TV Comic – The First Doctor. The Hijackers of Thrax

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A cargo ship, en route to Venus from Earth mysteriously vanishes. It’s not the first time one of these ships has gone missing, which spells trouble for those anxiously watching back on Earth. “Another supply ship lost! If we don’t get to the bottom of this mystery soon our colony on Venus will be starved out!”

Who can be responsible? It’s a space pirate called Captain Thrax, that’s who. And make no mistake he really is a pirate – complete with a striped jumper, eye patch and a nice line in pirate talk. Frankly all he’s missing is a parrot and a peg leg.

You could never say that scientific accuracy was one of TV Comic‘s priorities, something which is clearly demonstrated by the cunning way that Thrax remains undetected from Earth observation. His space station is covered by a cloud. A cloud in space, how exactly does that work? Never mind, let’s press on.

The Doctor, John and Gillian, having landed on the space station, find themselves prisoners – locked up along with the crews from the captured spaceships. Luckily the ever-resourceful John has an escape plan – he takes a bar of soap (don’t ask) and puts it on the floor. When the guard comes in, the inevitable happens.

If you get the sense that this adventure has been a little strange up until now, the best is saved for the final instalment. Cornered by Thrax’s guards, the only weapon that the Doctor and the others have to hand is the stolen food. This leads the Doctor to utter one of my favourite TV Comic lines. “Use the vegetables! We’ve nothing else to defend ourselves with!” Sheer brilliance.

And the vegetables come in very handy, as not only are they used to beat off the guards but Doctor Who (as ever, very keen to incite others to violence) tells John and Gillian to throw the spuds at Thrax’s mist-making machinery. Once that’s put out of action, Thrax’s goose is really cooked.

The Hijackers of Thrax is a fairly short story, which is something that works in its favour (ten weeks of potato-based action might have been too much, even for me). It’s another tale that bears only scant resemblance to TV Who, but no fear as the next strip promises something closer to canonical action (“DR WHO meets the ZARBI on the Web Planet”).

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