Across his centuries of life and dozens of Doctor Who series, the Doctor has journeyed with hundreds of traveling companions and fought alongside a thousand different allies from every corner of time and space, but none of them can hold a candle to the sheer terror of Abslom Daak. Known as “The Dalek Killer,” Daak’s kill-count is second only to the Doctor’s, and he is one of the few individuals in the galaxy who the Daleks genuinely fear.
Doctor Who‘s very own ’90s-style anti-hero was originally created by Marvel Comics, who held the license for Doctor Who at the time. Although no longer published by Marvel today, Abslom Daak remains one of the Doctor’s most unique allies, and he is certainly his deadliest.
In October 1979, Marvel UK launched a new series titled Doctor Who Weekly. Though no longer published by Marvel, this title lives on to this day as Doctor Who Magazine and remains the franchise’s most enduring publication. One of the magazine’s most iconic features is the comic strip included in every issue, and Abslom Daak debuted in one of these strips on Feb. 6, 1980 in Doctor Who Weekly #17.
Created by Steve Moore and Steven Dillon, Daak was created as a parody of the grim and gritty anti-hero that was becoming increasingly common at the time and served as a rather exact antithesis to the Doctor’s non-violent methods. Daak starred in the comic strips of several issues of Doctor Who Weekly which were eventually collected and published as a more linear story in 1990’s graphic novel, Abslom Daak – Dalek Killer.
In these stories, Daak was a brutal criminal who had been convicted of “23 charges of murder, pillage, piracy, massacre and other crimes too horrible to bring to the public attention,” and was offered the chance to choose his punishment: death by vaporization or exile as a Dalek Killer. He chose the latter and was sent to a minor world in the middle of the Dalek Empire where, though he was not expected to survive more than two hours, Daak eventually destroyed every single Dalek and fell in love with its ruler, Princess Taiyin.
Unfortunately, Daak’s chance at happiness was ruined when a lone Dalek survivor he failed to find and destroy managed to shoot and kill his newfound love. Torn to the heart, Daak vowed to spend the rest of his life killing every single Dalek in existence. He proved so successful in achieving this goal that Daleks soon began fleeing away in terror at the mere sight of him, and his legend was born.
Abslom Daak would eventually meet the Seventh Doctor while attempting to destroy a Dalek mining station, and later tracked down the Time Lord again in his Eleventh incarnation in an effort to force the Doctor to send him back into the Time War so he could kill Daleks to his heart’s content for the rest of eternity. After several attempts and a smattering of other adventures, the Eleventh Doctor successfully flings Daak into the Time War where he remains to this day.
Although he’s fairly obscure within the larger Doctor Who fandom, Abslom Daak has become a sort of cult-favorite character. Because of this persistent popularity, Daak became the first Doctor Who comic book character to be officially referenced in an episode of the television series when a drawn image of the Dalek Killer appeared in a slideshow of intergalactic criminals during Season 8’s fifth episode, “Time Heist.” This reference was a victory for the character’s fans because it officially established Daak’s canon status, a luxury not afforded to many of the franchise’s comic book characters.
Though his appearances have been few and far between and his story is seemingly finished, Abslom Daak is without a doubt one of the Doctor’s deadliest allies, and his pure love of ending Dalek lives everywhere has entrenched him within the hearts of fans all over the world.
The Doctor might not be the most action-oriented hero, but the Dalek Killer, Abslom Daak, is one of the deadliest heroes of the Doctor Who universe.