We pick up Doctor Who – Operation Volcano #2 shortly after the events of issue #1 and… oh look, ‘curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal’ all over again as it turns out that we have yet more traitors inside the camp who promptly abscond with two hostages and leave the others to die in a radiation-filled sandstorm after disabling their vehicles. Typical, really. This IS Doctor Who, after all, and getting stabbed in the back is such a common occurrence the Doctor’s jacket should look more like mesh by this point.
Still, one bit of Gallifreyan ingenuity later and our characters live to be betrayed another day and our story continues with a quick swerve into You Only Live Twice territory with an actual alien base in an extinct volcano. We also finally get an explanation for the beginning of issue one where it turns out that the Doctor and his companions have, as often seems to happen, stumbled into the middle of a disagreement between two factions of an alien race, the “Crooks” and “The Feds”, as one of the aliens helpfully explains to Ace through the use of a mental link. We are reminded, once again, why Ace is one of the best companions the Doctor has ever had. When finding herself sharing a mental space with a giant alien worm, Ace nonchalantly points out –
“This isn’t my first rodeo. By the way, I hope you won’t leave a scar on my neck when you let go.”
It’s then explained that our naughty group of aliens have been subtly influencing the human race for centuries, using genetic engineering to assume the ideal form of any local culture, allowing them to exercise social and political power to obtain positions of influence, using this soft power to guide and manipulate rather than attempting to overtly dominate. As Ace wryly observes –
“And all it took for the bad guys to rise to the top of human society was a pretty face, eh? Yes, I guess we really ARE that shallow.”
And we end on the most important question. Now we know who and what the enemy are, how do we stop them? But we’ll need to wait for issue three for this to be answered!
As with the first comic, the highest praise that could be given here is that this feels like an adaptation of an actual Doctor Who storyline. The writing, the setup, the characterisation, the design of the aliens, it all feels like it could have been pulled straight from a Seventh Doctor episode.
We also have a continuation of our secondary story from issue #1 “Hill of Beans” where the Doctor works with his new werewolf acquaintance Mags to rescue Ace and her companions from prison. As is the Doctor’s modus operandi, this is accomplished through a combination of bluster, confidence and stolen paperwork that, sadly, goes a little awry and leaves the Doctor and Mags staring down the barrels of numerous guns while Ace gets ready to do what she does best – Solve her problems through the judicious application of high explosives.
Another solid issue, building up to the finale in issue three with still plenty of questions to be answered, like why on earth was Gilmore floating around in an alien spaceship nearly sixty years later? Tune in next time for the final part of Doctor Who – Operation Volcano! Same Tardis Time, same Tardis Channel.
Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #2 is now available from Titan Comics.