The Last Word was a Doctor Who Magazine comic story which celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Virgin New Adventures. Consequently, it featured the Seventh Doctor, Benny and an older Ace. As of June 2013[update], it remained the last Seventh Doctor strip printed in the pages of DWM. Though the Seventh Doctor did make a few more comic appearances after Word — perhaps most extensively in IDW Publishing's The Forgotten — this was the last story in which he exclusively starred. Similarly, it was the final starring gig in comics for both his companions.
Although the Seventh Doctor had been in one fully-coloured story before, this was the character's first appearance in the pages of DWM after the magazine permanently moved to a colour strip. As a result it is, by some distance, the Seventh Doctor DWM comic that had the most sophisticated use of colour.
To those fans who followed the comic strip, but not the New Adventures, the story would likely have made little sense. Coming as it did over seven years since Benny's last appearance in a DWM comic story, and in the middle of the Eighth Doctor's run, the story was surprising for its lack of narrative introductions. Timewyrm, Puterspace, Benny, and Smithwood Manor all went without explanation in the narrative. Worse, the sudden reappearance of the older Ace in DWM contradicted her very last appearance in the magazine some five years before, when she unambiguously died.
Readers who were steeped in the lore of the New Adventures would have likely gobbled up all the continuity references, and seen Ace's re-emergence in DWM as a repudiation of her "blasphemous" death in Ground Zero. Such fans would have also enjoyed the first visual depictions of the Chelonians, a race long used in other media by the strip's writer, Gareth Roberts. Although the story ignored later New Adventures characters like Chris Cwej sand Roz Forrester, it celebrated the range by reuniting the Seventh Doctor with his opening New Adventures foe, Timewyrm. The Last Word also included fan-servicing meta-textual elements, such as the hint that perhaps the Doctor actually wrote all the New Adventures novels and a panel in which a conveniently-placed chess board is in the foreground as the Doctor stands, out-of-focus, behind. Similarly, both Ace and Benny angrily questioned why adventures with with the Doctor "always [had] to be so bloody complicated" — a common assessment of the New Adventures.
In the time vortex, aboard the TARDIS, the Seventh Doctor is attempting to write a novel about his adventures with Benny and Ace. As he writes, he recounts a recent adventure with the duo. He writes about the time that they were all together at Smithwood Manor, and how he worked on a trap to lure Timewyrm into a trap. He sends Benny to the 1980s to join a band, and Ace to the future to tackle the Chelonians.
These are weak points in the Web of Time, and the women's tampering brings about fundamental change to the flow of time. This gives Timewrym something to feed upon, so it soon emerges from Puterspace to taunt the Doctor about his obvious trap. At first it seems that Timewrym has the upper hand, because the Doctor is pulled into Puterspace. But the Doctor springs a trap within a trap and Timewrym is soon denied the ability to transit between Puterspace and real space. The Doctor has achieved his final victory over the meddlesome Timewyrm.
Back in the TARDIS, as the Doctor finishes writing up the story, Ace realises that she once again has been used as bait in one of the Doctor's schemes, and Benny is left to wonder why travelling with the Doctor is always so "bloody complicated".
- To indicate his victory, the Doctor quotes the then-popular Anne Robinson by telling Timewrym, "You are the weakest link. Goodbye." The twist is, though, that he disappears from Puterspace, leaving Timewyrm trapped inside.
- Benny is shown to appreciate single malt whiskey.
- Spandau Ballet are said by an audience member to have a better lightshow that the band Benny's playing with.
- The gates to Smithwood Manor are shown in some detail, and are interesting for their vandalism. The "Allen Road" side has been changed to read "Alien Road", while the "beware of the dog" sign has been altered to "beware of the god".
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