There are times when you want a story that pushes the boundaries of what can be done within the medium that it’s being told; there are others where you want a straightforward tale that sets up a situation, throws its protagonists a few loops, and then resolves everything satisfactorily. And that’s what Rat Trap is – a Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Turlough story that splits our heroes up, throwing them all into different perils that illuminate certain facets of the enemy, and then brings them back together in a way that doesn’t feel artificial.
I’ve not always been a fan of Tony Lee’s Doctor Who work for IDW Comics, but he’s nailed the characterisation and set up here with continuity references to the rest of the Fifth Doctor stories as well as the wider Doctor Who universe working well.
It is a little disconcerting to learn that the first character we meet is called Kevin – in a story about rodents in the 1980s, I was waiting for some form of Roland Rat reference – but if this was a deliberate move, it’s nicely understated.
Verdict: Were it not for a certain gruffness in Peter Davison’s voice, you could well believe that this was a unbroadcast story from the 1980s – perhaps the highest praise it can be given. 8/10
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Also reviewed this month: The Companion Chronicles: The Cold Equations