Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #3
I don’t normally bother reviewing wrap-up issues for miniseries, but this one deserves a few notes for doing things well in unusual fashion.
“Operation Volcano” began in Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #1, written by Andrew Cartmel and illustrated by Christopher Jones. It involves the discovery of a spaceship in the Australian Outback, a conspiracy group, alien “snakes” that possess people, and other touches that bring home the 60s time setting. Although the Doctor (the Seventh, obviously, originally played by Sylvester McCoy) isn’t jaunting around in the TARDIS during much of the story, there’s a good amount of future science and even a time-travel mystery (how did THAT character end up THERE?). And of course, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
This issue did several things right. They twisted many of the assumptions the reader was led to make in the first issue. Someone who seemed a victim turned out to be a hero, and our allegiances may have been swayed by stereotypes. Explanations were provided that made it all work together and revealed new insights for events from earlier in the story.
I loved that Ace (originally Sophie Aldred) had a significant role that demonstrated her compassion, not just her fierceness. And she wasn’t the only significant female character, which is one way the comics often improve on the original TV shows.
There’s a good amount of action, in addition to the exposition. That’s handled much of the time by characters other than the Doctor, although he weighs in at key moments. That keeps that inscrutable-but-knowing feeling.
At times during the wrapup, events seem a bit abrupt, but better that than stuff dragged out beyond the need. I thought the characters were faithful and the story thought-provoking.
The collected edition will be available in November, if you’d like to read the whole thing. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)