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In the Comics - the Fourth Doctor
   The Fourth Doctor Contemporary Strips

Last update: March 2013.

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    Doctor Who Weekly

 THE IRON LEGION

Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4
Issue 5
Issue 6
Issue 7
Issue 8
Doctor Who Summer Special 1980
Issue 57
It was a typical night in the Fourth Doctor's local pub...

SCRIPT: Pat Mills and John Wagner (actually written by Pat Mills)
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Dez Skinn

ISSUES: 1 - 8
COVER DATES: 17 October 1979 - 5 December 1979
ON TV: City of Death - Nightmare of Eden (Season 17)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who Summer Special 1980, Marvel Premiere, Issues 57 and 58 (December 1980 - February 1981, in colour), Doctor Who Summer Special 1985 (in  colour), The Iron Legion, Panini ‘graphic novel’, published 2004, Doctor Who Classics, IDW, Issues 1 and 2, December 2007 - January 2008, then in trade paperback by IDW, July  2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Landing in an English village (see here for the name of the village) to stock up on provisions, the Doctor finds the place under attack from robotic legionnaires. The shopkeeper is killed, but the Doctor’s two hearts confuse the robots, allowing him to remove and examine its  head. General Ironicus, meanwhile, in communion with the gods, asks them for the war that has raged for millennia to continue until the end of time. The dimension duct is ready to transport the legionnaires and their captured slaves back home when the Doctor appears. He races for the TARDIS but the legionnaires open fire and the Doctor is hit.

The Doctor made it to the console before the blast, but the TARDIS is now caught in a dimensional disturbance. Meanwhile, the Rome Hyp-Arena is scene to the triumphant televised return of General Ironicus, but the entrance of the child Emperor Caesar Adolphus and his mother is upstaged by the materialisation of the TARDIS. The Doctor is promptly arrested as he realises that he has landed on an alternative Earth where Rome never fell. Ironicus demands the TARDIS’s secrets. When he refuses, he is cast into the arena to face the Ecto-Slime.

The punchline wasn't the funniest the Doctor had ever delivered, but a little gentle persuasion with a  laser soon had Ironicus chuckling appreciatively...

The Doctor battles the Ecto-Slime, but finally evades death by telling it an extremely amusing joke in an alien tongue, as the Ecto-Slime have a finely developed sense of humour. Ironicus demands the Doctor be brought to him where he condemns him to become a slave in the Imperial air galley. Here the Doctor meets a slave named Morris, who has repeatedly attempted escape. However, as the royal family pass along the gangway, the Doctor glimpses the true nature of the Caesar’s mother and realises the horrifying secret behind the galactic Roman empire.

The Doctor and Morris escape into the Temple of the Gods, really an alien spaceship, where they evade the Legionnaires and meet Vesuvius, the oldest robot in Rome. Vesuvius leads them to the heart of the temple where

Ironicus is talking to the gods, who the Doctor recognises as the Malevilus, most terrible of alien races.

As the Malevilus devour the human prisoners seized from the village, the Doctor explains that they feed off death and are only five in number - Babiyon, Abiss, Epok, Nekros, and Magog, the foulest of all. Vesuvius mentions that he knows the secret of the gods, but they are discovered by one of Ironicus’ legionnaires before the robot can reveal anything further. Morris turns the tables and he, the Doctor and Vesuvius escape in an aircar, but are pursued by the Malevilus. They crash through an observation window but are caught between the Malevilus inside and a robot flying squad outside.

With the Malevilus unwilling to show their true nature to Rome, the Doctor does some nifty flying while Morris shoots down the flying squad. However, a damaged legionnaire shoots down the aircar which crashes close to the catacombs. Here Morris, mortally wounded in the crash, dies.In the catacombs, the Doctor discovers the Bestiarus, genetically engineered deactivated because they destroyed everything. Vesuvius warns him not to activate them, but the Doctor believes they are their only weapon against the Malevilus.

The Doctor activates the Bestiarus for twenty-four hours, programming them to attack strategic points in Rome, then he and Vesuvius go to the Circus Maximus to confront Ironicus and Magog, who is disguised as the Caesar’s mother. Furious that the Doctor has made a mockery of Ironicus’ security, Magog destroys the

Morris bites the dust. Poor fella.

General before transforming into her natural form and attacking the Doctor.

Like the Doctor's throat, for example...

As the Bestiarus attack and revolution spreads, Magog mentally tortures the Doctor. He seizes a TV camera and broadcasts images of Magog throughout the Empire, urging the citizens to turn against the abomination at the heart of Rome. But Magog is still not beaten and drags the Doctor inside his TARDIS, intending to use it to conquer all creation. However, the Doctor tricks her into activating a conduit to an empty dimension and she is sucked inside. The other Malevilus attempt to blast off in their ship which explodes. With Vesuvius installed as the new Emperor, the Doctor recommends Caesar Adolphus be sent to a strict boarding school on Cryos Four before departing himself for a holiday in Benidorm.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Mentioning the Doctor’s two hearts (the first reference to them in the comic strip), Abominable Snowmen, Autons, Axos, Daemons, Daleks and dinosaurs cleverly tells us that Doctor Who Weekly knows its Doctor Who far better than TV Comic ever did. That it then goes on to tell a strong story with great confidence and panache capturing some of the magic of the television series is a Doctor Who comic strip revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since the early days of Countdown. The Iron Legion, with its cast of memorable characters, meaty villains and beautiful and highly detailed artwork, is still glorious, fresh and exciting over thirty years later and it is little surprise that it has been celebrated with so many reprints throughout that time. There is one small flaw, though, as much is made of Vesuvius knowing the secret of the Malevilus, which is then never revealed. Some interesting facts? Oh, okay then! In the first instalment, the Doctor tells us he hasn’t eaten since he took off from Zaggar-Six. The year is given as 3021 (MMMXXI). Kronkburgers get a mention, which are later referenced in Russell T. Davies’ television episode The Long Game.
 

Issue 58
Doctor Who Summer Special 1985
The Iron Legion Graphic Novel
Issue 1 and trade paperback Volume 1
Issue 1 Retail Incentive Cover
Issue 2
Issue 2 Retail Incentive Cover
Doctor Who Classics Omnibus
Dave Gibbons Collection
    TARDIS Tuner Advertising Feature

 DOCTOR WHO AND THE TURGIDS

I bet Romana was glad to say goodbye to the Turgids. Sounds like a laxative...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown

This ten panel advertising strip appeared regularly in Doctor Who Weekly (and presumably other publications) through the first few months of the publication. It was actually to advertise ’the amazing Dr Who radio for all space kids’, which boasts such super features as a ‘mind blowing volume control’, ‘a built in radio receiver’ and a ‘radio tuner for crystal clear reception’. Oh, and a ‘time warp bleeper control switch’.

Despite such clever advertising, I can’t ever remember pestering my parents for a TARDIS Tuner...

    Doctor Who Annual 1980

 TERROR ON XABOI

Doctor Who Annual 1980

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton

A cosmic storm damages the TARDIS controls and forces the Doctor to land the ship on the planet Xaboi for repairs. With heavy snowfall leaving K9 stranded in the ship, the Doctor and Romana go to find help. They venture into a nearby cavern, whereupon they discover the remains of a group of locals. Uneasy, they continue, but are chased by a horrific creature further into the cave. There they discover a tribe who have yet to develop the power of speech but despite this the Doctor persuades one of them to return with them past the now sleeping beast back to the TARDIS in order to help, but the primitive panics, attacks the beast and is killed. The Doctor hurriedly returns to the ship to collect a stun-sensor and goes to deal with the beast. The primitives are in danger but the gun, in stun mode, has no effect. He is forced to set the gun to kill the beast in order to save the primitives, before returning to the TARDIS, pondering that he might one day return to see if they have evolved.

The Doctor's stun sensor looks a little bit like the tracer...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Although both the Doctor and Romana are recognisable (unusual for a companion in the annuals), the artwork is very scratchy and dense and sometimes quite hard to fathom. The story is slight and the Doctor’s desire to only stun the creature rather than kill it is admirable but really not much help for the indigenous population. This strip is really a mild curiosity and nothing more.
 

 THE WEAPON

The Doctor appears to have conjunctivitis but soldiers on regardless...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton

The TARDIS lands in what the Doctor believes to be 20th Century England. As he goes to investigate, Romana is captured by a white knight and his men, but a Black Knight and his warriors attack with a laser weapon that kills the White Knight. The Doctor meanwhile has found a castle and discovers he and his companions are not in the time he thought they were. Believed to be an intruder, he is held at lance-point, but before he has time to explain who he is, the remaining warriors of the White Knight return with Romana and K-9. The Doctor explains that the weapon is an intervention of the forces of evil, and the balance with good must be restored. The Black Knight and his warriors soon attack but their leader is blasted by K9. As a battle erupts, the Doctor and his friends escape back to the TARDIS despite Romana’s protestations. The Doctor says their job was only to restore balance between the two opposing forces and that evil will ultimately be defeated by itself.

Doctor Who Annual 1980

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Somewhat obtuse in its telling and slightly mystical and at odds with the ethos of Doctor Who in its resolution, this strip does at least boast moderately attractive artwork and the comic strip debut of K9. The battle between black and white knights echoes the idea of the black and white guardians and the whole Key to Time idea, but I’m quite sure it was never intentional. What does become apparent in the annuals at this time is that they are being created by people with little or no understanding of either the grammar or potential of comic strip storytelling.
 

    Doctor Who Weekly

 CITY OF THE DAMNED

They call fish brain food, This is what happens if you eat too much fish...

SCRIPT: John Wagner and Pat Mills (actually written by John Wagner)
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Dez Skinn

ISSUES: 9 - 16
COVER DATES: 12 December 1979 - 30 January 1980
ON TV: Nightmare of Eden - The Horns of Nimon (Season 17)
REPRINTS: Marvel Premiere, Issues 59 and 60 (April 1981 - June 1981, in colour, but rather prudishly renamed City of the Cursed), The Iron Legion, Panini ‘graphic novel’, published 2004, Doctor Who Classics, IDW, Issues 2 and 3, February 2008 - March 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, July 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

The TARDIS lands in the City where all emotion is outlawed. Those with feelings are murdered and the population rids itself of emotions by plugging themselves into harmony booths. Attempting to prevent a woman from neutralising her emotions, the Doctor is quickly captured by a Moderation Squad. He is sentenced to death.

Matter transmitted to the Watchtower where the Moderators watch over the city of Zombos, the Doctor is searched and presented to the Moderator General who explains that the inhabitants of the planet Zom used to be a violent criminal race, until the ruling Brains Trust realised that all crime was caused by emotion, which they outlawed, installing the citizens with cranial sockets so that the Harmonisers can erase all feelings. The Doctor is  outraged, but taken to be treated with the Ultra-Harmoniser, which wipes the brain clean. However, as the Moderators prepare him for the machine, the building is attacked by members of the Zom Emotional People’s Organisation, a group of rebels intent on liberating the prisoners.

The rebels rescue the Doctor. Getting out of the city proves more of a challenge, but the Doctor and his new friends manage it. Meanwhile, in Zombos, the Brains Trust sense the danger posed by the Doctor and order his destruction.

Reaching out with their minds, the Brains Trust locate the rebel base. Moderators are dispatched to destroy it. The Doctor reaches the rebel base where he learns that each of the rebels practices a single emotion, keeping it alive for the time when they overthrow the Brains Trust. Big Hate, however, wants to attack the city with millions of ravenous   carrion-eating bugs called Barabara. As the Moderators attack, Big Hate releases the

Mandy's pet Barabara had a nasty habit of nipping...
Issue 59
Issue 60
The Iron Legion Graphic Novel

Barabara but the Doctor is in their path.

The Barabara attack the Moderators but those that bite the Doctor and the ZEPO rebels die. The Doctor realises that adrenalin is deadly to them, but that won’t save the emotionless inhabitants of Zombos. They have to get to the city before the blood-bugs do.

Aboard a large harvesting machine, the Doctor and the rebels overtake the Barabara, but are attacked by Moderators from Zombos. The ZEPO Angry brigade take care of the Moderators, but the attack has lost the Doctor his advantage - the Barabara enter the city and begin devouring the population.

Realising that only emotions can save the population of Zombos, the Doctor teleports into the Watchtower to confront the Brains Trust. He explains the situation and the Brains Trust reluctantly agree to give emotion back to the population. However, the Moderator General sees their decision as treason and kills them all.

Impersonating the Moderator General, the Doctor gives orders for all Moderators to fight the Barabara in the streets while he adjusts the Harmony central computer to give rather than erase emotion. He forces the Moderator General to order all citizens to their booths where the return of emotion saves them. The surviving Barabara turn on the Moderators. Zombos is free. Before departing, the Doctor leaves the inhabitants a copy of his e-wave patterns, thus allowing them all to experience a full range of emotions, with the side effect that they all dress like him too.

A panel from the gorgeously coloured IDW version

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
It isn’t quite as good as The Iron Legion, feeling a little less mature, and the characters are unfortunately far less memorable, despite being so extreme, but City of the Damned is still a fine strip telling a logical story with much excitement along the way. It also manages a fair few striking images, such as the appearance of the Brains Trust, the opening full-page illustration showing the interior of the city, and lots of lovingly rendered pictures of people being eaten alive.
 

Issue 9Issue 10
Issue 11Issue 12
Issue 13Issue 14
Issue 15Issue 16
Issue 2Issue 2 Retail Incentive Cover
Issue 3Issue 3 Retail Incentive Cover
IDW Trade paperback Volume 1Dave Gibbons Collection

 TIMESLIP

Issue 17Issue 18

SCRIPT: Dez Skinn (plot), Paul Neary (script)
ART: Paul Neary
EDITOR: Dez Skinn

ISSUES: 17 - 18
COVER DATES: 6 February 1980 - 13 February 1980
REPRINTS: Summer Special 1981, in colour in Doctor Who US, Issue 18, March 1986, in colour in Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issue 27, December 1994, Panini’s The Tides of Time ‘graphic novel’, published May 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW Publishing, Issue 4, March 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, July 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010.

The Tides of Time
Hell, I wish that would happen here...
Issue 4
Summer Special 1981Issue 18
Issue 4 Alt Retro Cover
Issue 27

In deep space, the TARDIS becomes trapped inside a huge amoeba that feeds it time itself. At first it slows time, but then causes it to run backwards. K9 is disassembled and the Doctor grows younger until he is forced back through his previous incarnations.

Feeding on the energy, the amoeba grows stronger. Now in his first incarnation, the Doctor is compelled to deactivate the TARDIS, just as he once activated it, but, having absorbed so much time energy so quickly the amoeba experiences indigestion. The creature fights to keep time in reverse, but it is fighting a losing battle that weakens and diminishes it until it ceases to exist. The Doctor activates the TARDIS once more and time finally moves forward and the Doctor passes through all his previous incarnations until he reaches his fourth once more.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
As a story this is rather thin stuff, particularly as the Doctor does nothing at all to save the day. However, the first appearance of K9 in the weekly strip and mentions of Romana and the Randomiser, together with the appearance of the three previous Doctors, shows that story is really taking a back seat to celebrating the history of Doctor Who and affirming that the Marvel comic strip adheres to series continuity. K9, for example, dismantles when the TARDIS reaches the year 1977, which in fictional terms makes no sense, but in TV terms was the year of his debut. This isn’t a strip I particularly like - it lacks the wit and imagination of the previous two stories - and the artwork is all very obviously photo-referenced, but as a little light filler between the epics on either side of it, it’s diverting enough. It’s interesting to note that, up to this point, the TARDIS has always materialised silently, but here, as a

IDW Trade paperback Volume 1

prototype TARDIS sound effect, we have ‘Vr-aawp!’ which isn’t quite what we’re all used to but is heading along the right lines. We’ll have to wait a little longer for a good old ‘Vworp vworp!’
 

The Doctor does a spot of dog training...

IMAGINARY FRIENDS - K9
Reduced to a pool of molten metal in his first strip appearance, beheaded by the Wrarth Warriors in his second appearance and thereafter spending the whole adventure aboard the TARDIS pretending to be a cat, the as-yet unbroadcast mishaps that befell K9 in Season 18 seem to have their origin in the comic strip. In The Dogs of Doom, K9 functions mainly as a mobile arsenal, blasting Werelox and Daleks alike (and even destroying a Dalek, which must be one of his finest moments) and he is absent for most of The Time Witch, being trapped on the other side of the time split. He’s back to being a gun again in Dragon’s Claw, shooting down various monks, Sontarans and parts of the monastery, though he does have a fine moment towards the end when the Doctor basically uses him like a glorified tape recorder to play back the abbot’s voice and deactivate the killer monks. K9’s last appearance is in War of the Words, where he gets to deliver a bomb to an empty storage facility. He disappears from the strip as silently as he arrived.

 STAR BEAST

Issue 19Oooh, what a cutie...
Issue 20

SCRIPT: Pat Mills and John Wagner (actually written by Pat Mills)
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUES: 19 - 26
COVER DATES: 20 February 1980 - 9 April 1980
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issues 1 and 2, October - November 1984 , Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issues 25 - 26, October - November 1994, Panini’s The Iron Legion ‘graphic novel’, published 2004, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issues 4 - 5, March - April 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

An alien spaceship plummets down onto Blackcastle in the North of England, crashing in the steel works. Next day, on their way to school, Sharon and Fudge discover the wounded Meep hiding in a shed. Fudge is all for selling it to the local pet shop, but Sharon says it is their secret. Meanwhile, in space, the Wrarth Warriors are closing in to kill the Meep when the TARDIS materialises aboard. The Wrarth are immediately hostile, decapitating K9 and seizing the Doctor.

The Doctor passes out and the Wrarth Warriors operate on him, implanting a bomb inside his stomach. Sharon and Fudge, meanwhile, hide the Meep at Fudge’s house in his bedroom before going off to search for the crashed spaceship. The Doctor recovers consciousness and escapes aboard the TARDIS, just as the Wrarth Warriors planned. Picking up a news broadcast from Earth, the Doctor realises a spaceship has crashed there and sets the coordinates. However, he does not realise he has Wrarth Warriors stowed away on board who plan to detonate the bomb in his stomach as soon as he makes contact with the Meep.

Hastily and ineffectually repairing K9, the Doctor, plagued by a stomach ache, lands the TARDIS at Blackcastle steel mills then steps out to investigate. Sharon and Fudge are also investigating. Sharon is seized by the Wrarth, but the Doctor uses the ship’s defences to save her before all three flee back to Fudge’s house. The Meep has fully recovered, but the Doctor suddenly works out why they were allowed to escape and the significance of his stomach ache: he has been turned into a living bomb.

Wrapping his stomach in lead from the roof, the Doctor blocks the detonation signal. The Wrarth plan to wait until dark before moving in for the kill. The Meep explains that the Wrarth Warriors came to his planet and tortured and killed his people. Now he is the last of his kind and the Warriors plan to destroy him too. As the Wrarth move in, the Doctor constructs a fizgig which projects ultra-white light that drives back the light-sensitive Wrarth. However, the Meep shows his true colours when he kills one of the Warriors in cold blood. The Wrarth swear revenge and the Doctor, the duplicitous Meep, Sharon and Fudge are forced to flee.

Issue 21
Issue 22
Issue 23
Going private had seemed such a good idea...
Issue 24

The Doctor, Meep, and Sharon escape on a bus, but the Doctor realises he must go back to help Fudge and Mrs Higgins. There he gains the confidence of the Wrarth Warriors, Sergeant Zogroth and Constable Zreeg, who explain that the Meeps were originally a peaceful race who mutated into cruel beasts intent on conquest when their world strayed into the influence of a black sun. Eventually the Star Council ordered the use of biological constructs known as Wrarth Warriors to end the peril. Only the Meep leader escaped, and now, the Doctor realises, it has Sharon in its grasp.

The Meep and Sharon gain access to the crashed spaceship, and the Meep uses the strange powers of the ship’s energy source to bring UNIT soldiers and local workers under its control. When the Doctor, Zogroth and Zreeg enter the mill, they see the workers rebuilding Beep the Meep’s ship, and Sharon, controlled, at the Meep’s side. However, when the Doctor attempts to rescue her, she lunges at him, and both of them plunge from a gantry.

Landing without harm, Sharon is shaken from the Meep’s control, but is distraught to learn that Beep the Meep is evil. The Doctor saves her from Beep’s attempt to shoot her and confronts the furry dictator. The Meep plans to star jump from Earth aboard its repaired ship, which will destroy the planet. The Doctor and Sharon escape and attempt to sabotage the ship, but are caught again. Beep activates his ship’s black sun drive and Blackcastle is sucked into a black hole with the Doctor at the epicentre.

The Wrarth rescue the Doctor who reveals that he reduced the power of the Meep’s star drive, giving him just enough energy to leave Earth, saving the planet but destroying the steel mill. The Doctor gets all the humans aboard the TARDIS and takes them home,

Issue 25
Issue 26

then the Wrarth board the Meep’s ship and arrest the creature. With the gratitude of the Wrarth, the Doctor takes Sharon aboard the TARDIS, intent on getting her home.

Created from five species, apparently...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
And we’re back in classic strip territory with the rich texturing and sparkling characterisation of Pat Mills. Beep the Meep and the Wrarth Warriors are brilliant creations, Sharon less so. The plot, based on the age-old idea of appearances being deceptive is at its best in its early instalments and loses its momentum a little once the Meep’s true nature has been revealed, and the ending is perhaps a little easy and lacking in danger, but this is still a good, solid strip with plenty of excitement and confident and dynamic artwork, and the idea of the Doctor having a bomb implanted inside him was surely inspiration for the sequence with Captain Jack in Torchwood: Children of Earth. Angela Rippon, contemporary newsreader, makes a couple of cameo appearances. We also get references to UNIT, Cybermen, the Black Guardian and the randomiser. Beep the Meep would return to the Doctor Who comic strip for Star Beast II and TV Action! whilst the Wrarth Warriors put in brief cameos in the first of these plus Party Animals and  A Life of Matter and Death.
 

Sharon failed her first companion audition though she never could work out why...

IMAGINARY FRIENDS - SHARON
Sharon is often heralded as the first black companion in any medium, but I think this honour goes to Nick Willard way back in 1973’s The Zeron Invasion (see here) who was effectively the Doctor’s companion for that whole story. Anyway, Sharon came from Blackcastle somewhere in the North of England. Of school-going age, she was best friends with science fiction fan Fudge Higgins. Caring, compassionate and clearly brighter than her friend, she sheltered the Meep after finding the creature wounded in a shed. We don’t really find out anything more of significance about Sharon, though we do learn she has a father in The Dogs of Doom, where she also wishes she could have an exciting job like Babe Roth, although how exciting haulage actually is is a matter of opinion. It is in this story that she stows away on a suicide run, which isn’t the brightest thing to do. In The Time Witch, Sharon first gets a new hairstyle and then, at the story’s conclusion, ages four years into a typically Gibbons-style shapely woman, which effectively means she can never return to Blackcastle (at least not without lots of awkward questions) though the Doctor does keep on trying to take her back there. She accompanies the Doctor to Ancient China, where she largely advocates running away, then to Varan Tak’s ship in the asteroid belt where she contributes nothing at all to the action, but it is on Uniceptor IV where she meets Vernor Allen, a dreamer with a Slinth called Miki (see below if you need further explanation of that) who is also, coincidentally, the first hunky black guy she has met on her travels. Perhaps inevitably Sharon decides to settle down with him, which presumably leaves a distraught father in Blackcastle never seeing his daughter again and spending the rest of his life wondering what happened to her. Sharon Allen (the Doctor mentions her wedding in Star Beast II, and we assume it’s to Vernor) makes a cameo appearance in the Eighth Doctor strip A Life of Matter and Death.

Issue 25
Issue 26
Issue 1
Issue 2
The Iron Legion Graphic Novel
Issue 4 & Volume 2 cover
Issue 4 Retail Incentive Cover
Issue 5
Issue 5 Retail Incentive Cover
Dave Gibbons Collection

 THE DOGS OF DOOM

Issue 27Issue 28
Issue 29Issue 30
Issue 31Issue 32
Issue 33Issue 34

SCRIPT: John Wagner and Pat Mills(actually written by John Wagner)
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUES: 27 - 34
COVER DATES: 16 April 1980 - 5 June 1980
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issues 3 and 4, December 1984 - January 1985, Panini’s The Iron Legion ‘graphic novel’, published 2004, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issues 6 - 7, March 2008 - April 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Davey Crockett Base in the New Earth System is attacked by Werelox. The few human survivors run for the protective dome of the Alamo, but once there,

The Doctor was always like this after drinking gin...

those who have been scratched transform into Werelox. Meanwhile, Joe Bean aboard his haulage ship the ‘Spacehog’ is having trouble making radio contact with New Earth when the TARDIS lands on the bridge. The Doctor, K9 and Sharon, who were hoping for Blackcastle, are confronted by Joe and co-pilot Babe Roth who tell them the TARDIS is interfering with radio transmissions. However, it seems more likely the source of the interference is coming from a huge spaceship heading straight towards them.

Held in tractor beams, the ‘Spacehog’ is boarded by Werelox. While Sharon and Babe Roth head to the engine room, the Doctor releases Joe’s cargo into space and the ship speeds away, but some Werelox have already got inside. K9 takes care of a couple of them and Joe another, but both are immobilised and the Doctor surrounded by Werelox.

The Werelok leader is called Brill, and the Doctor defeats him with a bag of marbles before K9 stuns him. Two Werelok soldiers have gone down to the engine room, but by the time the Doctor arrives, Babe Roth has dealt with them. Three Werelox survive and the Doctor studies them in the med-bay, noting venom ducts in their claws. Sharon talks to Babe Roth about her life as the ‘Spacehog’ continues on to New Earth. However, when Sharon goes to tell the Doctor they are about to arrive, the Doctor transforms into a Werelox!

Unable to control himself, the Doctor boards the TARDIS with K9 and dematerialises into limbo. There he struggles to find an antidote, which he finally does, rematerialising back aboard the ‘Spacehog’ just ten minutes after leaving. On New Earth, he meets President Wilson K. Wilson and explains that he suspects they have yet to meet the real enemy overrunning the colonies. Hypnotising Brill, the Doctor learns that the Werelox’s masters are the Daleks.

The Daleks are back in action!

The Daleks intend to exterminate all life in the New Earth system and purify it with fire. When Queen Victoria colony is obliterated, the Doctor decides he must infiltrate the Dalek ship. He takes K9 and Brill with him, the latter now hypnotised and believing himself on the Doctor’s side. However, when they materialise aboard the Dalek ship, they are immediately discovered and forced to run for their lives.

Running for their lives while K9 holds back the Daleks and the Werelox, the Doctor and Brill discover an alien zoo aboard the Dalek ship, but are soon cornered by Daleks. Joe Bean and Babe Roth, meanwhile, have packed the ‘Spacehog’ with high explosives and intend to crash through the Dalek defences and ram the ship. The Daleks explain that they intend to use the

Well, three episodes of it, at least...

New Earth system as a Dalek breeding ground, isolating and cloning traits in the creatures in their zoo into each new Dalek. K9 comes to the rescue, blasting open the cages and releasing the creatures within. But as one of the creatures rears up over the Doctor, it looks like the plan may have failed.

The creatures turn their fury on the Daleks and the Doctor, K9 and Brill take advantage to escape, but the Daleks have already sent emergency squads of Werelox. Aboard the ‘Spacehog’, Babe Roth says a tearful farewell to her children. The Doctor, K9 and Brill make it to the TARDIS thanks to Brill’s ferocity and rematerialise inside the Dalek nerve centre where they have time travel equipment used to bring the Werelox from the distant past. Meanwhile, Joe and Babe prepare for their suicide run...

As the ‘Spacehog’ closes on the Dalek ship, Babe Roth reports a problem - Sharon is stowed away. Brill and K9 deal with the Daleks in the nerve centre, but others attempt to gain entry to the room. The Doctor must work fast on the time travel equipment. Joe pushes Sharon

into an escape pod - and pushes Babe Roth in too. He will make the final run alone. However, as impact approaches and the Daleks break into the nerve centre, the Doctor finishes his work and flips a switch, placing the whole ship in a time lock forever. Reunited with Sharon, Babe Roth and Joe Bean back on New Earth, the Doctor decides it’s time to get Sharon home.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
The Dogs of Doom is exciting, action-packed stuff packed with good characters and some excellent moments. Of the supporting cast, Brill is by far the finest creation, beautifully characterised in idiosyncratic dialogue, but Joe Bean (whose speech is almost unintelligible thanks to his space truckin’ idiom) and Babe Roth also stand out, particularly the latter who gets a rare moment of tenderness talking to her kids via video phone. This strong support rather overshadows Sharon, who is actually absent for much of the middle of the story, hiding in a cupboard aboard the ‘Spacehog’. It’s like, having introduced her, the writers then had no idea what to actually do with her. The Dalek plan is suitably epic, though the idea of classic series’ Daleks infecting their racial purity with a hotchpotch of cloned traits from other species doesn’t particularly ring true, despite their justifications. It’s just a shame, really, that we never get to see the fruits of their labour - just one of this new breed of Daleks would have made a formidable opponent in the latter part of the strip. The ending is tense but the presence of time travel equipment for the Doctor to tinker with is perhaps a little easy as far as resolutions go. New Earth, of course, finally made it to the TV screen in 2006, with a further return visit in 2007.
 

Issue 7 Alt Retro Cover
Issue 3Issue 4
The Iron LegionIssue 6
Issue 6 Alt Retro CoverIssue 7
IDW Trade paperback Volume 1Dave Gibbons Collection
  Genesis of the Daleks LP Advertising Feature
Although the LP came out in 1979, I can find no copies of this advert predating  April 1980...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown

Another advertising feature that ran for a while in the pages of Doctor Who Weekly (and presumably other publications too). This one was to promote the Genesis of the Daleks LP (a sort of large format CD-shaped object made out of black vinyl that magically produced sound when the surface was rubbed against a ‘stylus’ - you couldn’t make this stuff up). The record (or super modern tape cassette) featured a heavily abridged version of the television story. It is because of this record that I can quote large chunks of the story from memory.

Daleks with names (as featured in this advertisement) are something of a rarity. At this point in the series’ history, the only precedents are Zeg (from The Dalek Chronicles) and Alpha, Beta and Omega from The Evil of the Daleks.

    Doctor Who Weekly

 THE TIME WITCH

Issue 35
Issue 36
Issue 37
Issue 38
The Doctor's home movies were really insufferably dull, but Sharon put on a brave face...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUES: 35 - 38
COVER DATES: 12 June 1980 - 3 July 1980
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 6, February 1985, Panini’s The Iron Legion ‘graphic novel’, published 2004, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issues 7 - 8, April 2008 - May 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

On the distant planet Nefrin, Brimo is sentenced to imprisonment in an eternity capsule for attempting to pervert the course of destiny. There she remains for aeons as the planet Nefrin crumbles to dust around her. However, when the sun goes nova, Brimo is sucked into a dimension where her thoughts become reality. The TARDIS becomes stuck in a split in the fabric of time caused by Brimo draining energy from our universe to support her fantasy world. As the split widens, the Doctor is sucked through.

The Doctor's impersonation of K9 was not well received...
Issue 5
Issue 7
Issue 8
IDW Trade paperback Volume 1

Sharon follows the Doctor through the split, and both land in a cavern where they meet Meltron, Guardian of the Gateway, who - influenced by the Doctor’s thoughts - offers them tea. The split is strong enough to drag the TARDIS through, but when Sharon suggests escape, the Doctor elects to leave it where it is for the moment. Brimo sees Meltron entertaining the time travellers and attacks.

Realising that the Doctor and Sharon are not figments of her imagination, Brimo tries to use Meltron against them, but the Doctor’s will is equally strong and the mental battle only divides Meltron into two warring creatures. However, Brimo is not beaten yet and summons up an army of ruthless killers.

The Doctor counters by creating a large hole and the army falls into it. The TARDIS is blocking the dimensional gateway, meaning Brimo cannot draw more energy from our universe. The only way she can create something new is by destroying something old. The Doctor continually outwits her attacks, then challenges her to think of the most terrifying thing she can think of. Unwittingly, Brimo does so, but the most terrifying thing is the eternity capsule, which traps her once more. Back aboard the TARDIS, the split in time is running straight through the console room, dividing the ship in two. The Doctor reintegrates the ship, but the process ages both him and Sharon by four years. For him, this is nothing, but for Sharon the difference is huge - she is now grown up.

The Iron Legion
Issue 7 Alt Retro Cover
Issue 8 Retro Cover
Dave Gibbons Collection

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
After the epic settings and diverse and larger-than-life characters of previous strips, Steve Moore’s main comic strip debut initially feels lightweight and lacking in plot twists, but remains a well thought out tale despite being half the length of previous offerings. As a child, the Doctor and Brimo’s battle reminded me of the duel between Merlin and mad Madam Mim in Disney’s Sword in the Stone.

   Doctor Who Weekly (Issues 39-43)
   Doctor Who A Marvel Monthly (Issues 44-45)

 DRAGON’S CLAW

Commander Garaan fancies stretching his legs on a little walk outside...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUES: 39 - 45
COVER DATES: 10 July 1980 - October 1980
ON TV: Destiny of the Daleks (repeat), The Leisure Hive - Full Circle (Season 18)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issues 6 - 7, March - April 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issues 8 - 9, May 2008 - June 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Chekiang, on the shores of the East China Sea, summer of 1522, and Japanese pirates attack the town. The townsfolk are saved by Buddhist monks, but one of them, the Abbot Yueh Kuang, is armed with a

powerful energy weapon that blasts the pirates. As the Abbot moves away, the TARDIS lands. The Doctor’s curiosity is immediately aroused  by the blasted bodies and he sets off with Sharon and K9 to investigate. However, they are soon captured by the monks led by Yueh Kuang, who orders their execution.

One of the monks witnessed the TARDIS’ arrival, and Yeuh Kuang is curious enough to stay their execution and instead take the time travellers prisoner. They board a cart that will take them a thousand leagues North West to Sung Mountain. On the journey, the Doctor learns from Brother Chang that the monks’ fighting skills were taught to them by the Eighteen Bronze Men. Eventually they reach the Shaolin Monastery, but there are thrown into a cell.

Chang tells the Doctor that Yeuh Kuang has been abbot of Shaolin for only eight years, and before that Hsiang the Ancient was abbot before he took to meditation in the hills. Getting K9 to stun Chang, the Doctor and Sharon escape the monastery and visit Hsiang who tells them that he has not moved since Yeuh Kuang arrived from Mount Omei. Following a star-fall, Kuang disappeared for three months, returning to demonstrate a new form of martial arts he called the style of the Eighteen Bronze Men. However, further discussion is interrupted by the arrival of a monk named Li from the monastery who promises the Doctor and Sharon will die.

I agree with Sharon. Can't say that very often.

The Doctor and Sharon trip Li with the Doctor’s scarf, before Hsiang knocks him out by jabbing him in the neck with a finger. Realising Hsiang is in danger when Li recovers, the Doctor and Sharon move his body to deeper in the forest before returning to the  monastery. Chang is only just regaining consciousness, so the Doctor leads him to believe that he just fell asleep. Chang takes the Doctor to see Abbot Yeuh Kuang, but on the way the Doctor notes the Hall of the Eighteen Bronze Men. However, when he reaches Kuang, Li is with him. The Doctor attempts escape, but the only place to escape to is the Hall of the Eighteen Bronze Men.

Inside the Hall, the Doctor evades armed monks and slamming portcullises, but Kuang enters behind him armed with his energy weapon, cutting off any retreat. He corners the Doctor by a titanium door, but the Doctor opens the door with the sonic screwdriver and slips inside. However, he now realises, as he comes face to face with them, that the Eighteen Bronze Men are Sontarans.

The Sontarans are unable to fire as the Doctor is standing in front of the main computer. As he moves along the wall, they shoot, but he ducks and escapes through the resulting hole in the wall. Chang is outside and he flees with the Time Lord. Sharon hears the commotion and uses K9 to escape the cell, quickly meeting up with the Doctor and  Chang. However, the monks sound the alarm and soon the whole monastery comes to attack. Chang and K9 stage a valiant defence, but there are too many monks so the Doctor orders K9 to blast the monastery wall and they escape out into the hills. There the Doctor questions Chang about what happens to monks who enter the Hall of the Eighteen Bronze Men and soon realises that the monks are being hypnotised and implanted with posthypnotic commands. One key word could make them start killing everyone in sight.

The Doctor takes Chang, Sharon and K9 for another word with Hsiang the Ancient, but they are not the only ones travelling on the mountain as a rider from the Emperor arrives at the monastery asking for Kuang to attend an audience with the Emperor himself. It is all exactly as Sontaran commander Garaan planned. The Doctor speaks to Hsiang who directs him to the wreckage of the Sontaran ship. As Kuang plans to take a group of hypnotised monks to Peking to assassinate the Imperial family, leaving him as Emperor, Chang stirs up revolt among the novices. They are joined by the Doctor and Sharon, carrying Hsiang,

the real abbot, who demands the Hall of the Eighteen Bronze Men be opened. As Kuang arrives to quash the revolt, the Doctor has K9 record Kuang as he speaks the words to turn the monks into killers. On playback, the monks become peaceful again. Chang springs to the attack, killing Li, but it is K9 and Hsiang who dispose of Kuang. K9 blasts his way into the Hall of the Eighteen Bronze Men, but, filled with fury, Chang runs inside and slaughters the Sontarans single-handed. The threat ended and Hsiang reinstated as abbot, the Doctor, K9 and Sharon depart.

 

Read our exclusive interview with writer Steve Moore here.

The Doctor's argument was compelling, but Sharon still preferred her plan of walking four hundred miles back to the TARDIS...
Issue 39
Issue 41
Issue 43
Issue 45
Issue 7
Issue 8
Issue 9

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Dragon’s Claw has always been one of my favourite Doctor Who comic strips. Its setting is richly detailed and accurately portrayed, the artwork is gorgeous, Chang, Hsiang and Kuang are great characters who really come alive, the reveal of the Sontarans as the villains of the piece is brilliantly done (here making their main comic strip debut), and the epic four hundred mile trek in part two of the strip lends it a genuinely epic feel akin to Marco Polo. The Doctor mentions that he first encountered the Sontarans ‘about three hundred years ago... Your time...’ which is a rather nice and subtle reference to the Medieval-based events of The Time Warrior.

Issue 40
Issue 42
Issue 44
Issue 6
Dragon's Claw
Issue 8 Retro Cover
Issue 9 Retro Cover
Dave Gibbons Collection
   Doctor Who A Marvel Monthly

 THE COLLECTOR

Shaping your main computer terminal like a curvaceous woman could actually prove more of a  torment than a comfort...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUE: 46
COVER DATE: November 1980
ON TV: Full Circle - State of Decay (Season 18)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 8, May 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issue 10, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011, then in the 100 Page Spectacular 2012, also by IDW, July 2012 (Cover not shown).

The Doctor returns a reluctant Sharon to Blackcastle, only for the TARDIS to be teleported to what appears to be an old house located in the asteroid belt. The Doctor, Sharon and K9 investigate, discovering people from Earth time periods trapped in time-stasis capsules and continuing their day to day lives as if nothing strange were happening. Escaping through the third and eighteenth century capsules, they meet Varan Tak from the anthropology unit on Oskerion who realises they are not specimens from twentieth century Earth and offers to send them home. But the Doctor demands explanation and Tak says that, two thousand years ago, he was on his way to conduct a study of Earth when his ship was struck by asteroids and crashed. The ship, whose sole function is to protect and sustain him, rebuilt itself as a house to keep him comfortable and alive, creating the teleport so he could continue his studies and also creating a humanoid form for its own main brain unit to act as a companion. But the ship refuses to allow Tak to leave its confines, protecting the teleporter with a force field every time he approaches. The Doctor agrees to help Tak escape, using K9 to blast the forcefield then sending Tak to Earth. However, the humanoid form enters, furious, and destroys K9. She reverses the teleporter, but Taran Vak is

Issue 10

dead, poisoned by the industrial pollution of Earth, the thing she was trying to protect him from. Due to odd instrument readings in the TARDIS caused by the time-stasis fields around them, the Doctor realises he may be able to undo the damage he has done. With the robot and Sharon, he travels back in time and prevents himself freeing Tak, by socking himself on the jaw, then destroys the teleporter. Their future selves vanish as the timeline sorts itself out. Varan Tak is alive and K9 is functional. Tak will have to wait to be picked up by his own people.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
The familiar ‘Vworp vworp’ TARDIS sound effect finally makes its debut in this clever little strip (the first main Doctor Who comic strip printed in a single issue since the TV Comic Holiday Special reprint of The Unheard Voice in 1978). Although using the TARDIS to travel back in time and solve the problem would ordinarily be considered cheating of the highest order (take, for example, the TV Movie), here Steve Moore cleverly utilises the presence of

Issue 10 Retro Cover
Issue 46
Issue 8
Dragon's Claw
Dave Gibbons Collection

stasis-fields aboard Tak’s ship to allow the TARDIS to travel back and do what it normally couldn’t do. The Doctor punching himself on the jaw may not be the most elegant solution to the problem, but it does make for as arresting visual. The ship’s humanoid form is also an arresting visual, owing much to the robot Maria from the film Metropolis.

 DREAMERS OF DEATH

Issue 47Issue 48
Dragon's Claw
Issue 8
Issue 10Issue 10 Retro Cover
Asking to touch a man's slinth on the first meeting? Sharon is a very forward young lady...
Dave Gibbons Collection
Ooh, I love a parade...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Paul Neary

ISSUES: 47 - 48
COVER DATES: December 1980 - January 1981
ON TV: State of Decay - Warriors’ Gate (Season 18)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 8, May 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Issue 10, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

A handsome hero named Karith fights to save his lissom Lyan from hideous Kroads watched helplessly by Garret and Camilla. This is all a group dream organised by Scylla, who works for Dreams Deluxe. As she leaves the Berrace residence on Uniceptor IV, the TARDIS lands. The Doctor is old friends with the Berrace household, having visited six or seven years previously. Garret explains that three years ago one of the native animals, the Slinth, was discovered to have telepathic powers, allowing humans to share dreams. They arrange for a dream session for the Doctor with Vernor Allen, but before the session begins, Garret receives word that Lord Veith, his dreamer and two other people have been killed in mysterious circumstances. The dream begins and all is pleasant until a strange procession led by the deceased Lord Veith approaches. The dream descends into a nightmare, with Vernor Allen, who is supposed to control the dream from outside, sucked into the illusion. He warns that they could all die from mental shock. His Slinth rears above them, huge and ferocious.

In the dream-room, K9 detects that the Doctor’s pulse rate is approaching critical and severs the connection, freeing the dreamers from the dream. The Doctor realises that, during the dream sessions, the Slinths have been feeding on psychic energy, growing stronger, waiting to attack. Now they have that strength and, as the Doctor, Sharon and Vernor follow reports on the news, they discover that the Slinths have formed themselves into a gigantic devil-shaped creature, a form guaranteed to generate more psychic energy in humans. The creature grows ever larger by absorbing energy. Vernor shoots a few Slinths with a projectile weapon, but it is left to the Doctor to short the creature out with a loop of electrical cable and the hose from a fire engine. The menace ended, Sharon decides to stay on Uniceptor IV with Vernor where they can forge a new life together.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Dreamers of Death doesn’t satisfy me like some of the previous strips. It feels like there aren’t enough developments in the plot or enough twists and turns in the narrative to make it truly memorable, and consequently it feels somewhat condensed into two parts. I do usually like my comic strips a little longer and a little more involved. Still, there are good ideas at work here and - even if she doesn’t actually do anything - it provides a reasonably effective farewell for poor, underused and possibly misconceived Sharon who is bundled off with the first black guy that she meets. The Slinths forming themselves into a huge devil creature at the end evokes memories of Quatermass and the Pit. The TARDIS once again lands silently here.

   Doctor Who Annual 1981

 EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY

Doctor Who Annual 1981

SCRIPT: Clive Hopwood
ART: Mel Powell

Visiting old friend Professor Svenson, who lives on the planet Phoenix, where robots outnumber humans a hundred to one, the TARDIS materialises inside a huge domed structure and the travellers step out, but the complex appears deserted. The Doctor and Romana discover bodies in a laboratory, one of whom is Svenson. A warrior robot appears and the three travellers flee as the robot opens fire on them. The Doctor finds the exit but there are no environmental suits available. They decide to risk it, but discover the air is breathable.

As they run for cover, they are observed by a group of scientists. The two parties meet up. One of the scientists is Wooding, Svenson’s assistant. Wooding explains that deputy controller Daneman is responsible for the warrior robots; she says

K9 misquotes Marx, or possibly The Sunmakers

Daneman plans to conquer the galaxy. Another scientist tells the Doctor that the atmosphere will only sustain life for forty-eight hours.

The Doctor has an idea how the scientists can retake the complex. He sends K9 to meet the central computer who tells it that Daneman will get rid of it once he’s achieved his goal and persuades it to help him defeat the warrior robots. They reprogramme the worker robots, which outnumber the warrior robots twenty to one. The warrior robots are defeated and turn on their creator, killing him. When the Doctor, Romana and the scientists get back they find that the worker robots have elected K9 their king. The Doctor, K9 and Romana depart in the TARDIS.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
It’s a simple enough story that works okay, but the artwork on this strip isn’t very good, with neither the Doctor nor Romana looking anything like their TV counterparts and the whole thing apparently having been coloured with felt tips. Curiously enough, it’s the robots, and K9 in particular, who come off best. The warrior robots look rather similar to the Gundans... surely a coincidence...

   Doctor Who A Marvel Monthly

 THE LIFE BRINGER!/LIFE-BRINGER

The Doctor gets the trots...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUES: 49 - 50
COVER DATES: February 1981 - March 1981
ON TV: Keeper of Traken - Logopolis (Season 18)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 9, June 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 1, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Sucked through a temporal/spatial anomaly, the TARDIS lands on a strange beach where the Doctor discovers Prometheus chained to a rock. Prometheus explains that he stole the spark of life and was punished by Zeus by being chained to a mountain. The mountain has eroded to a small rock, and the Doctor decides that he has been punished enough and has K9 set him free. Prometheus pilots the TARDIS to the planet Olympus where they receive a hostile reception from Aphrodite who delivers them to an audience with Zeus. Before Zeus, Aphrodite, Hermes, Ares and Apollo, Prometheus states his case for creating life, but Zeus will not be swayed and has him imprisoned and the Doctor taken to a scientist named Asclepius. Ascelpius plans to dissect him.

Using K9 to distract Ascelpius and Hermes, the Doctor makes his escape. In the throne room, he overhears a conversation between Zeus and Selene and Helene, the latter two urging for Zeus to release life into the universe. Zeus refuses until life has been perfected as peace-loving creatures. Realising he may have allies, the Doctor releases Prometheus who immediately goes to Ascelpius’ laboratory and steals the life spores once again. They escape in Helius’ chariot and, despite Zeus’ best efforts to stop them, make it back to the TARDIS. In deep space, Prometheus departs to spread life across the universe. This leaves the Doctor wondering if Olympus was really Earth or if Prometheus is now heading there.

The recoloured IDW version of the strip is truly gorgeous...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
There is much classical fun to be had here, such as Aphrodite and her clam-shaped ship, Asclepius being the god of healing, the temple-shaped city of the gods, and Helius’ flying chariot, and its vague location and time period generates an interesting atmosphere accompanied by some beautiful art (though all of Gibbons’ goddesses look like California blondes), but the plot is perhaps a little too linear to offer any real surprises or plot twists. The inclusion of Selene and Helius is perhaps an indulgence given that they are irrelevant to the plot. It’s interesting to note that the strip still makes regular references to the randomiser despite the TV series having abandoned it back at the beginning of the season in The Leisure Hive, though the Doctor is now sporting his Season 18 costume so there is some sense of it keeping apace with events in the TV series. Again, the TARDIS lands silently. Vworp vworp hasn’t quite caught on yet, has it?

Volume 2 Issue 1 Retro Cover
Issue 49
Issue 50
Issue 9
Dragon's Claw
Volume 2 Issue 1
Dave Gibbons Collection

 WAR OF THE WORDS

Issue 51
Issue 10
Dragon's Claw
The Doctor's hospital visit was not going as well as he'd hoped...
Volume 2 Issue 1Volume 2 Issue 1 Retro Cover

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUE: 51
COVER DATE: April 1981
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 10, July 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 1, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again by IDW in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Dave Gibbons Collection

The planet Biblios is caught in a space war between the Vromyx and the Garynths, who effectively blockade the planet. When the  TARDIS lands there, the Doctor soon discovers from the pilot of a crashed Vromyx combat ship that the two races are fighting for control of the knowledge contained on Biblios, specifically knowledge of super weapons. The robot librarian explains to the Doctor that the one thing they do not keep information on is weapons, but neither side will believe it. The Doctor contacts both Vromyx and Garynth commanders and tells them he is a mighty warlord who easily passed through their blockade. He has forced the secret of the super weapons from the librarians and, to make sure the data never falls into other hands, he blows up the archive, which is in fact an empty storage building. With nothing left to fight over, the aliens withdraw. As the Doctor says, actions speak louder than words.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
This neat little strip has something of the feel of one of the back-up strips, being cleverly plotted and self-contained with a good twist (although admittedly a lot lighter in tone than most of those strips). The only real character here is the Doctor himself, but as a light-hearted examination of his ingenuity it works well. It also marks the last appearance of K9 in the regular comic strip run.

 SPIDER-GOD

Much easier just to flush them back down the sink in my opinion...

SCRIPT: Steve Moore
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUE: 52
COVER DATE: May 1981
REPRINTS: Star-Lord, Issue 1, February 1981, abridged and with rudimentary colour by Ed Hannigan, Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 10, July 1985, Doctor Who Magazine, Issue 182, 22 January 1992, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 2, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and again in The Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011 (see cover above).

The Terrain Survey Vessel Excelsior, commanded by Louis B Frederic, lands on planet UX-4732. They find the TARDIS nearby, and the Doctor steps out to greet them. He introduces them to a primitive but idyllic village populated by deaf, mute humanoids. They witness a procession in which the villagers carry animal carcasses onto an altar, standing on a structure that looks like a giant spider web. It turns out to be just that, as an enormous spider emerges from a nearby cave and begins encasing the villagers in cocoons. Frederick assumes the spider intends to eat the villagers, and the survey team destroy it. The villagers pelt them with rocks, driving them back to the Excelsior. The next morning, the village is deserted. The survey team locates another village, with another spider web and numerous villagers spun into cocoons. They witness a humanoid infant hatching from an egg. As they destroy the giant spiders there, the Doctor realises that the spiders and villagers are symbiotic; in exchange for the animal carcasses (which the spiders eat), the spiders encase the villagers (actually larvae) in the cocoons they require to hatch into giant butterfly creatures. Frederic is stunned.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
With its grim tone and startling twist, this final outing for Steve Moore on Doctor Who Monthly definitely has the vibe of the back-up strips that he started work on three years before. It’s a thoughtful and surprisingly powerful moral tale given its brief length with some arresting visuals and a strong conclusion. An excellent way to conclude a run.

Dragon's Claw Volume 2 Issue 2
Issue 182
Issue 52
Issue 1
Issue 10
Volume 2 Issue 2 Retro Cover

 THE DEAL

No Ka-boom! I would have expected a Ka-boom! or a Thrump! at the very least...

SCRIPT: Steve Parkhouse
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUE: 53
COVER DATE: June 1981
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 11, August 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 2, July 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and again in the Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011 (see cover above).

The TARDIS materialises during the Millennium Wars, and a fault in its gravitic stabilisers causes a soldier’s ship to crash nearby. The soldier captures the Doctor and forces him to use the TARDIS’ gravity field to disorient the pursuit ship following him, causing it to crash, killing the crew and making the Doctor realise that the soldier is a psychopath. When the soldier leaves the TARDIS to finish off the pursuit ship, the Doctor locks him out, repairs the damage and escapes, leaving the soldier to be killed by the king-sized pursuit ship which was following the first.

Issue 53

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Steve Parkhouse’s debut Doctor Who strip  doesn’t have much of the feel of the actual series, having rather more in common with contemporary comic strips. It’s a rather slim affair, the nameless soldier never anything more than a complete cliché, its plot underdeveloped, though its mention of the Millennium Wars will become rather more important during Fifth Doctor comic strip The Tides of Time. Vworp Vworp as the standard materialisation noise begins here.

Dragon's Claw Issue 11Volume 2 Issue 2Volume 2 Issue 2 Retro Cover

 THE END OF THE LINE

Issue 54
Issue 55
Issue 11
Issue 12
When cannibals attack...

SCRIPT: Steve Parkhouse
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUES: 54 - 55
COVER DATES: July 1981 - August 1981
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issues 11 - 12, August 1985 - September 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issues 2 - 3, July 2008 - August 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008,then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again by IDW in the Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Landing in a tunnel beneath a large city, the Doctor narrowly avoids being run down by an underground train, but worse is to come when, aboard the moving train, he is attacked by a band of vicious cannibals. Evading  them, he discovers the city is nothing more than pollution, waste and unbound gloom. As the train stops, he tries to make his escape, but the cannibals soon capture him. He is saved by Angel, of the Guardian Angels, but the cannibals swear revenge.

The Doctor meets Sonny, leader of the Guardian Angels, who takes him to meet the Engineer, an old man who is attempting to get control of a rail track leading out of the city to a place called Countryside, but the Engineer is dying of malnutrition and radiation sickness. The cannibals attack, slaughtering all of the Angels bar Sonny, Angel, Joey and the Engineer. With these survivors aboard the train, the Doctor completes the Engineer’s work on the rail track and is saved from the cannibals when their leader accidentally electrocutes himself, thus providing cooked lunch for his comrades. The Doctor escapes back to the TARDIS, but needs to know if the survivors made it out of the city, so lands in the desolate wasteland beyond the city boundary. There he waits, and waits, and waits, but the train never arrives. Looking at the poisonous desert he concludes that maybe this is a good thing.

Volume 2 Issue 2
Volume 2 Issue 3

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Bleak, visceral, violent and filled with cannibal jokes that actually only serve to make the atmosphere darker and even more queasy, this is like Doctor Who meets Cannibal Holocaust. This is almost certainly the most adult comic strip up to this point. The story is simple enough, but given great strength by the downbeat ending. The art is frequently disturbing, always excellent. This strip really is as wonderful and powerful as it is horrible and dark. Of course, humans trapped in a closed system beneath a vast city is the idea behind Russell T. Davies’ TV episode Gridlock, and the shark-teethed cannibals, not to mention the terrible bleak fate awaiting the survivors, are echoed in Utopia. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was RTD’s favourite comic strip. It certainly comes high on a list of mine.

Dragon's Claw
Volume 2 Issue 2 Retro Cover
Volume 2 Issue 3 Retro Cover
Dave Gibbons Collection

 DOCTOR WHO AND THE FREE-FALL WARRIORS

The Freefall warriors. Unlikely looking bunch, I know...

SCRIPT: Steve Parkhouse
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUES: 56 - 57
COVER DATES: September 1981 - October 1981
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 12, September 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 3, August 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then again by IDW in Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, June 2010, and then again in IDW’s the Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011 (see cover above).

The Doctor is holidaying at the Festival of Five Planets, playing video games and indulging his sweet tooth. There, he meets Doctor Ivan Asimoff, an alien writer of science-fiction. Within moments of their meeting,  the TARDIS comes under attack from four strangers, who have mistaken it for a vending machine. The strangers introduce themselves as the Freefall Warriors. The Festival of Five Planets, it turns out, sponsors a space race - and the Warriors challenge the Doctor to take part. He accepts for both himself and Asimoff and the pair are bundled off in the spacecraft belonging to Machine Head, one of the Warriors. Machine Head takes an early lead. Unfortunately, his speed lands him in the path of an oncoming fleet of Space Raiders. These Raiders, who come from a sixth planet within the system, intend to disrupt the Festival, and are using one of the elements of the race to help them. The race, it turns out, was supposed have a "mock battle" as one of its features. Thus, Machine Head is caught unawares when he encounters their fleet. Only after his craft takes damage and plunges toward a nearby planet does he realise the attack is real.

The Doctors are called upon to repair the ship during the unexpected pit stop. Meanwhile, Machine Head is able to contact his fellow Freefallers and warn them of impending attack. The others react quickly enough to begin picking off the Raider fleet. His ship repaired, Machine Head re-enters the fight. By this time, the main opposition left is that of the Raider Leader. Machine Head’s ship can withstand the effects of a star, so he plays a game of ‘chicken’ with the Raider Leader, tempting the Leader to fly straight into the sun.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Really the most memorable thing about this strip is that it introduces Doctor Ivan Asimoff, who would go on to feature in a solo comic strip adventure in the 1982 Summer Special called The Fabulous Idiot, and who would return during the Sixth Doctor’s comic strip run in Polly the Glot. Asimoff is the first recurring character who wasn’t a companion.  However, equally important is that the Free-fall Warriors were the first characters from the strip spun off into their own strip in the larger Marvel universe, something we would see more of during the era of the Seventh Doctor. The Free-fall Warriors also put in cameos in Party Animals and A Life of Matter and Death.

Issue 56Issue 57
Issue 12Dragon's Claw
Volume 2 Issue 3Volume 2 Issue 3 Retro Cover

 JUNKYARD DEMON

Issue 58Issue 59
Summer Special 1983Issue 13
Dragon's Claw Volume 2 Issue 4
Volume 2 Issue 4 Retro CoverDoctor Who Omnibus Volume 2
100 Page Spectacular 2012

SCRIPT: Steve Parkhouse
ART: Mike McMahon & Adolfo Buylla
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUES: 58 - 59
COVER DATES: November 1981 - December 1981
ON TV: An Unearthly Child (repeat), The Krotons (repeat), The Three Doctors (repeat), Carnival of Monsters (repeat), Logopolis (repeat) (The Five Faces of Doctor Who season), K9 and Company.
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 13, October 1985, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 4, September 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then in IDW’s Doctor Who Classics Omnibus Volume 2, released August 2011, then in the 100 Page Spectacular 2012, also by IDW, July 2012.

Whilst the Doctor meditates, the TARDIS is scooped up by a junk-collecting spaceship Drifter, piloted by scrap merchants Flotsam and Jetsam and their windmill-powered robot Dutch, who tries unsuccessfully to break down the TARDIS

Lesson #1 - Never throw a spanner at a sleeping Cyberman.

for scrap. The Doctor is awakened by the noise of Dutch's drill and emerges somewhat peeved at the disturbance, but is even more annoyed to find a dormant Cyberman amongst their collection of galactic scrap. Flotsam and Jetsam have a lucrative side business collecting inert Cybermen, reprogramming them and selling them as butlers. The Doctor accidentally reactivates the Cyberman.

The Cyberman steals the TARDIS with Jetsam inside. As the Doctor, Flotsam and Dutch

track the TARDIS in the Drifter, the Cyberman pilots the TARDIS to remote planet A54, at the site of the wrecked command ship of a long-lost Cyberfleet. The Cyberman orders Jetsam to restore his long-inactive leader Zogron to life, with the ambition of rebuilding a Cyber-army that will rule Time and Space via the TARDIS. Jetsam reactivates Zogron who then infuriates the Cyberman by offering him a before-dinner sherry. The Drifter lands nearby, and Dutch destroys the Cyberman by coating it in quick-setting polymer paint. As Flotsam and Jetsam eagerly ponder the plunder available in the wrecked Cyberships, the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS, hoping they never find any Daleks...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
The Cybermen meet the Doctor in the comic strip for the first time since 1969. Despite their absence from television screens since 1975, it is surprising that it took fifty-eight issues before they were introduced into the main Doctor Who comic strip. It is perhaps even more surprising that it is the original cloth-faced Cybermen that appears rather than the Seventies variant (though this Cyberman also borrows elements from The Moonbase too). I have always loved the striking and heavily caricatured artwork on this strip - a definite jolt from the usual style - but one that works extremely well on this particular strip. It also helps to cover up the relative simplicity of the storytelling.

A mention of hind legs... Could this have been the inspiration for the Cybershades?
   Doctor Who Annual 1982

 PLAGUE WORLD

Annual 1982The Druden realised that Gordon Ramsey would have a fit when he saw the state of their kitchens...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Given the usual standard of the annual comic strips, this isn’t actually too bad, telling a logical and well developed story (although what Bemar hopes to get out of it is anyone’s guess) with a sensible conclusion. The artwork suffers as a result of the printing quality, but the composition and the likenesses are actually very good, even if the whole thing does have the slight look of having been coloured in with felt tips. Definitely one of the better annual comic strips. It also, according to Hopwood, has a hidden meaning - the villain Bemar is World editor Mae Broadley, the flesh-eating Druden represent World's parent company and their victim 'Stylo' equals the 'writers'.

SCRIPT: Clive Hopwood
ART: Mel Powell

The Doctor, Adric and K9 arrive in a small village on Publius to find all the villagers at a meeting where they harangue Bemar, their leader, about the strange deaths and disappearances that have beset them. When Adric attempts to defend a man called Stylo, Bemar accuses him and the Doctor of being the culprits. K9 and Adric are captured, but the Doctor escapes and is given shelter by Kidson who explains that Bemar has seized control as a tyrant, but is getting outside help from an insectoid race known as the Druden. The Druden have manufactured a plague that is killing the villagers, and the diseased flesh is being used to feed the Druden hatchlings. Soon they will transport to the village to feast. The Doctor destroys the Druden matter transporter and Kidson crashes his strato-cruiser into their mountain hideaway, burying them forever. K9 synthesises enough antidote to cure the villagers of the plague.

   Doctor Who A Marvel Monthly

 THE NEUTRON KNIGHTS

Clash of the Arthurians, at a cinema near you, from Thursday...
Issue 60
Issue 14

SCRIPT: Steve Parkhouse
ART: Dave Gibbons
EDITOR: Alan McKenzie

ISSUE: 60
COVER DATE: January 1982
ON TV: Castrovalva - Four to Doomsday
REPRINTS: Doctor Who (US) in colour, Issue 14, November 1985, Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issue 9, July 1993, Panini’s Dragon’s Claw ‘graphic novel’, published 2005, in colour in Doctor Who Classics, IDW  Publishing, Volume 2 Issue 4, September 2008, then in trade paperback from IDW, December 2008, then in IDW’s Doctor Who Classics Omnibus Volume 2, released August 2011 (see cover above), and then yet again from IDW in the Dave Gibbons Collection, December 2011.

Earth, in the far future, and the fearsome Neutron Knights, led by the bloodthirsty warlord Catavolcus, descend on the inner sanctum of the fortress of an unnamed King and his few remaining defenders. The King's wizard summons the Doctor and his TARDIS via mental control. The wizard reveals to the Doctor the heart of the inner sanctum, a colossal fission reactor called the Dragon which the Neutron Knights aim to possess. The wizard sets the Dragon to overload, hoping to consume the enemy in the ensuing explosion while the King and his men escape in the TARDIS, but the Neutron Knights storm the sanctum. As the wizard and the King's forces take refuge in the TARDIS, the King stays behind to face off against Catavolcus. The Doctor is stunned to discover that the King and wizard are Arthur and Merlin. Catavolcus slays King Arthur, and the TARDIS dematerialises shortly before the Dragon erupts, destroying the fortress, Catavolcus, and the Neutron Knights. The Doctor awakens outside the now unoccupied TARDIS in a wooded area, and muses on what he has experienced... perhaps a dream, or a time-loop where past and future merge? Back in the TARDIS, a shadowy image of Merlin appears, informing the Time Lord that they will meet again.

Issue 9
The final regular appearance of the Fourth Doctor...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
The Fourth Doctor’s final regular comic strip isn’t really an end, more a beginning, as it feeds directly into The Tides of Time. As such it is difficult to judge in isolation as its thin plot works better tied into the larger plot. The artwork is in places stunning, though there are a lot of panels crammed in there and it can sometimes look a little dense, but it remains an exciting appetiser for what is to come.

Dragon's Claw
Volume 2 Issue 4
Volume 2 Issue 4 Retro Cover
Dave Gibbons Collection
   Fourth Doctor Additional Strips

The Neutron Knights concluded the Fourth Doctor’s regular run of comic strips. However, he would return for a few more appearances over the years...

   Doctor Who Magazine

 THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA

And Sarah knew that enormous was always interesting...

SCRIPT: Louise Marks
ART: Colin Howard
COLOUR: Steve Whitaker
LETTERS: Sophie Heath

ISSUE: 161
COVER DATE: June 1990

In a similar vein to the 1972 Radio Times Colony in Space adaptation, this Masque of Mandragora one page strip turns the opening moments of the story into a comic strip.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
This adaptation is a very nice idea, and it’s a shame Doctor Who Magazine only did one other strip in this fashion (Terror of the Autons). The artwork is excellent and the colour is lovely, though it must have been a very expensive way to introduce a synopsis and fact file.

Issue 161
   Beano Special

 THE BASH STREET KIDS - DOCTOR WOTSIT

Issue 24

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: David Sutherland (?)

ISSUE: 24
COVER DATE: (Month unknown) 1990

Teacher is boring his class with a history reader and begins to reminisce about the cane which he was once allowed to smack naughty pupils with. Nowadays, the only punishment he can inflict is scraping chalk on the blackboard. He demonstrates, and the almighty sound attracts the attention of Doctor Wotsit in his time travelling telephone box, who lands to investigate. Meeting his heroes, the Bash Street Kids, he takes them and Teacher on a trip through time to investigate corporal punishment through the ages.

Doctor Wotsit takes a trip through time...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
It seems odd to depict Doctor Wotsit as a version of the Doctor that had last appeared eight years previously, especially given the average age of Beano readers. How amusing you find this depends on how funny you actually think the Bash Street Kids are. Personally, I didn’t like them even as a child...

   Doctor Who Yearbook 1994

Like the annuals before them, the Yearbooks were published in the year preceding the cover date.

 REST AND RE-CREATION

Doctor Who Yearbook1994

SCRIPT: Warwick Gray
ART: Charlie Adlard
COLOUR: Helen Nally
EDITOR: Gary Russell

Whilst relaxing on Shontaa, the Doctor and Leela become aware of two Zygons engaged in a blood   feud. They enter the Zygon spaceship, overpower the savage monster guarding it and release the captive aliens aboard from which the Zygons take their body prints. The Zygons are forced by the aliens to return them home and the Doctor and Leela return to their relaxation.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Horrible art with terrible likenesses of the regulars and nasty and frequently unsympathetic colour masks a simple but quietly effective tale that comfortably fills its length.

Someone's been watching their Terror of the Zygons video. Shame they didn't notice what that Tom Baker bloke looked like...
   Doctor Who Magazine

 VICTIMS

Not entirely sure why the Doctor says 'Waagh!' here, but it seems to make  Gevaunt hungry...

SCRIPT: Dan Abnett
ART: Colin Andrew
LETTERS: Enid Orc
EDITOR: Gary Russell

ISSUES: 212 - 214
COVER DATES: 11 May - 6 July 1994

On Kolpasha, Brenna Frall, having just sprayed herself with Vitality hypo-spray, is murdered, despite the computer claiming that she is alone. The Doctor and the second Romana, meanwhile, are attempting to replenish the TARDIS wardrobes among the fashioneers on Kolpasha. Gevaunt, Noma and Vachis meet in secret, believing that Kolpasha represents everything sick and twisted in the human condition and plotting revenge. The instrument of their revenge is the perfume Vitality. The Doctor and Romana visit fashioneer Dara Clayd, but find her murdered. As they attempt to discover from her computer what befell her, they are caught by Kolpashan security.

They are detained by Madlen Xel of Kolsec, who informs them of Brenna Frall’s murder but who realises their innocence after watching the computer log. Having viewed the inventories of both victims’ homes, the Doctor and Romana realise that both used Vitality hypo-spray. Gevaunt, Noma and Vachis meet again, but Noma notices blood on Gevaunt’s sleeve. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Romana visit an old friend called Racheem Al-Hite, and Romana uses his chemical analysis equipment to study a sample of Vitality. She discovers that the hypo-spray really does reverse human ageing, but that repeated use causes human flesh to biodegrade to a protein compound, making human beings easier to digest. The Doctor meanwhile investigates the Vitality warehouse but is discovered by Gevaunt... who transforms into a hideous alien.

The Doctor identifies Gevaunt as a Quoll, a rapacious carnivore that has eaten the Reft Sector bare. But humans are indigestible to the Quoll, so they require them to use Vitality to make them edible. Romana and Racheem report their findings to Madlen Xel who is eventually convinced enough to interrogate Noma and Vachis. The Doctor arrives, and Gevaunt shortly after, but he is back in his human disguise. The Doctor tempts him into revealing his true form by spraying himself with Vitality. The Quoll kills Noma and Vachis before the Doctor sprays it with Vitality. The creature promptly exlodes.

Issue 212
Issue 213
Issue 214

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Like most of these latter day strips using old Doctors, this tries hard to capture the feel of the original era, gets the dialogue more or less right but still feels like pale imitation rather than the genuine article. The artwork, meanwhile, fails to capture decent likenesses of either the Doctor or Romana, the latter coming out particularly unflatteringly. There are also a couple of panels where it is not clear at all what is supposed to be happening.

  Doctor Who Yearbook 1995

Like the annuals before them, the Yearbooks were published in the year preceding the cover date.

 THE NAKED FLAME

Doctor Who Yearbook 1995

SCRIPT: Warwick Gray
ART: Charlie Adlard
COLOUR: Steve Whitaker
LETTERS: Jane Smale
EDITOR: Gary Russell

On Vortis, the Doctor and Sarah revive a wingless Menoptra named Jresta who was investigating strange energy emissions in the area. Together they discover a strange structure of fused silica, but are confronted by a Menoptra called Vursus with his troops. Despite the Doctor’s protestations, Vursus orders one of his men to break off a fragment of the structure, but when he does, the structure emits a bright light that draws the winged Menoptra to it, destroying them utterly. The Doctor saves Vursus. The structure is sentient and called Cylenx, a parasite from ancient Vortis, made dormant by the power of the Animus but now growing strong by feeding once again on the Menoptra. The Doctor destroys the Cylenx by shattering its crystalline structure with the sonic screwdriver.

That never stopped Captain Jack...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
This is slight and derivative rubbish by any standards, but it is also some of the most horribly and inexpertly drawn rubbish you are ever likely to see, making Adlard’s previous contribution to the 1994 yearbook look like a work of art in comparison.

  Doctor Who Magazine Summer Special 1995

 THE SEVENTH SEGMENT

Fourth405

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
More poor likenesses and horrible artwork, but here only masking a frothy runaround that thanklessly riffs on ideas from the Key to Time season.

SCRIPT: Gareth Roberts
ART: Paul Peart
LETTERS: Elitta Fell
EDITOR: Gary Russell

On Vyga 3, right under the noses of surveilling mobsters, the Doctor seizes a briefcase that he believes to be a segment of the Key to Time. When the mobsters intervene, K9 stuns them and the Doctor and Romana beat a hasty retreat to a cafe. There K9 analyses the case and declares that it is not a segment, but something similar enough to confuse the tracer. As the Doctor, his curiosity piqued, tries to open the case, they are surrounded by rival mobsters. Escaping the rival gang, the time travellers head back to the TARDIS, but there they are met by both gangs of mobsters now in an alliance. The Doctor surrenders the case and he, Romana and K9 retreat inside ther TARDIS. The mobsters open the case, but it contains a fluctuating chronon wave, which kills the mobsters horribly. The Doctor and Romana continue their quest.

Give him the property, Doctor, and we can all get on with something more interesting...
  Doctor Who Yearbook 1996

Like the annuals before them, the Yearbooks were published in the year preceding the cover date.

 STAR BEAST II

Fudge makes a return after fifteen years. Yay for Fudge!

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Okay, so this is an insubstantial revisiting of ideas last seen in Star Beast, but it’s also a lot of fun. A particular delight is seeing Fudge all grown up, but it’s also a nice touch that the Doctor was heading for Uniceptor IV, as he told Sharon at the end of Dreamers of Death that any attempt to visit her there would probably land him in Blackcastle!

SCRIPT: Gary Gillatt
ART: Martin Geraghty
COLOUR: Paul Vyse
LETTERS: Elitta Fell
EDITOR: Scott Gray

The Meep comes up for parole and his freedom is restored after fifteen years of incarceration. However, the black star drive with which he enslaves races has been removed from his ship, so he is forced to return to Earth to collect the secondary drive. The Doctor, meanwhile, intending to visit Sharon on Uniceptor IV, arrives in Blackcastle at the new multiplex cinema run by Mr Higgins. Leaving K9 in the TARDIS, he decides to watch a Lassie film.

The Meep arrives and holds the Doctor at gunpoint whilst it detonates a grenade to expose the secondary black star drive buried beneath the complex. During the explosion, the Doctor escapes and runs into Mr Higgins - Fudge, now grown up (see here). The two men run to the projection room, where the Doctor uses the projector as a black light receiver, imprisoning the Meep in the film he was watching - the Lassie film.

Doctor Who Yearbook1996

 JUNKYARD DEMON II

Doctor Who Yearbook1996
Bad idea No.1347...

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Adrian Salmon was an inspired choice when reprising the look and feel of the original Junkyard Demon strip, and he does a good job too of giving this strip its impressive visuals. The colour work, too, is bold and excellent. Story-wise this doesn’t do much more than remind us of the original, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

SCRIPT: Alan Barnes
ART: Adrian Salmon
LETTERS: Peri Godbold
EDITOR: Scott Gray

Joylove McShane arrives on planet A54 attempting to buy out Arrold Flotsam and Halbert Jetsam’s lucrative Cyber-reconditioning business. When they refuse, he attempts the same by more intimidating techniques - his manservant Stinker. The Doctor arrives and runs into Dutch, Flotsam and Jetsam’s robotic ‘living sculpture’ who explains what has happened. The Doctor confronts Joylove McShane, who reveals himself to be a gunrunner working for Eric Klieg and the Brotherhood of Logicians. McShane activates the Cybermen, but they refuse to obey him and he, Flotsam, Jetsam and the Doctor are forced to flee. The Doctor wires Dutch into the Cybermen’s mainframe, effectively making him a Cybercontroller, who is then able to shut down the Cybermen. However, one survives, and it is aboard McShane’s ship as he and Stinker beat a hasty retreat. It kills them both. The Doctor blows up the Cybership on A54, but Jetsam has found a pod of Cybermats he thinks he can turn into robot boot polishers. The Doctor beats a hasty retreat.

Er... perhaps because they're not robots, mate. Serious mistake to make...
   Doctor Who Magazine

 BLACK DESTINY

What is this Doctor's latterday propensity for saying 'Waagh!'?

SCRIPT: Gary Russell
ART: Martin Gerghaty (pencils), Bambos Georgiou (inks)
LETTERS: Elitta Fell
EDITOR: Gary Gillatt & Scott Gray

ISSUES: 235 - 237
COVER DATES: 14 February 1996 - 10 April 1996

Takhail, USSR, 1986, and eleven-year-old Piotr Arkady is caught in a strange blast. Exactly one hundred years later, his great grandson prepares to open the Troika Cultural Centre on the site of Takhail village. The Doctor, Sarah and Harry arrive on their way to Loch Ness and are immediately mistaken for members of the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.). There have been a number of fatal and near-fatal accidents, with more happening all the time. Harry is struck down after investigating the cafe, but Gregor Arkady refuses to delay the opening of the centre, and he has the zombified remains of the victims to enforce his will.

Abandoning Harry, the Doctor, Sarah and a worker named Ivan Milov escape, and the Doctor and Sarah go immediately to Gregor’s office to discover something about the man. Ivan, meanwhile, goes back and rescues Harry, taking him to the medical centre where Harry hopes to find out what makes Ivan immune to the transformation. Sarah discovers papers about nuclear accidents in the 20th Century, but before she and the Doctor can act on them, they are attacked by zombies. Sarah escapes but is immediately captured by some other force (see here for more information). Returned immediately, she races to tell the Doctor what she has worked out, but the Doctor has tried to appeal to Arkady’s humanity, something Arkady has no interest in. The man begins to transform, causing a huge explosion.

The Doctor survives the blast, but Arkady has transformed into a huge incorporeal cloud. Harry realises there is something odd about the structure of Ivan’s blood cells. They are attacked by a zombie, but it dissolves when it touches Ivan. They race to tell the Doctor. Sarah has realised that Takhail was devastated by Chernobyl, killing everyone apart from Arkady over a ten year period. Now Arkady wants revenge for those that perished, and heads off to Moscow. The Doctor, Ivan, Harry and Sarah follow in the TARDIS where the Doctor confronts Arkady. The creature attempts to kill the Doctor, but Ivan intercedes. Positive meets negative and Arkady is destroyed. As the time travellers depart, they are watched by the same unknown force that abducted Sarah... (See here for more information)

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Black Destiny tries its hardest to make us feel the Season 12/13 vibe, even paraphrasing lines from Revenge of the Cybermen and Pyramids of Mars, but its use of Chernobyl and nuclear fears leaves us in no doubt that this is a product of a later time. Its use of Chernobyl instead of a fictitious disaster makes me feel uneasy, and not in a good way, because this genuine tragedy is being exploited for what is - in essence - a piece of fluffy fiction with an extremely poor resolution and a ludicrous explanation for that resolution. The artwork feels very static with no sense of dynamism and with extremely poor likenesses of the regulars.

Issue 235
Issue 236
Issue 237
   Viz

 DOCTOR POO

Issue 78

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown

ISSUE: 78
COVER DATE: June/July 1996

The Fourth Doctor, accompanied in the TARDIS by Jamie McCrimmon, scours the universe looking for a nice quiet place to relieve his  bowels. He finds himself thwarted by Cybermen, Sea Devils and the Master (who is recovering from a wild night out on Xeraphas), before finally landing on Skaro where he makes use of Davros’ own personal toilet.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Incredibly juvenile, very rude and also rather funny, this one-off one page strip has clearly been created by someone with more than a passing acquaintance with the series, as references to Metebelis III, Xeraphas and the Master’s TARDIS in the shape of a grandfather clock abound, though Jamie’s inclusion is strange. It is not to be confused with the considerably more innocent (but admittedly not as amusing) Doctor Poo from 1976!.

You will appreciate, I hope, my reasons for blurring out one of the words. Never used to happen in TV Comic...
   Doctor Who Magazine

 THE FANGS OF TIME

Issue 243

SCRIPT & ART: Sean Longcroft
LETTERS: Elitta Fell
EDITOR: Gary Gillatt & Scott Gray

ISSUE: 243
COVER DATE: 25 September 1996

Not strictly speaking a story featuring an adventure of the Fourth Doctor, but more a meta-fictional account of watching the television adventures of the Fourth Doctor and the process of growing up and becoming a fan of the show.

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
Echoing my own life almost exactly (slightly different timescale, but there you go), and I suspect the lives of many others, this beautiful, haunting, poetic and, above all, deeply honest strip is just a delight from beginning to end. Ruminating as it does on what it means to be a fan and perfectly capturing what it is that we get out of Doctor Who, this is just one of the most elegant strips ever printed.

Oh he's definitely got it.
   Doctor Who: The Forgotten
In Romana's defence, it's a common mistake to make on first seeing a mime artist...

SCRIPT: Tony Lee
ART: Stefano Martino
LETTERS: Richard Starkings
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton

ISSUE: 3
COVER DATE: October 2008
REPRINTS:
Doctor Who: The Forgotten, ‘graphic novel’, IDW April 2009.

This story is a mini-story told within a much larger tale. To see the larger tale, click here.

In Paris, 1999, the Doctor and Romana see a mime artist disappear through a vortex. They follow and find themselves in the catacombs beneath the city, where

they are soon confronted  by French soldiers from 1810. The Doctor and Romana head East and spot the mime artist who leads them to a Minotaur called Taureau. The Minotaur demands they answer three riddles. If they fail, then he will eat them. If they succeed, all captives will go free. Romana wrongly answers his first riddle, but the Doctor has picked the Minotaur’s pocket whilst offering it a jelly baby and taken the key to the catacombs. Mime artist and Minotaur vanish as the door is opened.

Issue 3Graphic Novel 2009

ALTERED VISTAS SAYS:
So, you choose an evocative setting, create an interesting puzzle as the Doctor meets soldiers from two hundred years  ago, then throw it all away on some nonsense about a riddle-setting Minotaur. That the Doctor does nothing more ingenious than pick the creature’s pocket shows the absolute lack of imagination on display in this badly drawn strip.

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