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 December 2013[update], it remained the last Seventh Doctor strip printed in the pages of DWM. Although the Seventh Doctor made several more comic appearances after Word, most extensively in IDW Publishing's The Forgotten, this was the last story in which he exclusively starred. Similarly, it was the final comic story to feature either of his companions.
Although the Seventh Doctor had been in one full-colour strip 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, the only Seventh Doctor DWM comic to be digitally coloured.
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. The sudden reappearance of the older Ace in DWM also meant a return to the continuity of even earlier strips, as her very last appearance in the magazine some five years before was set in another continuity where she unambiguously died as a teenager.
Readers steeped in the lore of the New Adventures would have understood the strip easily, and as a result cited Ace's re-emergence in DWM as a repudiation of her "blasphemous" death in Ground Zero. Fans would have also enjoyed the first visual depiction of the Chelonians, a race long used in other media by the strip's writer, Gareth Roberts. Although the story did not feature 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, the Timewyrm. The Last Word also included fan-servicing meta-textual elements, such as the reference to the idea that the Doctor himself wrote all of the New Adventures novels, and a panel in which a conveniently-placed chessboard 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 criticism 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, causing it to emerge from Puterspace to taunt the Doctor about his obvious trap. At first it seems that Timewrym has the upper hand, able to pull the Doctor into Puterspace, but he 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 Anne Robinson, telling the Timewrym, "You are the weakest link. Goodbye." However, it is he who leaves Puterspace, not the Timewyrm, inverting the common trope.
- Benny enjoys 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 feature much 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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