The Shape Shifter was the first Sixth Doctor comic strip published in Doctor Who Magazine. It introduced the shapeshifting Frobisher as a new companion and also featured the return of Josiah W. Dogbolter.
Late at night, a clerk is working in his office. He does not know his phone is a Whifferdill spying on him. He calls his wife to tell her he'll be working late at the office. In truth, he's going out with another woman. The Whifferdill transforms into a pigeon to go to his office and inform his client. He flies over the city but is attacked by an owl and makes a crash landing in a dustbin. The Whifferdill becomes a burger and is picked up by a tramp, who takes a bite out of him. The Whifferdill, now a burger with eyes, legs and arms, flees.
The Whifferdill is Avan Tarklu, a private investigator and now back to his original state. He arrives at his office to check his messages. He sees a wanted message for the Sixth Doctor for 250,000 mazumas. He disguises himself as a fly, flying through bars. After four nights he finds the Doctor and flies in his glass of chocolate soda to slip him a mickey. The waiter notices Avan Tarklu as a fly and takes the glass while the Doctor leaves. The waiter empties the glass into the sink, while the Whifferdill transforms himself into a fish and gets outside, into an alley, back in his original shape. The Doctor goes to his TARDIS, where he's attacked by two men with vibroknives. The Doctor handles one attacker, but the second pulls out a gun. The Whifferdill attacks. His right hand becomes a boxing glove and knocks the second attacker unconscious. The Doctor, unaware of the Whifferdill, goes into his TARDIS and sets the co-ordinates to Greenback Bay, Venus. Avan Tarklu sneaks on board, transforms himself over the TARDIS' time rotor and hijacks the ship.
The TARDIS has been hijacked by Avan Tarklu, a Whifferdill private investigator. He demands the Doctor fly the TARDIS to Venus. Otherwise, he will suffer "sandwiches that bite back, terror at bath-time, shoes that fly away with you". The Doctor, miffed, says he was planning to go to Venus. If the Whifferdill wanted a lift, he just has to ask. The Whifferdill, however, says that rather than wanting a lift, he wishes to turn the Doctor in for 250,000 mazumas.
On Venus, near the building of Intra-Venus, Inc., the TARDIS materialises and security goes into action, surrounding it. Dogbolter, thinking it a trap, gives the order to "knock it off, but evacuate the building first". A spaceship flies to the building, shoots it with rockets, leaving the building in ruins, but without a scratch on the TARDIS. A white flag appears from within the TARDIS with a paper aeroplane. The plane, a list of demands, is brought to Dogbolter and read by his robot. The Whifferdill will exchange the Doctor for 250,000 mazumas and the TARDIS for 500,000. Dogbolter agrees to the first, so the Doctor is exchanged by a bearded old man, armed with a bazooka and wearing an Australian hat (with corks hanging from the brim) that covers his eyes. The old man takes the money, goes back in the TARDIS and dematerialises.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is brought to a cell with two security guards. One opens the cell, but when he turns around, he sees that the Doctor is gone and that there is another guard. The guards conclude that one of them is a fake. One of the guards shoots at another one, to be sure it's not the Doctor. The other flees in terror. The guard who shot turns out to be the Whifferdill, who was the Doctor and a guard. The TARDIS materialises and the old man steps out. He is the real Doctor. The Whifferdill hops on board. The money will be split 50/50. As the TARDIS dematerialises, the Whifferdill decides to stick around, leaving the Doctor with no choice but to let him stay.
- This comic was reprinted as part of the Voyager graphic novel 1989 and Voyager graphic novel 2007.
- It was also reprinted in DWMAC 5.
- It was reprinted in Doctor Who Classics Series 3 1 and Doctor Who Classics Volume 6.
- This comic was first appearance of Frobisher. Although at this point, he still goes by "Avan Tarklu".
- The first words spoken by the Sixth Doctor in his comic book tenure are; "What..?"
- Mazumas are the unit of currency for the bounty on the Doctor's head. Mazumas were first mentioned in COMIC: The Free-Fall Warriors.