McCauley-in-Mon-El suddenly writhes in agony. He pleads with the Doctor to undo what he has done, but the Doctor refuses. He will do whatever is necessary to stop McCauley and prevent him from becoming the Sovereign of the dark future that he saw. McCauley threatens to destroy the ship and kill everyone, but the Doctor holds his ground. McCauley finally gives in, and returns to his own body, setting Mon-El free. McCauley himself is restrained and the Legion makes quick work of his guards, but Mon-El still suffers from the lead poisoning.
With a “Sorry, I’m so sorry,” the Doctor offers to return Mon-El to the Stasis-Dimension until he once again works through the lead poisoning (a process that could again take centuries)…until Brainiac 5 speaks up. During the battle, he managed to devote enough of his processing power to developing a cure for Mon-El’s lead poisoning. The Doctor admits that Brainy has done brilliant work. Mon-El is cured.
Back on Talok VIII, Lightning Lad and Tasmia Mallor have defeated Tarkash, and bonded in the process. Lightning Lad has even nicknamed her “Shadow Lass”. They are all reunited with the rest of the Legion. The team thanks the Doctor for their assistance, and offers membership into the Legion to both Mon-El and Tasmia Mallor. Tasmia is surprised but open to it, while Mon-El agrees to go back with the Legion.
The Doctor says his farewells and is about to leave when he suddenly realizes that his that his sonic screwdriver is missing–it turns out that Matter-Eater Lad has eaten it. Annoyed, the Doctor leaves, and the Legion departs for earth.
See you next time!