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Webcomic / Second Empire

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Second Empire is a CG webcomic made by Mechmaster with the Daleks from Doctor Who as Protagonists.

The story follows that of General Xenol of the First Conquest Army. Having ignored the orders of the Golden Emperor to establish an outpost at a swamp-world in favor of invading the more threatening planet of Slepkt IV, he is brought to Skaro for insubordination. At first the Golden Emperor congratulates Xenol for identifying the greater threat, only to chastise him for having failed to secure victory against the Slepktians.

Xenol then complains that the reason he hasn't been able to conquer Slepkt is because, while the genetic programming of his Dalek troopers produces excellent soldiers, they lack initiative and have been out-thought by the Slepktians. The Golden Emperor is having none of it and it soon becomes obvious that he cares more about having obedient drones than competent soldiers.

This gets Xenol to think with his top scientist Yttral - The Dalek Empire as it stands owes much of its power to other races, who create and maintain pretty much all Imperial technology. The Daleks slowly but steadily are decaying as their conquered peoples lose skilled laborers and as the genetic programming that they depend upon is steadily weakening the race by making them overdependent on their casings. Computers do much of their thinking and their leaders have slipped into complacency, content to obey their machines. Yttral himself is considered insane for actually performing research. Original Kaled devices are almost mythical Lost Technology.

But the straw that broke the camel's back? New Daleks created on Skaro are no longer being issued names. The computers now only issue alphanumeric strings of code.

Xenol, supremely pissed off at this corruption of the Dalek dream, decides it's time to act, and the idea for a Second Dalek Empire is born...

It can be found here.

Now with a character page

The prequel comic Trapped In Amber is available on the same site and tells the story of the battle for Weltro Major and Defence Post 27 Amber, first mentioned by Grexzol here.

This webcomic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism/Adaptational Nice Guy: The Daleks go through this significantly in comparison to how they are in canon. They might still be fanatical, murderous pseudo-Nazi cyborg pepperpots boiling over with Fantastic Racism, but they at the very least are willing to simply enslave certain species for the benefit of their greater empire instead of completely exterminating them. Additionally, more focus is given to how the Daleks have an actual culture and society that isn't only based around genocide and war, even having their own forms of art (like TV shows and architecture). In fact, the webcomic even ends with Xenol performing a genuine Heel–Face Turn and deciding to found The Federation instead of The Empire.
  • Adaptational Species Change: Of a sort. In the main Whoniverse, the Daleks have been shown to be squid-like mutants on multiple occasions. From the brief glimpses seen in the comic, these Daleks resemble green, shrivelled-up human babies
  • Afterlife Antechamber:Grexzol's entire platoon patiently waited here for its last member to die and join them so they could all march into glory together.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: What drives the plot and starts Xenol's rebellion. Xenol is still a Dalek, but he does actually care for the lives of his troops, and he's infuriated by the Emperor reducing newborn Daleks to simple serial numbers that are seen as expendable, and then sending them out into battle without the actual training that they need to keep from being obliterated. Part of Xenol's Character Development is him subverting this trope and evolving into more of a genuine hero, with him losing his Fantastic Racism towards all other races and even calling out to the Dalek Emperor how the Daleks' Forever War against the rest of the universe is not only hopeless, but will ultimately rob the Daleks themselves of their very "soul" through making them into functionally mindless automatons devoted solely to bloody (and futile) conquest. The webcomic even ends with Xenol, Yttral and their allies escaping to found a "Second Dalek Empire" that instead of being based around Fantastic Racism and genocide, is founded with the goals of mutual co-operation between other races, peace, prosperity, and scientific advancement.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • For some reason, SPIE agents seem to prefer being disguised as Sanitation Daleks.
    • Also Grexzol, a General Services Dalek who was once a soldier and hasn't lost any of his skills.
  • Alternate Universe: Can almost be read as the story of how the Daleks go from the fairly individualized race of the 1960's comics, content to have slave races, to the robotic-minded Absolute Xenophobes of the Third Doctor era onwards... but the series also features all kinds of Dalek designs and technologies not seen anywhere else, and has Xenol become the Emperor from Evil of the Daleks whereas in the "canonical" universe, that Emperor was the same individual as the Golden Emperor. Plus, there's little room in Emperor Xenol's biography for the events of Evil of the Daleks to happen to him at all.
  • Animated Adaptation: An animated version of the comic by Raven Productions on YouTube has been in production since 2008, with the first episode being released on November 30, 2009. Among the more interesting choices made with the adaptation include:
  • Apathetic Citizens: Nobody cares about the Skaro City attacks. Skaro's Largest Kwalorblmn takes precedence.
  • Are We There Yet?: Said by General Pturdd for the whole trip from Skaro to Ziragalen.
  • Armchair Military: General Vrung knows the ground pounders cannot hope to resist the incoming tide of Mechonoids, but chooses to leave them in position just to bleed the enemy a bit before the cavalry steps in.
  • A-Team Firing: First Empire Daleks. Grexzol demonstrates that experience is indeed valuable by obliterating an enemy squadron almost by himself by exploiting this.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Dalek casings can fly, which is awesome, but unless you have numbers on your side, you'll simply make yourself a bigger target, which is pointed out by a Second Empire instructor.
  • Badass Army:
    • The First and Fifth Conquest Armies.
    • invoked The Imperial Legion was once made from the most Badass Daleks in the Conquest Armies. Not anymore.
  • Badass Boast: Xenol's.
    Xenol: I am a Black Dalek! I am an avatar of battle! I WAS BORN TO EXTERMINATE!
  • Badass Decay: In-universe example: The Imperial Legion was once made from the hardiest, most experienced warriors from the Dalek armies. Now they're bred for the job and haven't fought a single battle in over one hundred years, and use Hollywood Tactics.
  • Band of Brothers: One of the big differences between the First and Second Empires - the latter are encouraged to form friendships and manifest a surprising range of emotion (considering we're talking about Daleks), while the former treat inferiors like trash and adhere to ruthless politicking.
  • Beam Spam: This.
  • BFG:
    • Special Weapons Daleks are here, so it's expected.
    • The defence guns of the Second Empire base certainly count.
    • As do the guns of Dalek Storm. And the rest of the experimental squadron.
    • The Baryon Fusion Generator
  • Berserk Button: Grexzol is driven to a berserk fury when an enemy hits his Diplomassee toy.
  • Blind Obedience: What the Golden Emperor wants. He gets it. Just not to him.
  • Bling of War: General of the Imperial Legion Pturdd. He's not really that much flashier than many of other Daleks, though he does have a very shiny casing with some gold marbling around the mid section, but his gun has an extra power cable that's obviously designed to mimic an aiguillette which combined with his attitude takes him into this trope.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Dalek Septacentum, a.k.a. Agent 700, is naturally fond of these.
    • Xenol later gets a good one.
    Xenol: Blind obedience is not a survival trait.
  • Brick Joke: The third Dalek of the recurring trio finally gets to drive the transporter when ramming the invading forces.
  • Butt-Monkey: Longbark keeps getting stuck testing Yttral's inventions, whether they be teleportation, sonic specs, or invisible paint.
  • Canon Welding: The webcomic is an eclectic mix of Doctor Who canon and the TV Century 21 Dalek comic strip, but also includes pretty much any Dalek-related media seen in the last fifty years. For example, the Golden Emperor comes from the comic strip, but his Imperial Guard are taken directly from the Davros Imperial Dalek faction from the late classic series period, while Xenol's Daleks have the colouring of the Renegade Faction from the same period and his Imperial Casing is the one from "The Evil of the Daleks". Both sides have capabilities taken from the latest series though like independent powered flight and many of the background characters have casings based on alternative designs from the various spin off books of the 1960's. The most obvious example though is the combination of Yarvelling, creator of the Dalek travel machines in TV Century 21 with Davros, creator of the Daleks in the TV series into a single character.
  • The Chessmaster: Xenol, as the page image depicts.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Grexzol and Yttral. The first keeps on rambling about his old campaigns, and the latter isn't all there. Both turn out to be way more dangerous than you'd think.
  • Colony Drop: How Xenol solves the problem of Slepkt.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: If you pay attention, you can tell a Dalek's job description, rank and what organisation they belong to, simply by looking at their casing.
  • Combat Medic: Combat Mechanics, at one point a group of them take on a squad of First Empire shock troops with nothing but their tools.
  • The Comically Serious: The comic mines quite a lot of its humor out of the galaxy's most feared Nazi trashcans saying incredibly silly/mundane things.
  • Cool Starship: The Battlesaucers. To fire at an another ship, they need to flip over to the side.
  • Crapsack World: invoked Not apparent at first, but remember that the Daleks pretty much curb-stomp anything in the Whoniverse if The Doctor isn't involved, and that the Time Lords were the only beings that could match the Daleks in the Time War, and even then they ended up losing (well, sort of). Now, we have yet to see the Doctor (or any Time Lord, in fact) in the comic. One can only guess what this means for the rest of the Galaxy.
    • Not exactly helping matters is that out of the few other alien races glimpsed in the webcomic, the vast majority of them are equally kill-happy and xenophobic towards all other races in the known galaxy.
    • That all being said, this is somewhat mitigated by how the Daleks in the webcomic have gone through a hefty case of Adaptational Heroism/Adaptational Nice Guy in comparison to their canonical selves, being shown to not always be solely Omnicidal Maniacs and instead being willing to enslave other races for their own benefits. In fact, the webcomic actually has a Surprisingly Happy Ending wherein Xenol and his followers successfully escape and have performed a collective Heel–Face Turn, to the point where they vow to reframe their "Second Empire" as a semi-peaceful alliance of alien races where all work together for their mutual benefit.
  • Crazy Enough to Work:
    • On Xenol's plan to destroy a Battlesaucer:
      Anzollo: And that is your cunning plan? To fly this gunship along the sensor shadow of a moving Battlesaucer in the middle of a void-charge attack and attach jury rigged mines to its hull without them noticing? The reason that sensor shadow tactic is not included in the Dalek Fleet Battle Manual is because it is impossible. That shadow is barely as wide as this ship. With respect General that is the most insane plan you have come up with since the one where we attack the heart of the Dalek Empire with nothing more that a gunship and thirty commandos.
      Xenol: Well, apart from the stated objections, what do you think of the plan?
      Anzollo: I like it. When do we start?
    • And then Anzollo does one better:
      Xenol: A moment ago you were trying to convince me it was impossible and now you are going to do it backwards?
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The initial attempt by the First Dalek Empire to exterminate Xenol's rebellion ends in this for the forces of Skaro. Xenol and his warriors wipe out an entire Imperial Legion and their support elements and transport ships almost to the last Dalek. The only survivors are a small group who escape into the local swamp of doom (implied to have been brutally killed there) and the space fleet escort saucers that stayed in orbit. Nobody knows what the hell happened.
    • Grexzol versus an entire enemy platoon. See, there's a reason seasoned veterans are worth so many times their weight in fresh recruits.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Anzollo, hopelessly outmatched as he is, deals enormous damage to the invaders before they can reach Ziragalen, giving Xenol time to complete his fortress' lockdown.
  • Decadent Court: Computers have made Daleks complacent and made their commanders think their casings and numbers are the single important issue in battle, rather than strategy and guile. They crave the Second Empire's advances... but not their leaders.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Pturrd proves how much of an idiot he is, not by walking, but rather, running into one of these.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: The raison d'etre of the Golden Emperor. Since Davros has expressed a desire not to return to hibernation, some... friction is to be expected.
  • Dirty Coward: Pturdd. When confronted with undeniable evidence he and his entire Legion have walked into a trap they're extremely unlikely to get out alive of, he turns into a spineless wimp. Then he forgets why using the flight mechanism is an Awesome, but Impractical idea.
  • Disappears into Light: Grexzol. He rejoins his old battalion and then they go into whatever consists of the afterlife for a Dalek.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: One of Old Wolma's many tares.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Section 5/14's Last Stand. Victorious in death indeed.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Yttral has a pretty impressive one.
  • Enemy Civil War: It's Renegade Daleks versus Imperial Daleks.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Xenol may be a Dalek, but even he's horrified when he learns that the new Daleks produce at Skaro aren't been issued names, just alphanumeric designations.
  • Evil Versus Evil: This is a comic about two Dalek empires decking each other out. What did you expect?
  • Explosive Overclocking: Anzollo destroys several dozen First Empire battleships by doing this on his own engines.
  • Expy:
    • Agent 700 is basically James Bond, complete with one-liners and weaponized vehicle, in a Dalek casing.
    • Pretty much every casing from the Terry Nation comics and Doctor Who series has a lookalike.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: One of the characters notes the head scientist got excellent prices for some stuff that happened to "fall off the back of a cargo ship".
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Skaro Political Intelligence and Espionage corp (SPIE)
    • Artificial Sub-inteligence System (ASS)
    • Faraway Extermination And Recon Dalek (FEARED)
    • INTernal SECurity Tropper (INTSECT). Bonus points for them being Yellow and Black and organised into Sting Teams.
  • Funny Background Event: A fair few, with Yttral being the usual suspect. Examples include during the briefing scene before the assault on Skaro, Yttral randomly takes the sanitation Dalek's floor polisher and continues to push it around the table for a significant ammount of time, and later while the Second Empire commanders are planning their defences, he seems to be gesturing at Grexnarl about how large one of the screens is totally at random.
  • General Failure:
    • Pturdd. Combined with The Neidermeyer, Dirty Coward and Too Dumb to Live for extra humiliation.
    • Xyml is implied to have been one of these. The fact that his soldiers cheer when he gets killed solidly cements the fact.
    • Hell, many of the First Empire generals. All of them live by the manual of war, and they have no idea of what to do when faced with an opponent that actually uses creativity or lateral thinking in their attacks.
  • Got Volunteered/Uriah Gambit: Grexzol gets volunteered for a suicide mission to destroy a Mechonoid artillery piece. Unsurprisingly for the commander, he blows it.
  • Gullible Lemmings: The citizens of the First Empire.
  • Guns Akimbo:
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Buraoun versus Grexnarl.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lots.
  • Human Resources: Implied to be the case with Skaro Green.
  • Humongous Mecha: Siege Lords, which are Humongous Mecha shaped like Daleks. Except that when we finally see them from behind, they turn out to be also shaped like Godzilla, complete with glowing spine plates..
  • I Know You Know I Know: Xenol gets very annoyed when he realizes he is no exception to the Daleks' collective weakness of not being used to this.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The very, veeery shiny Battleclaw.
    Grexnarl: I do not have time to deal with this, you have to return to the sub-levels immediately.
    (Yttral shows him the gleaming Battleclaw)
    Grxnarl: All right, you have convinced me. How long will it take to fit the upgrades?
  • Is It Something You Eat?: Diplomacy. Everyone thinks it's a sea creature. Subverted in that there is a Diplomassee.
  • It's Raining Daleks In the form of the 2nd Conquest Army's 183rd Spaceborne Rangers "The Squealing Shurgols". SPACEBORNE!
  • Kent Brockman News: Skaro's Largest Kwalorblmn.
  • Large Ham: Everyone. It's Daleks, what did you expect?
    Yttral: But first... kwalorblmn. It has been prophesied.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Grexzol. Unusual in that he's just that skilled to actually pull it off, hitting enemy Daleks far faster than they can respond and in ways they can barely imagine due to them being only a few days old and him being a seasoned veteran.
  • Lost Technology: Most of the original Kaled technology. Yttral lampshades that while the Daleks are more intelligent, the Kaleds were smarter. He wanted to examine old examples to reverse engineer them, but was denied at every opportunity, despite being the top Dalek scientist in centuries. He's understandably pissed. Add to that there is very little actual research being carried and that the Daleks are almost fully dependent on their slaves and on Davros to create and innovate new technology and you'll understand one of the major flaws of the First Empire.
  • Mad Oracle: Ytrral, although there are hints he's not quite as mad as he appears.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Grexzol can sort of understand and speak the Mechonoid language. However, his accent is so atrocious he has been ordered never to actually attempt to try to communicate with them. The one time he tries, he and his troops are immediately fired upon.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Let's see, we have Emperor Xenol (who gets called "The Dark Emperor" by the First Empire Daleks), Generals Grexnarl and Aychemex, First Captains Anzollo and Gnerk, Sub-commander Zlonozite, Golden Emperor Xanzathix, Yarvelling Davros, High Marshal Zolfian Kalkaderak... pretty much every name given is this trope. Hell, even the minor characters have pretty scary-sounding names! General Services Dalek Grexzol, anyone? Except for Pturdd.
  • The Neidermeyer: Pturdd. He seems stuck in War Is Glorious mode until he's shown, forcefully, he's not fit to lead a parade.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: A nameless Dalek in a super-strong powerloader threatens Dalek Septacentum with tearing him apart. Septacentum points out that the powerloader does not defend him against ion blasters.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The Daleks shorten the Mechonoid name to "Me'noid".
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Xenol thinks there's no reason for both sides not to coexist. The Golden Emperor replies that even in an infinite universe, there isn't enough space for two Dalek Empires.
  • Nuke 'em: The Second Empire Daleks dispense nukes like they're candy.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Yttral. While he's definitely more than a little out there he's not as much of a Cloudcuckoolander as he appears and as an interlude shows there's method to his madness.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Grexzol, with the Mechonoid language. He's under orders never to actually try to talk to the enemy. He disobeys, with obvious consequences.
  • Painting the Medium: Daleks speak in their usual angular font. Ancient Kaled uses a much fancier script. Other alien races have their own fonts (Mechanoids speak only in bar codes). Davros' text is a slimmer, unbolded version of the Daleks'.
  • Praetorian Guard: Complete with extra armor (that they can't seem to make proper use of).
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "Educate them."
  • Punny Name:
  • Ramming Always Works: How the Millenium Thargon disables one of the Siege Lords. Though it did result in another Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Much earlier, the Thargon had used the same maneouvre to destroy the last of the pursuing Red Comets.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Yttral delivers a fairly painful one to Gariin, who shrugs it off. Gariin then proceeds to fall for an extremely dumb trap, instantly vindicating Yttral.
  • Rousing Speech: Grexnarl gives one.
    This is just how the scene appears in Grexnarl's imagination
  • Running Gag: Nobody ever listens to Grexzol. This takes on a heartbreaking turn when it's the last thing that is said as Grexzol passes into the light with his former regiment.
    • In the same way, the Dalek hanging out with Those Two Guys keeps asking to drive the transporter. He gets his wish driving the thing to carry a load of explosives in a suicide run to demolish part of Ziragalen Fortress on top of First Empire troops.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: The Phonar operator is so damn good at his job he can identify the exact model of a coupling manipulator, just by the noise it makes when dropped—IN SPACE!, no less.
  • Scenery Porn: Mechmaster has some pretty impressive CG scenery.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Davros. He's left in a special chamber that slows the degeneration to his ravaged body, though now he's been successfully converted into a more mobile form, the issue of him not wanting to return to his can has already shown up...
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Used by Second Empire troops to blow up their dead units so no technology can be reverse-engineered.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • How many Shout-Outs can we cram into this Comic? Into this chapter? into this page? Into this panel? Into This. Single. Sentence?
    • Behold: a Dalek destroying another Dalek... with a katana!
  • The Siege: Half the webcomic is dedicated to the First Empire's attempt to retake Ziragalen with a brutal Zerg Rush.
    • Trapped in Amber has an even more lopsided assault by the Mechonoids on Defence Post 27 Amber - half a million Mechonoids versus 500 Daleks.
  • Super Prototype: Compared to the First Empire units, Second Empire travel machines are considerably more advanced. The First Empire desperately seeks the technology, but to compensate, it has access to larger armies, allowing it to think that there's a chance Zerg Rush is a valid tactic in this case.
  • Super-Soldier:
    • Xenol and Pturdd were part of Project Ancestral, an attempt to create a better Dalek commander by reactivating dormant Kaled genes. As a result, Xenol is charismatic, extremely competent leader, but is independent to the point of insubordination; and Pturdd is a merciless and bloodthirsty commander, but also a Jerkass with an ego the size of a planet and a General Failure.
    • Yttral is part of Project Y, an attempt to create a substitute for Davros. Of the ten Daleks to undergo conversion, only three survived; of those three, one became a vegetable and was Exterminated, the other was brilliant but couldn't forget the trauma of his creation and slowly went insane; Yttral, the third, is arguably one of the greatest Dalek minds, but is erratic and uncontrollable by Dalek standards (by ours, he just comes off as a very eccentric Absent-Minded Professor).
    • Dalek Storm's casing has the speed, range and firepower of a Combat Hoverbout.
      Yttral: It is also very shiny.
  • Take That!: In the Dalek History Vaults, the New Paradigm Daleks are in the section reserved for the Empire's "worst mistakes, preserved for all eternity".
  • Talk to the Fist: Xenol responds to the Imperial commander who tries to arrest him by unceremoniously blowing him up.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Apparently teleportation tastes like chicken to a Dalek. Bonus points awarded as they have no idea what chicken means, either.
  • Technobabble:
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Second Empire has successfully introduced Transmat technology. While it's impossible to teleport nonliving matter, Xenol has already noted its potential as a bioweapon distribution system.
  • Tempting Fate:
  • That's No Stormcloud: It's only a HUMONGOUS Dalek swarm.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • To get rid of the Slepktians, Emperor Xenol orders a bunch of HUGE asteroids to be diverted to impact the planet.
    • Atomic Minefield. 96% casualty rate in the enemy's most experienced scout battalion? Of course!
  • The Unpronounceable: Many of the Dalek names (Yttral, Xyml, Pturrd), but seriously, how the fuck do you pronounce "Kwalorblmn"?
  • They Called Me Mad!: Yttral.
    Yttral: I am the first Science Dalek to actually do research in over five hundred years and yet they call me mad!
  • Those Two Guys: Those Three Daleks — the three General Services Daleks who become minor recurring characters. One of them, Grexzol, won't stop talking; the second tries to ignore him ("I am still not listening!"); and the third keeps asking to drive the transporter.
  • Title Drop: Xenol's dialogue when he tries to convince Xyml to join him is full of Dalek episode titles. ("Genesis of the Daleks", "Remembrance of the Daleks", "The Parting of the Ways"...)
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kwalorblmn, for the entire Dalek species. Justified in that it's the only plant that can grow in the radioactive wasteland that is Skaro.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The word Thal is thrown around a lot. Made funnier by this flashback from Davros:
    High Marshal Zolfian: ...may their very name become a curse for ten times ten thousand years.
  • Uriah Gambit: In the Siege of Ziragalen, the first wave of attackers is almost entirely composed of older Daleks - those with true names and who haven't been entirely slaved to the traveling machines' computers. The Second Empire's soldiers briefly lament they don't have the time to explain the situation, feeling they could get many of them to switch sides... so they just settle for exterminating them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • We Have Become Complacent: This has already hit. The Second Empire seeks to return them to their Ax-Crazy, Omnicidal Maniac Galactic Conqueror (and most importantly, to their Magnificent Bastard) roots.
  • Wiper Start: Occurs when Agent 700 tries to start an advanced Hoverbout with a nonstandard control layout.
  • Zerg Rush: The First Empire's invasion. Holy crap.