Trouble seems to follow the Doctor around wherever he goes. True, he oftentimes goes bounding eagerly into it headfirst, but even when he tries to plan an innocent daytrip with an old friend, it somehow can’t help but devolve into playing The Most Dangerous Game with a rebel contingent of intelligent ant-beings.
In “Train-Flight,” the Seventh Doctor goes to visit former companion Sarah Jane Smith—the first time we’ve seen him with a companion at all in these comics. She’s got herself a life and a career since the Fourth Doctor last left her and is no longer up for gallivanting around the galaxy in a little, blue box; however, the Doctor merely wants to take her to a jazz concert at Albert Hall. To keep the trip as casual and uneventful as possible, they even opt to get to the concert by train instead of by TARDIS. Of course, the train is immediately sucked through a wormhole onto an alien ship, where we meet the aforementioned ant-beings (the Kalik), who begin to hunt them for sport.
It’s a unique adventure to be sure, and a fun read in general, though the stakes aren’t as high in this one as they have been lately. True, the Doctor and Sarah Jane are fighting for their lives, but last month saw the Doctor fighting to save an entire race from the Daleks—and then the entire universe! Last month also had a chain-sword. I worry that nothing will ever measure up again—in these comics, or indeed in life—if it doesn’t have a chain-sword.
The pacing is better in this issue than in last month’s, though. Whereas last month we bounced frantically from one adventure to another with barely enough time to catch our breath, “Train-Flight” is the only adventure chronicled in Doctor Who Classics #5, and it wraps up neatly by the end. While it’s fun to have a couple of different stories in one issue, each with a very different tone, the three-part arc worked better for this one, allowing it a chance to build the world and the story better.
All-in-all, this is a good read. The Doctor Who Classics comics always are, which is why I keep reviewing them. The appearance of a companion finally, though, does make me wonder: Will we ever get to see the Seventh Doctor’s regular companion, Ace, in any of these? I do hope so . . .