Hello and welcome to Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor – Operation Volcano #3, the final issue of this little arc. Did we mention the James Bond outing You Only Live Twice in the last review? Because parts of this really are You Only Live Twice. With aliens.
It transpires that our “Crooks” have apparently got tired of exercising soft power to get what they want, and have instead manufactured this whole scenario to get their hands on a working spaceship which they promptly load with nukes, planning to then take off into orbit and use the threat of nuclear annihilation to make the rest of the planet capitulate to their demands.
Their plan is disrupted at the last moment when the Doctor, Ace, and the army, parachute into the hidden volcano lair and proceed to make rather a mess of both the Crooks and their plan. During this melee Delafield and Gilmore climb into the alien ship and fight toe to toe, ending with Delafield being unceremoniously ejected from the ship to the floor far, far below, and Gilmore left trapped inside as the ship takes off into orbit.
Poor Captain Gilmore, sacrificing everything he knows to keep the world safe. It’s just a shame we don’t know anyone with a time machine who can rescue him from the far future and return him to mere moments after he’s meant to have left… a real shame. Mmmhmmmm.
The story wraps up nicely with everyone back where they should be, our crooks recaptured and the Feds returned to their home planet. All’s well that ends well. Just one last lingering complaint: Ace never calls the Doctor “Professor”. Not once. What a shame, but we can’t have it all!
Operation Volcano is classic Doctor Who at its finest, a storyline that easily could have been plucked from the showrunner notes for the Seventh Doctor’s ill-fated TV run. Ace and our human characters are front and centre for most of the story, with the Doctor providing explanation and context. but again, as is this incarnation’s style, he’s content to simply nudge people along where they need to go. This incarnation of the Doctor always came across as something of a subtle manipulator, usually for the right reasons but not always, and this is communicated nicely in this comic incarnation.
Hill of Beans, meanwhile, our side story regarding the Psychic Circus from The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, wraps up in fine style with explosions, an attempted coup, redemption for some of our characters and just punishments for others. As a whole it’s nowhere near as strong as the main storyline, but it’s been interesting to see the writers going back to revisit these characters from the original series again and developing them further.
Operation Volcano is a lovely look at what might have been with the Seventh Doctor, and it’s good to know that Sylvester McCoy’s cheeky, mysterious incarnation of Gallifrey’s most famous son lives on in both comic and audiobook format.
Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #3 is now available from Titan Comics.