Pureblood was a four-part Seventh Doctor comic story published around the 1992-1993 Christmas season. It showed "ancient", non-cloned Sontarans, gave readers a rationale for why the Sontarans evolved into a clone race, and also served as a prequel to The Sontaran Experiment. Indeed, it offered a plausible explanation why Styre would have been seemingly unacquainted with Earth or humans in the distant future, even though Sontarans must have collected extensive data on the planet during the events of The Poison Sky, among others.
Pureblood is also important for furthering the then-close ties the Doctor Who Magazine comic stories were trying to forge with the Virgin New Adventures books by introducing Benny into the strip. While those fans who had never read a New Adventures book might have been completely confused by the sudden replacement of Benny for Ace, those who had been dutifully following along would have picked up on a number of continuity beats between the two ranges.
The story contained some of the earliest visual depictions of Benny. Penciller Colin Howard's interpretation long predated either Lisa Bowerman or Adrian Salmon's involvement with the character, leading to a Benny quite dissimilar to the "Big Finish Benny".
Sontara, the home world of the Sontarans is about to fall. Their mortal enemies, the Rutans, are the apparent cause of their demise, but Marshal Stave and his men have little time to analyse the situation. They have only enough time to load the racepool into his flagship, the Warburg, and get into the comparative safety of space. The ship narrowly escapes as Sontara explodes.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, the Seventh Doctor and his new companion, Bernice "Benny" Summerfield, arrive on the orbital genetics laboratory called the Pandora Spindle. Though owned by the Lauren Corporation, it's affiliated with the Terran Federation, if only because its crew are dominantly human.
No sooner have they surprised one of these humans than the Pandora Spindle is attacked and occupied by a Sontaran assault force. The Sontarans want to turn the world the humans are researching, Pandora, into a new homeworld. However, a Rutan spy who had been masquerading as the human Modine contacts the Host's allies — pureblood Sontarans who see the clones as weak and impure.
With the Pandora now about to be beset by both Rutans and Pureblood Sontarans, the Doctor quickly hatches a plan to save the Sontarans, turn back the Rutans and help the humans with one fell swoop. He convinces Marshal Stave that if he can broker a peace between him and his distant cousins, and then defeat the Rutans, all he'll need is one tiny little favour in return. The Marshal agrees, so the Doctor presses Benny into service. She goes off to the brig where the humans are keeping their Rutan "guest".
The Doctor, meanwhile, materialises the TARDIS onboard the lead Pureblood ship and takes a surprise audience with Vord. He tries to convince the leader that the Rutans are deceiving the Purebloods into destroying the clone Sontarans. Vord is sceptical, having no reason to think the Rutans his enemy. The Doctor therefore chooses to offer proof.
He establishes communication with Benny, who is by now face to face with Modine. In full view of the Purebloods, she gets the Rutan spy to disclose the full Rutan plan, which includes the destruction of the Purebloods after they kill the clones. Vord changes his tune almost immediately, and he joins the Doctor in the TARDIS for a quick hop back to Pandora. There, the two Sontaran groups reconcile and turn their might against the Rutans, who are successfully repulsed.
Marshal Stave then gets the Doctor's bill. In return for this victory, the Doctor wants Stave to breed out of the racepool all memory of humanity, thereby giving humanity a relief from Sontaran encroachment for centuries to come. The Sontaran agrees, cognisant of the fact that he has a lot of rebuilding to do. Stave transports the humans on Pandora back to Terran Federation space, and begins the long process of rebuilding the Sontaran Empire, using the planet beneath the station as their new home world.
As she slips back into the TARDIS, Benny isn't convinced the Marshal will keep up his end of the bargain. The Doctor is more optimistic, because he's already lived through it. As he tells his new assistant, "Earth will be spared Sontaran interference for a long time. Until a Field-Major called Styre comes along, actually."
- Seventh Doctor
- Bernice Summerfield
- Pureblood Sontarans
- Chief Lora
- Rutan Host
- Benny mentions Heaven, the planet on which the Doctor first encountered her.
- The Rutan-Sontaran War is the backdrop against which the story is told.
- Unusually, the story contains a glaring editorial error. At the top of part one, the opening narration establishes that it's the 26th century. Part two's opener, though, says it's the 25th century. Which is right? Part one. Not only does it tell the century, but it gives corroboration: it renames the 26th century as the time when "the Second Dalek War has ravaged the stars". Since Frontier in Space and other stories set during the time of the Second Dalek War also point to the 26th century, it appears as though editor John Freeman dropped the ball on part two.
- Immediately obvious in the script is the overwhelming presence of the word cruk, a swear word Paul Cornell had gifted to Benny in her very first story. As a percentage of total word count, this story is likely one of the "sweariest" in the history of Doctor Who across all media.
- This story provides a retcon to the television episode The Sontaran Experiment by having the Sontaran Empire suddenly "forget" about humanity. This explains how Sontarans could be so unfamiliar with humanity in Experiment while also being knowledgeable of humans in stories set before the events of Pureblood. It should be noted that stories such as The Crystal Bucephalus and A Good Man Goes to War indicate that the Sontaran Empire interacted with humanity in the period between Pureblood and The Sontaran Experiment.
- The Doctor is shown here wearing his light jacket, but by the next story he is back to his dark jacket. This doesn't actively contradict the television series, but it's different than his approach on television. There, we're led to believe that once he abandoned the light jacket, it was gone for good. This, of course, was because the dark jacket was created by the costume designer because the light jacket was no longer available to use. In comics, where those real world concerns didn't exist, Marvel UK artists flipped between the two.
- In the commentary for the Emperor of the Daleks collection, Dan Abnett says he sees a "hint of the Ogrons" in Colin Andrew's art of the purebloods, and wonders if there could be a possible link between the species.
- The Doctor says that Benny has just joined his crew. (PROSE: Love and War)
- The Doctor says the Sontaran-Rutan War started when both races expanded their empires and ran into each other "ten centuries ago", implicitly making Linx a fighter from the earlier days of the war (though "ten centuries" would need to be an approximation as TV: The Time Warrior is set earlier than the 16th century). The Doctor will later say in the 21st century that the war has been going on for "fifty thousand years". (TV: The Poison Sky)
- When discussing why he's saving the Sontarans, the Doctor refers to questioning if he 'has the right' in TV: Genesis of the Daleks.
- According to another account, the Sontarans were genetically engineered by the Kaveetch as an attempt to protect their homeworld from the Rutans. (AUDIO: The First Sontarans)