Thursday, 2 August 2012

Comic Strip Time Team: A Religious Experience

"I think we're about to replace that worm as the locals' God."

Writer: Tim Quinn
Artist: John Freeman
Published: Doctor Who Yearbook 1994 (1993)

TARDIS Crew:  First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Vicki (mentioned only), 7th Doctor (cameo)
Chronology: Takes place before 'The Chase'.  Or to be more precise it can only really take place between the first two scenes of 'The Chase'.
Time & Space: The planet Seetar, time unknown

Story: The Doctor and Ian are exploring a beach on the planet Seetar when they save a member of a native tribe from being eaten by a giant worm.  It turns out that the worm was a tribal god and the tribe now set about making the Doctor and Ian their new gods.  However, when the high priest prepares to make a human sacrifice in their honour, the Doctor and Ian decide to take their leave - not before Ian has knocked out the priest - and they leave in the TARDIS

Many years later, the Seventh Doctor returns to the planet to find the tribe still worshipping images of the First Doctor and Ian and making sacrifices.  He declares that it's time this came to an end...

Mark's Remarks: Another story written by a writer who I think is better known for his humorous work.  For those who don't know, Tim Quinn, amongst other things used to write a short humorous strip each month in DWM called 'Doctor Who?', which at the time used to be one of my favourite parts of the magazine.  This is a rather more serious affair but, if I'm honest, there's nothing much about the story that particularly stands out for me.

The regular characters are well characterised.  Ian and the Doctor get all of the action as Barbara only appears briefly at the end and Vicki is mentioned but not seen.  One nice touch I thought was Ian's wonder at the beauty of the alien world he was exploring.  At this point in time he would have been travelling with the Doctor for close to two years so it's nice to see that he can still be impressed by it all.  

The Seventh Doctor's cameo appearance at the end is a bit of a surprise although it fits with his character.  On TV he made a habit of sorting out long-standing issues from his past (Remembrance of the Daleks, Silver Nemesis and so on) so it makes sense that he would step in here to deal with repercussions of his earlier visit.  We never find out what he does to end the sacrifices but, as the Seventh Doctor by this time had been built up to almost god-like proportions through various novels and comic strips. one imagines that it involved more than giving the natives a stern talking to. 

In terms of artwork, I've always enjoyed John Ridgeway's work ever since I first encountered it during the tail-end of the Sixth Doctor's comic strip run.  There's some good stuff here although he tends to use a lot of photo references for the close ups of the Doctor and Ian.  Also the artwork is ruined slightly by the colour which just seems too garish for my tastes.  It would have benefited greatly by being toned down just a little.

Overall then, a nice little story marred slightly by some dodgy colouring.

Next up: Are You Listening?

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