DW: Timeslip & The Star Beast Review

DW Timeslip and Star Beast

The Audio/Comic companion debut marathon arrives at the only new companion for the Fourth Doctor (currently, a new one is set to debut for Big Finish next year!) in the form of Sharon, who also has the distinction of being the first black companion full stop. Plus as a bonus, we have Timeslip, which… well, is a short story that doesn’t do much, but I try to double up the comic strips to avoid over-cluttering the Doctor pages! Let’s have a look at these slices of 70s comic Who!

Synopsis (of The Star Beast, which I know is technically called “and the Star Beast”, but that’s just annoying to write in a review article):

Pursued by Wrarth Warriors, Beep the Meep crashes his craft in Blackcastle, where he is found and hidden by school children Sharon and Fudge. The Doctor follows the flames of the neutron drive star cruiser and investigates, unaware that he is leading the Wrarth Warriors directly to the Meep, but the Doctor may soon find out that letting them reach the cute creature may be in the best interest of everyone…

Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!

Cast of Characters:

DW Timeslip and Star Beast 1

This panel pretty much tells you everything you need to know, really…

The Doctor (Tom Baker) – The Doctor is travelling with just K9 at the moment, Romana having been dropped off somewhere unspecified. Still, it gives him time to take a nice trip to the beach! … maybe… though, let’s face it, probably not.

Sharon Davies – A regular school girl from the town of Blackcastle who, along with her friend “Fudge”, are on the lookout for a recently sighted UFO crash…

K9 – The Doctor’s faithful companion, a robotic dog who can shoot paralysing lasers as much as he can deduce logic.

Beep the Meep – Beep the Meep is a tyrannical mass murderer who happens to look what Earthlings consider “cute”. He must take advantage of this and hide and regroup after his forces were wiped out…

Constable Zreeg and Sgt. Zogroth – Members of the Wrarth Warriors, intergalactic police army that have been tracking down and eliminating the Meep threat across the galaxy. All that’s left is their leader Beep, who has crashed on Earth…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW Timeslip and Star Beast 3

While I prefer the original black and white artwork, the colourised IDW re-releases are better for the blog pages. Makes everything a bit brighter…

The central premise of the story, as I’m sure you can tell via the character bios, is having a super-cute fuzzy character called Beep the Meep and have him turn out to be a mass-murdering psychopath, and the story does it well. It starts off with just an innocent creature being hunted by the scary insect men, and then he starts internally monologuing to himself about wanting to slowly kill the innocent children for treating him with such disrespect, and then we just get full on cartoon evil tyrant and his slave army for a finale. It’s a fun read, and in tone with these early  DWM comics and their lighter, more… well, comic approach to the series (and something the Fourth Doctor was well suited for!)

Sharon is a good companion, especially for the time. Young intelligent black girl who comes from a modest background may be quite common in Who in the last decade or  two, but this was written and published in 1980, so it’s nice to see. I mean, she doesn’t get to do much beyond shelter Beep, get possessed by Beep, and then help put a stop to Beep, but for an eight four-page-long comic story, that’s fine! The main thing is that she boards the TARDIS and goes off on some adventures with the Fourth Doctor, something no-one else has done outside of TV stories (again, until early 2019…)

I do also like some of the side characters, especially the Wrarth Warriors, whose names of Zreeg and Zogroth can only be gotten away with in this kind of comic story. They start off as “evil”, even planting a bomb in the Doctor’s body and trying to detonate it when he’s near the Meep, so they’re not the nice kind of police, but in the end they’re trying to put a stop to someone far worse, so… I guess that’s okay? Hmm… an interesting topic for such a light and silly comic strip!

The artwork is great as well, that old British detailed black and white comic style. The colourised version released by IDW is good too, if you want more of a colourful punch to the story.

The Bad:

DW Timeslip and Star Beast 4

A lovely bit of artwork, even if a lot of the images are just traced-over photos…

I’ll put Timeslip here, but it’s not bad as much as it’s non-eventful. The Doctor hits some sort of space anomaly and begins to retro-regenerate into his past selves before his first incarnation manages to put a stop to it and revert everything back to normal. Turns out it was some sort of deep space amoeba that got weaker every time the First Doctor switched his TARDIS on and off again. So, it’s not much of a story as it was an excuse to include some shots of early Doctors, a first for the comic strip. My main problem is a lot of the artwork is clearly just traced photos from the show, particularly the First Doctor. Overall it’s only eight pages long, and inoffensive, but not particularly worth talking about either…

The Continuity:

DW Timeslip and Star Beast 2

Meep! Meep! Indeed…

As well as his previous selves, The Doctor also sees images of past foes, from The Master to Daleks, Cybermen to … Movellans… It’s quite the splash page, as you can see above

Beep the Meep returns in the Fourth Doctor comic aptly named “Star Beast II”, and then makes his acted debut in the Sixth Doctor audio drama freebie “The Ratings War”.

Overall Thoughts:

Doctor Who and the Star Beast is a fun and very comic story, with a evil-but-cute villain and a good, if not basic, companion introduction. Timeslip is okay, and has significance in being the first time the comics brought back old Doctors, but there isn’t much to it. I guess I’ll have to split the scores here then!

Timeslip –

3 Star Read

Doctor Who and the Star Beast –

4 Star Read

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