Doctor Who and the Free-Fall Warriors — or The Free-Fall Warriors — was an important comic strip in the latter days of the Fourth Doctor's run in Doctor Who Magazine. Its titular characters were the first to be spun out of the Magazine into the larger Marvel UK universe. It was also the first Marvel Doctor Who strip to introduce a recurring character who wasn't a regular companion, Dr Ivan Asimoff.
The Doctor has decided to vacation at the Festival of Five Planets. At the central "festival planet", he enjoys playing some video games and indulging his sweet tooth with tempting sundaes. There, he meets Dr Ivan Asimoff, a non-human who seems to share a number of features with his apparent human namesake. A writer of science fiction, Asimoff is intensely excited to meet a Time Lord like the Doctor.
WIthin a few moments of the start of their conversation, the TARDIS comes under siege by a group of rowdy strangers, who have mistaken it for some kind of vending machine or video game. The Doctor protests when they repeatedly bang on its exterior, trying to get it to "work". The four strangers calm down when the Doctor describes the blue box as a "vehicle". They quickly protest the possibility. They introduce themselves as "the Freefall Warriors", and suggest that the Doctor knows nothing about actual racing vehicles. The Festival of Five Planets, it turns out, sponsors a space race — and the Warriors challenge the Doctor to be a part of it.
He accepts for Asimoff and himself. Soon the pair are bundled off in the spacecraft belonging to Machine Head, one of the Warriors. Machine Head takes an early lead. Unfortunately, his speed lands him into the path of an oncoming fleet of Space Raiders. These Raiders intend to disrupt the Festival, and are using one of the elements of the race to help them. The race, it turns out, was supposed have a "mock battle" as one of its features. Thus, Machine Head is caught unawares when he encounters their fleet. Only after his craft takes damage and plunges toward a nearby planet does he realise the attack is frightfully real.
The Doctors are called upon to help repair the ship during the unexpected pit stop. Meanwhile, Machine Head contacts his fellow Freefallers and warn them of the impending attack. The others react quickly enough to begin picking off the Raider fleet. When the Doctors effect repair, Machine Head re-enters the fight. By this time, the main opposition left is the Raider Leader. Machine Head uses his craft's unique quality to dispense with his attacker. Since his craft can withstand the effects of a star, he plays a game of "chicken" with the Raider Leader, tempting the Leader to fly straight into the local sun.
Back at the space station, the Warriors request reciprocation from the Doctor. Since they showed him their vessels, he should take them for a ride in his TARDIS. The Doctor surmises they likely won't find the flight stimulating, given the ride he's just endured. He begs off, preferring to find a nice, quiet part of the festival planet where he and Asimoff can indulge in good conversation and decadent sweets.
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- Fourth Doctor
- Dr Ivan Asimoff
- Freefall Warriors
- Festival Organiser
- 5 Planets TV crew
- Harry, a cameraman
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- The name of this story is problematic. In the first place, few fans today refer to it by its full title, opting to omit the precedent Doctor Who and. In the second, the main part of the title is spelt differently on each part. For part one, it's The Free-Fall Warriors. For part two, it's The Freefall Warriors. The likelihood is, however, that Free-Fall was a mistake, as the Warriors are consistently referred to as Freefall throughout the text of the story.
- The origin of the Freefall Warriors was later told in Marvel UK's Doctor-less story, Warworld, printed in January 1985's Captain Britain #1.
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