Star-Lord, The Special Edition #1: "Spider-God"

Star-Lord, The Special Edition #1
 February, 1982

 Writer: Steve Moore
 Artist: Dave Gibbons
 Colorist: Ed Hannigan

 The planet looked good, but they all did from up here! It's when the Terran Survey Vessel Excelsior lands the trouble begins! Once they surveyed this particular planet... they could all go home. Louis B. Frederic is the commander at the helm, the survey planet is known as UX-4732, and this is the moment they make... "CONTACT!" It has been three years since the Excelsior left Earth... It has been two decades since Louis B. Frederic joined the Survey Corps... and now he has just about had enough of it! To the commander's trained nose, the surface of the planet smells like a compost heap! The commander and crew are soon interested about the little blue box which has arrived first! Its occupant claims to be a visitor who had just arrived two hours ago... The Fourth Doctor smiles at the Excelsior crew and tells them about a most fascinating village just over the rise... Frederic reminds the Doctor that he is in command and that they will do things by the book!

 To the Doctor's eyes, it's a lovely place. For Commander Frederic, it's much too quiet, and makes him feel uneasy! The men check their blasters as the Doctor insists that the villagers are quite harmless... Frederic insists that it will be his decision... once they have made official contact with the natives! The green-skinned villagers are not interested in what Frederic has to say, and the Doctor suggests that he try "Take me to your leader!" The natives are totally engrossed in gathering fruit and the crew appreciates their soft living!

 When a hunting party returns to the village, the Doctor finds it odd because he thought they were vegetarians! He, the commander, Randall, and Holmes follow them to a small valley near the tranquil village... The Doctor sees a slab of rock and comments that it looks like an altar! The emerald-skinned villages are currently engaged in a religious rite! It also appears that the villagers are standing on a... SPIDER-WEB and are about to sacrifice themselves to a giant spider...

 As the spider begins webbing up the villagers, Commander Frederic orders his men to open fire! "SHLUKK!" The Doctor wishes they hadn't done that...! In fact he is certain they shouldn't have! After narrowly avoiding being pelted with rocks, the men return to the Excelsior, and the commander informs them that operations will resume in the morning! Frederic is eager to do things his way, even though he and his men did destroy their god!

 The following morning finds the men returning to a deserted village! Randall takes the Doctor along in the scouter, where they both see giant spiders and enormous butterflies! The scouter comes across another village two miles south, complete with spiders... The Doctor and Sergeant Randall find some pink eggs... and one of them is hatching! The occupant is a native infant!

 The Doctor urges Sergeant Randall to return to the Excelsior quickly! He must speak with Commander Frederic at once! Frederic and the men are at the village that Randall spotted... and the scouter takes too many minutes in arriving at its destination in time! Commander Frederic orders his men to fry the spiders! The Doctor warnings go unheeded and a tragedy occurs! He tells Frederic the spiders never meant the natives any harm! They eat the animals left on the altars! As for the villagers, they are not human beings, and hatch from eggs!

 When the commander asks about the cocoons, the Doctor informs Frederic they contain larvae... caterpillars who cannot spin their own cocoons, so in exchange for the meat... the spiders do this for them! Without the spiders... they could not become the most beautiful life-form in the galaxy! Now Commander Louis B. Frederic sees for himself what emerges from the cocoon and takes flight to the air on multi-colored wings! Now he realizes what he has done and his blaster falls to the waiting sand from a suddenly-listless left hand.

 This story originally appeared in Doctor Who Monthly #52.

 Dave Gibbons illustrated the Fourth and Fifth Doctor's adventures before coming to the states and drawing Green Lantern and Watchmen for DC Comics.

 Number Six was very determined to escape the Village.

 The green-skinned natives resemble the children of the Green Giant.

 The Third Doctor regenerated into the Fourth Doctor as a result of his visit to the Planet of the Spiders.

 The Fifth Doctor wore celery as a sort of decorative vegetable.

 Sergeant Benton has met the Second, Third, and Fourth Doctors.

 The Fourth Doctor is sporting the John Nathan-Turner mandated question marks on his lapels.

 Colorist Ed Hannigan does a great job of rendering the butterflies that the larve villagers eventually become.

 Star-Lord The Special Edition #1 was edited by Jim Salicrup and Lance Tooks.

 This review is dedicated to the memory of Steve Moore.

 Steve Chung