Doctor Who: Voyager

This is the first volume of Sixth Doctor comic strips that were originally published in Doctor Who Magazine. Significantly, these stories introduce Frobisher, the Doctor’s shapeshifting companion who spends most of his time in the form of a penguin. Frobisher is absolutely delightful, and I enjoyed the adventures of the two of them. Here’s an overview of each story in the collection.

The Shape Shifter by Steve Parkhouse

The first story in the collection sees Frobisher tracking down the Doctor because of a bounty on him – naturally, the two of them end up working together. It’s a tongue-in-cheek detective style story and it’s good fun seeing Frobisher using his powers to mess with the Doctor. One panel shows him pretending to be a bath while the Doctor gets in him – hilarious. A bit bare-bones, but a good introduction.

Voyager by Steve Parkhouse

This was a really interesting and trippy story. Here the Doctor and Frobisher encounter a man named Astrolabus, a mysterious individual in possession of a collection of ancient star charts. The Doctor has nightmares about a bizarre entity named Voyager, and it seems Astrolabus has some connection to him. I won’t say much, but it gets into the lore of the Doctor Who universe really nicely.

Polly the Glot by Steve Parkhouse

Here the Doctor and Frobisher get involved in a movement to protect an alien species known as Zyglots. Not bad by any means, but less interesting than most of the others in the collection – though it does keep the previous storyline about Astrolabus going.

Once Upon a Time-Lord by Steve Parkhouse

The start of this story was a little bit confusing, because it felt like it was continuing after another story that should have gone between this and Polly the Glot, but it didn’t. But, that aside, this was a fun story that sees the Doctor and Frobisher entering the word of fairy tales. Another very trippy one, and a nice example of a story that could really only work on the comic format (with some panels kind of morphing into a storybook). This also brings a close to the story arc about Astrolabus, in an unexpectedly dark and twisted way.

War-Game by Alan McKenzie

This story sees the Doctor and Frobisher getting sold into slavery on a planet that feels a bit like a generic fantasy setting. Things pick up a little bit when a Draconian character is introduced, as I have always liked that species. All-in-all though, this was one of the less notable stories in the collection.

Funhouse by Alan McKenzie

Another mind-bending story that sees the Doctor and Frobisher inside a strange inter-dimensional funhouse. I don’t want to spoil any of the unexpected surprises, but there are lots of fun references to the past in this one. Definitely one of my favourites in this volume.

Kane’s/Abel’s/The Warrior’s/Frobisher’s Story by Alan McKenzie

This final story is a grand finale that sees the Doctor working together with old friends from previous stories in this volume, as well as reuniting with Peri, in order to help combat the Skeletoids – an evil race so powerful that even the Daleks and the Cybermen have fallen to their might. It’s a really cool story to round off the collection with and I was pleased to see Peri added to the mix (even if her presence is a headache for the timeline).

I think fans of the Sixth Doctor will definitely get a lot of this volume, and really I think any Doctor Who fan with an interest in the expanded universe should give it a try so that they can get to know Frobisher. He’s such an iconic character and I love that the Doctor travelled with a penguin for a while. The stories are weird and quite unlike anything that would have been on TV in this era, and I think that’s exactly what Doctor Who comics should be.

Rating: 8.1/10

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