Thursday

Doctor Who Notes 5

The Cybermen are the showcased villains of the fifth season of Doctor Who, appearing in the opening and closing stories. Also of note is the introduction of the series’ longest-running recurring character, the stalwart military man Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, better known later as “The Brigadier,” in a story that lays the foundation for the “UNIT” concept that would soon play an integral role in the Doctor Who mythos. New facts about the Doctor also come to light.


From “The Tomb of the Cybermen”

Still on Skaro, the Doctor brings the newly-orphaned Victoria Waterfield aboard the TARDIS for the first time, and he and Jamie McCrimmon explain to her its nature.

Victoria: Flight?
Jamie: Well, yes. You see, we travel around in here through time and space.
The Doctor: Oh, no, no, no, no. Don’t laugh. It’s true. Your father and Maxtible were working on the same problem. But I have perfected a rather special model, which enables me to travel through the universe of time.
Victoria: But how can you? I mean, if what you say is true, you must be -- er, well -- how old?
The Doctor: Well, if we count in Earth terms, I suppose I must be about … four hundred … yes, about 450 years old. Yes, well … quite.

They depart, and the TARDIS soon materializes on the planet Telos, where they find an archaeological expedition investigating the lost citadel of the Cybermen five centuries since their last appearance. The creatures are merely in suspended animation, however, and are revived through the treachery of two of the team members. The humans are able to seal the Cybermen in their cryogenics complex, but must remain in the upper levels of the citadel while their sabotaged spaceship is repaired. During the night, the Doctor has a heart-to-heart talk with the grieving Victoria.

The Doctor: Are you happy with us, Victoria?
Victoria: Yes, I am. At least, I would be … if my father were here.
The Doctor: Yes, I know. I know.
Victoria: I wonder what he would have thought if he could see me now.
The Doctor: You miss him very much, don’t you?
Victoria: It’s only when I close my eyes. I can still see him standing there … before those horrible Dalek creatures came to the house. He was a very kind man. I shall never forget him. Never.
The Doctor: No, of course you won’t. But, you know, the memory of him won’t always be a sad one.
Victoria: I think it will. You can’t understand, being so ancient --
The Doctor: Eh?
Victoria: I mean old. You probably can’t remember your family.
The Doctor: Oh, yes, I can -- when I want to. And that’s the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they sleep in my mind, and I forget. And so will you. Oh, yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about, to remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.

The Cybermen are released by the traitors, but the creatures desire only the humans’ deaths. The humans fight them off using their own weapons, and the Doctor is able to place the creatures back in suspended animation and to seal the complex once again, leaving only a lone Cybermat outside. The Cyberman Controller, leader of their race, is destroyed in the battle. Despite the passage of time, the Cybermen recognized the Doctor as having foiled their 21st century attack on Earth’s moonbase.


From “The Abominable Snowmen”

The TARDIS returns to Earth, materializing outside a Tibetan monastery in the 1930s. Realizing he had been there some 300 years earlier, the Doctor rummages around and finds a ceremonial bell he intends to return. Reaching the monastery, the Doctor meets the young Professor Travers, who is investigating Yeti sightings. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria help Travers find the monsters, which turn out to be robots controlled by a non-corporeal alien being called the Great Intelligence, which is trying to create a physical form for itself on Earth. With the help of the Buddhist monks, the Doctor is able to sever the being’s link to this world, trapping it on the astral plane. Professor Travers continues his hunt for the true Yeti and the time-travelers depart in the TARDIS.


From “The Ice Warriors”

The TARDIS materializes in Britain roughly a thousand years in the future, when glaciers are rolling south, heralding the dawn of a new ice age. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find themselves in a remote scientific base where an ionizer is being used to halt the advancing ice. However, they discover a Martian spaceship and its crew of warriors frozen in the glacier, which they inadvertently revive. Learning that Mars has long since become a dead world, the warriors decide to conquer the Earth, but the ionizer is used to destroy their ship with the aliens on board.


From “The Enemy of the World”

The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find themselves embroiled in political intrigue when, arriving in futuristic Australia, the Doctor learns he looks exactly like the megalomaniacal Mexican dictator called Salamander. The Doctor impersonates Salamander, and when his plans lie in ruins, the dictator impersonates the time-traveler in an attempt to escape in the TARDIS. The Doctor arrives just in time, but Salamander manages to activate the dematerialization circuit. However, the doors are still open and he is sucked out into the time vortex. The danger is ended when Jamie manages to get the doors closed, and the travelers continue on their way.


From “The Web of Fear”

The TARDIS materializes in the London Underground, where the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria come under attack by Yeti robots. They are separated, and Jamie and Victoria are picked up by the army detachment battling the monsters. They discover the unit’s scientific advisor is Professor Travers, now some forty years older. Travers is, of course, astonished that Jamie and Victoria have not aged at all. They soon find the Doctor with the officer-in-charge, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart. Together, they battle against the monsters, but find their efforts hampered by a traitor in their midst. To their horror, the traitor is the reanimated corpse of Sergeant Arnold, controlled by the Great Intelligence, which is trying once more to take over the Earth. The alien being tries to drain the Doctor’s mental energy, but the Doctor’s sabotage destroys Arnold’s body and traps the Intelligence on the astral plane once again.

Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart first met the Doctor while he was a colonel in the British Army, leading an operation to rid the London Underground of the Yeti monsters and their mysterious web, which probably occurred around 1965. Shortly thereafter, partly in response to this crisis, the United Nations formed a special paramilitary force to investigate paranormal or extraterrestrial threats to the Earth. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, or UNIT, was headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with branch operations in different countries (probably the members of the U.N. Security Council) that were led by officers of that nation’s military on attachment to the special taskforce. Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to brigadier and set up the British branch, apparently with the help of Professor Travers, until he and his daughter Anne went to America. Four years after their first encounter, Lethbridge-Stewart and the Doctor met again, this time to fend off an invasion by the Cybermen. Needing a scientific advisor, Lethbridge-Stewart then recruited Dr. Elizabeth Shaw from Cambridge University, only to receive a report that the TARDIS had returned. Although mystified by the Doctor’s new appearance, the Brigadier was glad to have the time-traveler’s knowledge at his disposal, and made the Doctor UNIT’s official scientific advisor for the duration of his exile. The Brigadier took personal responsibility for the Doctor, as the Time Lord had no “official” existence on Earth, which undoubtedly made members of the U.N. Security Council nervous. Throughout the first half of the 1970s, the Brigadier oversaw a variety of missions, aided by Sergeant John Benton and Captain Mike Yates. In fact, he and the Doctor became friends over time, though the Brigadier never lost any of his upright military bearing. In 1976, Lethbridge-Stewart retired from UNIT and the military and took a position teaching mathematics at an English boys’ school, his UNIT post taken over by a Colonel Creighton. Then in 1977, he suffered a nervous breakdown following a strange encounter with the TARDIS, after which he suppressed all memory of the Doctor. It wasn’t until six years later that his memory was restored and he learned the truth about that strange encounter, which involved the Doctor and an alien named Mawdryn. A few years later, the Brigadier was scheduled to give a speech at what was probably the 20th anniversary of UNIT, when the Doctor’s second incarnation turned up and they found themselves whisked away to the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey, where the Brigadier encountered three of the Doctor’s other incarnations as well, and learned a bit about Time Lord history. Returned to Earth, Lethbridge-Stewart eventually retired from his teaching post and married his long-time love, Doris, settling down in a large house in the country. Sometime after the year 2000, Lethbridge-Stewart met the Doctor once more, helping him to drive a cadre of Arthurian knights back to their own dimension, saving the Doctor’s life and killing a monster in the process. UNIT was involved as well, still going strong and under the leadership of Brigadier Winifred Bambera. Realizing he was getting too old for such adventuring, Brigadier Lethbridge-­Stewart resigned himself to a quiet domestic life in his garden.


From “Fury From the Deep”

The TARDIS materializes on the North Sea, off the coast of England, and the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria row ashore in a rubber raft. They soon find themselves helping to defend a gas refinery from a strain of killer seaweed. Once the creature is destroyed and the travelers are ready to depart, Victoria elects to give up adventuring and remain behind to live with Frank and Maggie Harris, workers at the refinery. The Doctor and Jamie are both disheartened by her decision.


From “The Wheel in Space”

The TARDIS eventually finds itself aboard a spaceship, and its mercury fluid links overheat, forcing the Doctor and Jamie to evacuate. The Doctor removes the time vector generator and takes it with him. However, the vessel is adrift, and the two travelers are rescued when they pass a space station known as the Wheel. Here they meet Zoe Heriot and must defend the Wheel from a group of Cybermen hidden aboard the derelict vessel. The Cybermen hope to use the space station as a beacon for the Cyber Fleet to invade the Earth. The Doctor patches the time vector generator into the station’s weapon systems to enable it to destroy the Cyber Fleet. When they are ready to depart, they find Zoe has stowed away aboard the TARDIS.

Zoe Heriot was born in the 21st century, studied astrophysics, and was the librarian on a space station when she saw a chance to travel through time and space. Her mathematical skill and photographic memory proved valuable, but her time with the Doctor was cut short when the Time Lords brought them to Gallifrey and sentenced the Doctor to exile. Zoe was returned to the space station just after the Cybermen were defeated, her memory of subsequent events suppressed. It is unknown what affect this psychic tampering had on her mental health. Perhaps her adventures with the Doctor resurfaced in her mind as nightmares.


Next Season


Friday

Doctor Who Notes 4

With its fourth season, Doctor Who made television history, when a new actor took over the lead role and the change in appearance was made part of the story. Rather than trying to find someone similar to William Hartnell, the producers decided to take the show in an entirely new direction. Their choice, Patrick Troughton, famously interpreted the character as a “cosmic hobo” and gave the Doctor a fresh new attitude. The Daleks returned to ease the transition, and a new recurring menace was introduced in the form of the Cybermen.


From “The Smugglers”

The TARDIS materializes on the coast of Cornwall in the seventeenth century, where the Doctor, Ben Jackson, and Polly Wright get mixed up with a band of pirates seeking a hidden treasure and a smuggling ring led by a corrupt squire. When the local militia moves in, the time-travelers slip away unnoticed and depart.


From “The Tenth Planet”

The TARDIS arrives in Antarctica in December 1986, where the Doctor, Ben, and Polly help the soldiers and scientists at a space program installation fend off an invasion by Cybermen, whose home planet, Mondas, has traveled into the solar system and is draining energy from the Earth. When Mondas is destroyed by absorbing too much energy, the Cybermen die, unable to survive without their planet’s energies. Totally exhausted from his recent adventures, and complaining that “this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin,” the Doctor staggers back to the TARDIS and collapses after hurriedly setting the controls. The ship dematerializes, and as Ben and Polly look on in astonishment, the Doctor’s appearance completely changes. He has regenerated for the very first time.


From “The Power of the Daleks”

The Doctor’s post-regenerative symptoms are slight: blurred vision and a drumming sensation in his head. His amazed companions try to understand what they have just witnessed, but the Doctor’s vague and elliptical comments are of little help. Ben finds the Doctor’s ring on the floor.

Ben: The Doctor always wore this. If you are him, it should fit. That settles it!
The Doctor: I’d like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it spreads its wings!
Polly: Then you did change!
The Doctor: Life depends on change… and renewal.
Ben: Oh, that’s it, you’ve been renewed, have you?
The Doctor: Renewed? Have I? That’s it, I’ve been renewed. It’s part of the TARDIS. Without it I couldn’t survive.

While the Doctor is engrossed in his 500-year diary, the TARDIS materializes on the planet Vulcan, where an Earth colony has been established. The Doctor passes himself off as an examiner from Earth in order to infiltrate the colony, having witnessed the murder of the examiner in the mercury swamps outside. The Doctor becomes even more concerned when he discovers that the colony’s scientists are attempting to reactivate some Daleks discovered in a ship which crashed there 200 years earlier. The scientists are successful, and though the Daleks at first claim to be subservient, when they are all revived, they attack the humans. With the help of the Doctor, Ben, and Polly, the colonists destroy the four Daleks.


From “The Highlanders”

When the TARDIS materializes in Scotland in 1746, the Doctor, Ben, and Polly are captured by a group of Highlanders on the run from the English army. However, they join forces when they are taken prisoner by the army and nearly sold into slavery by a crooked solicitor. The Doctor smuggles arms aboard the slave ship and the Highlanders set sail instead for France. One of their number, however, a lad named Jamie McCrimmon, leads the time-travelers back to the glen in which waits the TARDIS. The Doctor invites Jamie to join them.

James Robert McCrimmon was perhaps the Doctor’s most fiercely loyal companion and they traveled together for a long time. Jamie saw many wonders during his travels, including meeting the Doctor’s future self and visiting his home planet of Gallifrey. Sadly, however, at the start of the Doctor’s exile to Earth, the Time Lords returned Jamie to 1746 Scotland, his memories of all but his first adventure with the Doctor suppressed. It is unknown whether these memories ever resurfaced, or what affect this had on his psyche, if any.


From “The Underwater Menace”

The Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie run afoul of a mad scientist in the underground city that is the last vestige of the kingdom of Atlantis. While claiming that he will raise Atlantis to the surface, the scientist actually plans to destroy the Earth by draining the oceans into the molten core, the resultant superheated steam causing a massive explosion. The city is flooded and the villain drowned, but the Atlanteans and mutated fish-people both survive the catastrophe.


From “The Moonbase”

The TARDIS goes out of control and materializes on the moon in 2070, where a facility has been built to control the weather on Earth. Inside the moonbase, the Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie find a mysterious plague infecting the personnel. The plague has been introduced by the Cybermen, who plan to take over the base and destroy mankind by manipulating the weather. The first wave of Cybermen are destroyed by solvents sprayed from fire extinguishers, and the Doctor uses the base’s gravity-manipulating equipment to repulse the rest of the invasion force.


From “The Macra Terror”

The TARDIS next materializes on an Earth colony planet which appears on the surface to be a utopian society, but is in reality utterly controlled by giant crab-like creatures who use the humans to mine a toxic gas they need to breathe. The Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie resist the brainwashing attempts of the Macra creatures, and by destroying the means by which the gas is pumped from the mines, free the colonists from the Macra’s mind control.


From “The Faceless Ones”

The TARDIS returns to England in 1966, materializing at an airport, which causes the Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie trouble with the immigration office. While hiding in a hanger, Polly sees a man killed by an alien ray gun. This leads the time-travelers to uncover a plot by a race of featureless aliens to steal the identities of a number of human victims. Ben and Polly are left behind when the Doctor and Jamie go to the aliens’ orbiting space station for a final confrontation. Once they are reunited, however, Ben and Polly elect to stay behind, finding themselves back in their proper place and time. The Doctor and Jamie return to the TARDIS only to watch helplessly as it is stolen.


From “The Evil of the Daleks”

The Doctor and Jamie follow a trail of clues in order to recover the stolen TARDIS, which eventually leads them to an antique store where all the merchandise looks curiously new. They have walked into a trap, however, as they are gassed into unconsciousness. When they awaken, they find themselves transported one hundred years into the past. They meet the man who organized the theft, Edward Waterfield, and his associate Theodore Maxtible, both of whom have come under the evil influence of the Daleks, who are holding Waterfield’s daughter Victoria hostage. The Daleks want the Doctor’s help with a little genetic engineering. When the Doctor succeeds in “humanizing” three Daleks, they are all transported back to Skaro, where the Doctor learns the true Dalek plan -- to isolate and implant “the Dalek factor” into human minds, using the Doctor and his TARDIS to spread this “Dalek factor” throughout space and time. The Doctor refuses to cooperate, and manages to trick the Daleks into implanting “the human factor” into more of their number. A civil war breaks out between the two Dalek factions, during which Waterfield dies saving the Doctor from a Dalek blaster. With his last breath, he asks the Doctor to look after his daughter. As the Dalek war rages on, the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find their way to where the Daleks had stored the TARDIS.

Victoria Waterfield joined the Doctor on his travels when her father was killed and her home blown up by the Daleks. Having led a rather sheltered life up to that point (June 1866), she often found their adventures overwhelming, and when the opportunity presented itself to resume a normal life in the twentieth century, she took it. After losing everything she knew and being terrorized by various monsters before settling down some hundred years into her future, Victoria probably faced a difficult period of adjustment with the Harris family on the North Sea Gas refinery.


Next Season


Tuesday

Doctor Who Notes 3

The third season of Doctor Who is notable mainly for its massive thirteen-part Dalek story, which both introduces and kills off companion Sara Kingdom, brings back the Meddling Monk, presents a madcap Christmas episode, and features one segment in which neither the Doctor, the TARDIS, nor any of his companions make an appearance. The season also sees a couple of cast turnovers, ending once again with a brand-new complement of traveling companions.


From “Galaxy Four”

The TARDIS materializes on a nameless desert planet, where the Doctor, Vicki, and Steven Taylor find two spaceships which crashed after a space battle. Their ship destroyed, the humanoid Drahvins try to force the time-travelers to help them commandeer the less-damaged Rill ship. However, the Doctor realizes that the Rills, despite their monstrous appearance, are a peaceful race, and assists them in blasting off before the planet breaks apart. The warlike Drahvins are left to die.


From “Mission to the Unknown”

Space Security Service Agent Marc Cory discovers the Daleks have established a base on the planet Kembel and are planning an invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy in the year 4000 A.D. He prepares a report on his findings, but before he can send it, he is discovered by the Daleks and exterminated.


From “The Myth Makers”

The TARDIS materializes in the middle of the Trojan War, and the Doctor ends up among the Greek soldiers while Vicki and Steven are captured by the Trojans. Forced to aid the Greek siege, the Doctor uses the idea of the Trojan Horse which he’d read in Homer. Meanwhile, the Trojans come to believe that Vicki is Cressida, and when she falls in love with Priam’s son Troilus, she decides to remain behind with him. When Steven is injured in the battle, a servant girl called Katarina helps him into the TARDIS. The ship dematerializes while she is still on board.


From “The Daleks’ Master Plan”

The TARDIS now materializes on Kembel in 4000 A.D., where the Doctor, Steven, and Katarina find Space Security Service Agent Bret Vyon investigating his fellow agent’s disappearance. They discover Cory’s report on the Dalek scheme and set off to warn the Earth government. However, the human leader, Mavic Chen, is in league with the Daleks, helping them to prepare their ultimate weapon, the time destructor. The Doctor and his companions steal the weapon’s power core and escape in Chen’s ship. When they are forced to land on a prison planet, a psychopathic convict named Kirksen boards the ship. However, Katarina sacrifices herself to save her friends, and she and the criminal are flung out into space. Mavic Chen then sends Vyon’s own sister, Space Security Service Agent Sara Kingdom, to hunt them down. She kills Vyon before the Doctor can convince her that Chen is the traitor. The Daleks chase the TARDIS through time and space to retrieve the power source. On the planet Tigus, the Doctor again encounters his fellow renegade Time Lord, the Meddling Monk, who betrays him to the Daleks. The Doctor meddles with the Monk’s time capsule, stranding him on a planet of ice. Catching up with the Doctor in Ancient Egypt, Mavic Chen forces the Doctor to surrender the power source. They return to Kembel, where the Daleks exterminate Chen. The Doctor is able to tamper with the time destructor so that when it is activated, it destroys the Daleks. Unfortunately, Sara Kingdom is caught in the time distortion and rapidly aged to death.


From “The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve”

The TARDIS finds its way to Paris, France in 1572 and the Doctor goes off to visit a noted apothecary. Meanwhile, Steven is befriended by a group of Huguenots, and together they discover the plot of the Catholic queen to massacre the Protestants. Steven finds the Doctor and they retreat to the TARDIS as the massacre begins.

The TARDIS materializes once again in London in 1966, and, believing it to be a real police box, young Dorothea Chaplet rushes inside and is whisked away from Earth. “Dodo,” as she calls herself, reminds the Doctor somewhat of Susan, whom he still misses. This may be the reason he allows her to accompany them. She travels in the TARDIS only a short time, before leaving the Doctor’s company as suddenly as she came.


From “The Ark”

The Doctor, Steven, and Dodo find themselves on a gigantic spaceship ten million years in the future, which is transporting life specimens from the doomed planet Earth to a new world, Refusis II. Dodo has a cold, which becomes a plague among the crew, who have no resistance to it. The Doctor devises a cure and the travelers go their separate ways. However, the TARDIS merely shuttles ahead 700 years to when the ship reaches Refusis II. They discover Dodo’s virus has enabled the alien servants, the Monoids, to enslave the humans. After a battle, the Doctor is able to persuade both races to colonize the planet together.


From “The Celestial Toymaker”

The TARDIS appears in a parallel universe presided over by a powerful, immortal being called the Celestial Toymaker. As he looks on menacingly, the Doctor, Steven, and Dodo must pass a series of childlike tests. The Doctor outsmarts the Toymaker, and as the TARDIS dematerializes, the Toymaker’s universe is destroyed.


From “The Gunfighters”

When the Doctor develops a toothache, the TARDIS materializes in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, where the Doctor seeks out the dental services of Doc Holliday. This leads him, Steven, and Dodo to become embroiled in the shootout at the OK Corral.


From “The Savages”

The TARDIS lands on a world where a race of Elders perpetuate their society on the stolen life-energies of a race of savages. The Doctor, Steven, and Dodo try to end the exploitation, and succeed when the leader of the Elders is influenced by the Doctor’s character after siphoning off some of the Time Lord’s life-energy. United, the Elders and Savages then ask Steven to remain with them as their new leader. He agrees, and the Doctor and Dodo go off without him. Steven’s subsequent fate is unknown.


From “The War Machines”

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Dodo back to London in 1966. When the Doctor senses a sinister force emanating from the impressive new General Post Office Tower, they go to investigate and find a new supercomputer called WOTAN. The computer is sentient and plans to take over the world, and soon has Dodo and others under its hypnotic sway. The Doctor proves himself an adept hypnotist by freeing Dodo from its influence. A dozen mobile War Machines are built to WOTAN’s specifications, and they attack London, but the Doctor is able to reprogram one and turn it against its creator. As he is about to leave, Ben and Polly, who helped in the fight against WOTAN, bring him a message from Dodo that she wants to remain in London. Although the Doctor apparently has every intention of going on alone, Ben and Polly slip inside the TARDIS just before it dematerializes.

Polly Wright was working as a secretary for the chief scientist in charge of the WOTAN project when she met the Doctor. Taking Dodo for an evening at her favorite nightclub, the Inferno, Polly introduced herself to a gloomy sailor named Ben. When she fell under the computer’s mental control, Ben helped her break free. They then joined the Doctor on his travels and witnessed his first regeneration. When the TARDIS finally brought them back to their proper place and time, Polly decided to resume her life -- her many travels having occurred within the space of a day.


Ben Jackson, a merchant seaman, was spending his evenings at the Inferno nightclub as he was depressed over getting a shore posting when his ship, the HMS Teazer, sailed for the West Indies. It was here that he met Polly Wright and they made a lunch date for the next day. When Polly couldn’t be located, his inquiries led him back to the Doctor, who asked Ben to do some investigating for him. Thus drawn into the Doctor’s adventures, he and Polly joined the Doctor on his travels and witnessed his first regeneration. When the TARDIS finally brought them back to their proper place and time, Ben decided to resume his life -- his many travels having occurred within the space of a day.

Ben and Polly became very close during their time aboard the TARDIS, and started from an obvious sexual attraction to each other. However, being returned to the very day they left might make them eventually wonder if it had happened at all. Whether this situation created a bond between them or caused them to drift apart is unknown. They both had the chance to resume their former jobs without interruption.



Next Season



Thursday

Doctor Who Notes 2

The second season of Doctor Who sees the first major cast shake-up. By the end of the season, the Doctor has a completely new compliment of traveling companions. Another notable event ends the season, as we meet the first of many other renegades from the Doctor’s home planet, the troublemaker commonly called the Meddling Monk.


From “Planet of Giants”

A peculiar malfunction of the TARDIS miniaturizes the Doctor, Susan, Ian Chesterton, and Barbara Wright. Although they have returned to 1960s England, they are only an inch tall. However, they are still able to prevent an unethical scientist from unleashing a deadly pesticide.


From “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”

The Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara find themselves in 22nd century London only to discover the Earth has already been conquered by Daleks. The Doctor and Ian are captured while Susan and Barbara are rescued by a group of human resistance fighters. The four travelers are all soon separated, and find themselves with different members of the resistance movement, all making their way to the Daleks’ mining operation in Bedfordshire. There they discover the Daleks intend to convert the Earth into a gigantic spacecraft. However, they manage to turn the Daleks’ explosives against them, destroying the invasion force in a volcanic eruption.

Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor realizes that Susan has fallen in love with one of the resistance fighters, David Campbell, and as they are preparing to depart, David asks Susan to stay behind to marry him. She is torn between her love for him and her loyalty to her grandfather, so the Doctor makes the decision for her, locking the doors of the TARDIS. He then speaks to her over the communications system.

The Doctor: During all the years I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me.
Susan: Grandfather, I belong with you!
The Doctor: Not any longer, Susan. You’re still my grandchild, and always will be, but now you’re a woman, too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David, you’ll be able to find those roots, and live normally as any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David, and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Good-bye, Susan. Good-bye, my dear.

With that, the TARDIS dematerializes, and a clearly stunned Susan goes off with David. The Doctor must have certainly believed that living on her beloved Earth was a better life for Susan than the fugitive existence they had led since leaving Gallifrey. Also, with Earth’s population devastated as a result of the Dalek plague, the Doctor may have hoped that her advanced knowledge would help humanity recover. Susan would some years later be reunited with her grandfather on Gallifrey when they were both kidnapped as part of Borusa’s last scheme. It is unclear whether Susan’s alien physiognomy would pose any problems in adjusting to life on Earth, but her life-span would surely complicate her relationships eventually. If indeed she had many regenerations ahead of her, then humanity probably benefited from the presence of the mysterious woman named Susan for several centuries.


From “The Rescue”

When the TARDIS materializes in a cave on the planet Dido, Ian and Barbara go out to have a look around. The Doctor, however, elects to remain inside, claiming he wants to take a nap.

Barbara: Look, Ian, all the old associations are still in the ship. You can’t expect him to say goodbye to Susan and then forget about it the next minute.
Ian: No, I suppose not. I wonder what she’s doing now.
Barbara: If I know anything about David, she’s learning to milk cows.

The travelers discover a crashed spaceship from Earth with only two survivors, a gruff man named Bennett and a traumatized girl named Vicki, who have been menaced by a creature called Koquillion. However, the Doctor soon learns that Bennett and Koquillion are one and the same, part of Bennett’s scheme to get away with mass murder. When he dies in a fall, the Doctor invites Vicki to join them on their travels.

Vicki left Earth in 2493 after her mother died and her father took a job on the planet Astra. They were en route to Astra when the ship crashed on Dido and her father was killed in the explosion set off by Bennett that killed the rest of the crew and a number of Dido natives as well. Having no one to go back to, Vicki accepted the Doctor’s invitation and traveled with him until they arrived in ancient Troy and she fell in love with Troilus. Assuming the identity of Cressida, she remained behind to begin a new life -- one that, by all accounts, would end unhappily.


From “The Romans”

Upon materializing a few miles outside Rome in 64 AD, the TARDIS takes a tumble, but the Doctor decides to leave it hidden in the shrubbery. They move themselves into an empty villa and live peacefully among the Romans for a month until Ian and Barbara are kidnapped by slave traders while the Doctor and Vicki are visiting the court of Nero. The Doctor inadvertently inspires Nero to start the Great Fire of Rome.


From “The Web Planet”

A mysterious force captures the TARDIS and forces it to materialize on the planet Vortis, where the ship loses all power. However, the Doctor is able to open the doors by passing his ring before a lighted instrument, exclaiming it is “not merely a decorative object.” The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki discover the planet’s inhabitants, the moth-like Menoptra, have been subjugated by the ant-like Zarbi, which are under the control of an alien conqueror called the Animus. The Doctor’s astral map unit is damaged in overcoming the Animus, but the creature is ultimately destroyed.


From “The Crusade”

The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki to 12th century Palestine, where they find King Richard the Lionheart at war with the Saracen ruler Saladin. When Barbara is captured by the Saracen army, Ian rescues her while the Doctor and Vicki get into trouble at King Richard’s court.


From “The Space Museum”

When the TARDIS materializes in a museum on the planet Xeros, the travelers are shocked to find themselves among the displays. They set out to prevent this possible future from coming to pass, and in the process help a band of native rebels overcome their alien oppressors.


From “The Chase”

Aboard the TARDIS, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki are getting on each other’s nerves while the Doctor tinkers with a time-space visualizer, a device which can transmit images of any past event to its viewscreen. Among the displays is a view of the Daleks planning their revenge against the Doctor and his companions for foiling their invasion of the Earth. The Daleks have perfected a time machine of their own and intend to pursue the TARDIS throughout eternity, if necessary, until their enemies are exterminated. On the planet Aridius, the Doctor loses the TARDIS in a sandstorm, but the Daleks dig it out in order to destroy it, allowing the travelers to escape.

The Doctor: That’s my time-path detector. It’s been in the ship ever since I constructed it. But, you know, I don’t remember it registering before.
Barbara: What does it show?
The Doctor: Well, it surveys the time path we’re travelling on. The fact that it’s registering can only mean one thing!
Ian: Yes, go on!
The Doctor: There’s another time machine travelling on the same route!

The TARDIS then materializes on top of the Empire State Building in 1966, much to the surprise of a tourist from Alabama. Vicki recognizes it from her history books, stating the city was ultimately destroyed in the Dalek invasion. Next, the TARDIS shuttles back to a Victorian sailing ship, where the Daleks then drive the entire crew overboard. When the time machines materialize in a haunted house full of robotic monsters, Vicki is left behind in the confusion, prompting her to stow away aboard the Dalek time capsule.

Barbara: Isn’t there anything we can do? Is there no way of going back for Vicki?
The Doctor: You don’t think I’d be standing here doing nothing, do you, if there were? Hmm? We’re helpless! And you of all people should know the TARDIS can’t land in the same time and place twice!
Ian: Look, shut up! We’ve never stayed long enough in any one place to repair the time mechanism of the TARDIS! If we did, is there a chance of going back for Vicki?
The Doctor: Yes, of course it’s possible, but it might take months -- even years!

As both time machines arrive on the planet Mechanus, the Daleks unleash an android duplicate of the Doctor. Vicki is able to warn her friends, and the two Doctors battle each other until the robot is destroyed. However, the travelers are captured by the Mechanoids, spherical robots that are already holding prisoner a human astronaut named Steven Taylor. They manage to escape while the Daleks and the Mechanoids fight it out. Discovering the Dalek time capsule is now abandoned, Ian and Barbara decide to use it to get home. It returns them successfully to London in December 1965 before exploding. Overjoyed to be back, Ian and Barbara realize they must think of a way to explain their two-year disappearance. Once that was all sorted out, however, they most likely settled back into a normal routine, and it would come as no surprise if they eventually married.

Steven Taylor was an astronaut fighting an interplanetary war when his ship crashed on Mechanus. He was held prisoner by the Mechanoids for two years, until the Doctor and his friends arrived. Steven stowed away aboard the TARDIS while the Doctor was sending Ian and Barbara home. He traveled with the Doctor until being asked to remain on the planet of the Elders and Savages as their new leader. His subsequent fate is unknown.



From “The Time Meddler”

As the Doctor and Vicki discover Steven aboard the TARDIS, the ship materializes on the coast of England in 1066, where they find another member of the Doctor’s race, known only as the Monk, meddling with the course of history. Outraged, the Doctor sabotages the Monk’s time capsule, causing its interior to be reduced to miniature proportions.


Next Season



Tuesday

Doctor Who Notes 1

Long before the announcement that new Doctor Who episodes would be produced by the BBC, I decided it would be fun to write some scripts for myself. To research this project, I went through my collection of Doctor Who videos and made notes on the characters and situations that made up the show’s history. I was particularly interested in what was revealed about the Doctor and his background, and also what he had to say about himself. I found the results of this close viewing enlightening, and so I present my notes here for the benefit of all Doctor Who fans.


From “An Unearthly Child”

At the Coal Hill School, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, both teachers, confer with each other about a mysterious student, Susan Foreman, who is brilliant in certain subjects but ignorant of many routine matters. She has also apparently given the school a false address, as 76 Totters Lane proves to be nothing but a scrapyard. Intrigued by the mystery, the two teachers follow her home, but Susan disappears amidst the junk.

Barbara: Ian, look at this!
Ian: Why, it’s a police box! What on earth’s it doing here? These things are usually on the street -- Feel it! Feel it! Do you feel it?
Barbara: It’s a faint vibration!
Ian: It’s alive! It’s not connected to anything -- unless it’s through the floor.

Suddenly, an elderly man enters the yard and finds them snooping about, but when they question him he proves to be very evasive. They believe he has Susan locked inside the police box, and just as they are about to fetch a policeman, Susan opens the door and Barbara stumbles inside, followed by Ian. They are astonished to discover the box contains an enormous futuristic control room. Ian especially is confounded by the dimensional paradox.

The Doctor: I believe these people are known to you.
Susan: They’re two of my school teachers. What are you doing here?
Barbara: Where are we?
The Doctor: They must have followed you! That ridiculous school! I knew something like this would happen if we stayed in one place too long!
Susan: Why should they follow me?
Barbara: Is this really where you live, Susan?
Susan: Yes.
The Doctor: And what’s wrong with it?
Ian: But it was just a telephone box!
The Doctor: Perhaps.
Barbara: And this is your grandfather?
Susan: Yes.
Barbara: Well, why didn’t you tell us that?
The Doctor: I don’t discuss my private life with strangers.

The Doctor is very annoyed that these people have forced their way in and are now demanding explanations, and he takes a certain wicked glee in their attempts to understand the inexplicable. He tells Susan he has found a replacement for the faulty filament, and he appears to affect the repair during the discussion. The Doctor is concerned that their cover is blown, referring to the room as a ship, which Susan then calls the TARDIS.

Susan: Well, I made up the name TARDIS from the initials -- Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. I thought you’d both understand when you saw the different dimensions inside from those outside.
Ian: Let me get this straight -- a thing that looks like a police box standing in a junkyard, it can move anywhere in time and space?
Susan: Yes.
The Doctor: Quite so.
Ian: But that’s ridiculous!
Susan: Why won’t they believe us?
Barbara: Well, how can we?
The Doctor: Now, now, don’t get exasperated, Susan. Remember the Red Indian. When he saw the first steam train, his savage mind thought it an illusion, too.
Ian: You’re treating us like children!
The Doctor: Am I? The children of my civilisation would be insulted!
Ian: Your civilisation?
The Doctor: Yes, my civilisation! I tolerate this century, but I don’t enjoy it! Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles? Susan and I are cut off from our own planet, without friends or protection. But one day, we shall get back. Yes, one day. One day.

Susan begs her grandfather to let Ian and Barbara go, but he argues that they would surely report them to the authorities -- therefore, if he lets them go, they must also leave. But Susan refuses to leave the 20th century, saying the last five months were the happiest of her life. She says she would rather leave the TARDIS. The Doctor agrees and moves to the console, but instead of opening the door, he activates the dematerialization circuit and the ship is once again on its way.

The girl called Susan may or may not be the Doctor’s biological granddaughter but he apparently took her with him when he stole the Hand of Omega from the Time Lords and escaped Gallifrey in a hijacked time capsule, an obsolete Type 40 which was in for repairs. They then led a fugitive existence for some time, until arriving on Earth in 1963, where the Doctor was finally able to hide the stolen technology. They remained for five months, during which time Susan fell in love with the place. Their sojourn interrupted by her inquisitive teachers, they resumed their travels. Eventually coming to 22nd century London, Susan fell in love with David Campbell, a human resistance fighter, and the Doctor decided to leave her behind rather than force her to choose between them.

Ian Chesterton was a science teacher and Barbara Wright taught history at the Coal Hill School in London, England until they discovered the TARDIS and were whisked away against their will. Realizing the Doctor could not control the time machine well enough to bring them home, they soon settled into a new life as time travelers, their friendship deepening as they faced many perils and strange situations together. Their means of returning home was ultimately provided by the Daleks, when the Doctor enabled them to use the Dalek’s abandoned time capsule for a one-way trip back to London, arriving two years after they left.


From “100,000 B.C.”

The TARDIS hurtles some hundred millennia or so back through time, though once it has materialized, the readout indicates zero. The Doctor grumbles that it’s not functioning properly. Ian and Barbara still refuse to believe the pair’s stories of time travel.

The Doctor: What concrete evidence would satisfy you, hmm?
Ian: Just open the doors, Doctor Foreman!
The Doctor: Eh? Doctor who? What’s he talking about?

To prove his point, the Doctor leads Susan, Ian, and Barbara out into the barren landscape that has replaced Totters Lane. However, the Doctor is vexed that the TARDIS still looks like a police box -- another malfunction. Susan also is curious.

Susan: It hasn’t changed! I wonder why it hasn’t happened this time!
Barbara: The ship, you mean?
Susan: Yes, it’s been an ionic column and a sedan chair --
Barbara: Disguising itself wherever it goes!
Susan: Yes, that’s right. But it hasn’t happened this time. I wonder why not.

The travelers are captured by some cavemen and manage to escape but as they flee through the forest, the Doctor and Ian bicker over who is in charge and Barbara starts cracking up. However, when the leader of the cavemen is mauled by an animal, Barbara insists they help him, despite the Doctor’s arguments against it. Susan finally shames the Doctor into helping as well. The four travelers are finally forced into giving fire to the cavemen, but are able to use the fire as a diversion while they make it back to the safety of the TARDIS and dematerialize.

Ian: Have you taken us back to our own time?
The Doctor: You know I can’t do that. Please be reasonable.
Ian: What?
Barbara: Please, you must take us back! You must!
The Doctor: You see, this isn’t operating properly. Or rather, the code is still secret. Feed it with the right data, precise information to a second at the beginning of a journey, and then we can fix a destination. But I had no data at my disposal!
Barbara: Are you saying that you don’t know how to work this thing?
The Doctor: Oh, of course I can’t -- I’m not a miracle worker!
Susan: Come on, Grandfather, we just left the other place too quickly, that’s all.
Ian: Just a minute. Did you try and take us back to our own time?
The Doctor: Well, I got you away from that other time, didn’t I?
Ian: That isn’t what I asked you!
The Doctor: It’s the only way I can answer you, young man!


From “The Daleks”

The TARDIS takes Ian and Barbara to their first alien planet, Skaro, landing in a petrified jungle overlooking a vast abandoned city. Tensions increase as the unwilling companions adjust to traveling together, and when the others become frightened and demand to leave at once, the Doctor purposely sabotages the mercury fluid link to make exploring the city a necessity. Once there, however, they are taken prisoner by the Daleks, who at first mistake them for their natural enemies, the Thals. The Daleks and the Thals have not set eyes on each other since the neutron bomb war 500 years before that devastated the planet, but the Daleks are still intent on extermination. Capturing a Dalek in their cell, the Doctor and Ian open its casing and find a horrible creature within. The travelers are able to use the casing as a decoy to make their escape. They are ready to depart when they realize that the mercury fluid link was left behind in the Dalek city, causing the Doctor to regret his little trick. They convince the Thals to help them against the Daleks, and together they destroy the Daleks’ power source, rendering them helpless. The Thals then set out to study the Dalek technology to help rebuild their world.

Alydon: But you must stay and help us! We could learn from --
The Doctor: Oh, no, no, no, I’m afraid I’m much too old to be a pioneer. Although I was, once, among my own people.
Alydon: Well, then, stay and advise us, please!
The Doctor: No, no, thank you. We’re much too far away from home, my granddaughter and I. Thank you all the same, it’s a nice gesture on your part. You know, this soil is not quite so barren as you think. I’ve been making tests, and even you might live to see and hear the birds amongst the trees. You wanted advice, you said. I never give it. Never. But I might just say this to you -- always search for truth. My truth is in the stars, and yours is here.


From “The Edge of Destruction”

An explosion in the main console rocks the TARDIS and plunges the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara into darkness. The Doctor is unable to locate the problem, and begins to suspect Ian and Barbara of sabotage as the ship behaves in increasingly strange ways. Tempers flare as the ship experiences a total systems failure, and the Doctor believes they are doomed. Barbara, however, realizes that the TARDIS itself has been trying to warn them of imminent danger, and they discover a jammed switch that has sent the ship hurtling back through time to the beginning of the universe. The fault corrected, the Doctor regrets his mistrust of the two schoolteachers, and relations among them begin to improve.


From “Marco Polo”

The TARDIS rematerializes, but its life-support system crashes, stranding the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara in a snowy wasteland. They soon discover they are, in fact, back on Earth -- in 13th century Mongolia. They are forced to join the caravan of Marco Polo, as he confiscates the TARDIS to use as a gift for the Kublai Khan. The Doctor strikes up a friendship with the Khan, and they play backgammon for the ownership of the TARDIS. Unfortunately, the Doctor loses, but when they foil the Mongol emissary’s attempted assassination of the Khan, the travelers are returned their police box in gratitude. Having affected the necessary repairs, the Doctor and his companions are once more on their way.


From “The Keys of Marinus”

The TARDIS arrives on the planet Marinus, on a glass beach on the shore of an ocean of acid. Making their way to a nearby pyramid, the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara meet a man named Arbitan, who places a force field around the TARDIS to coerce them into retrieving four microcircuit keys that have been hidden around the planet. While the travelers are on their quest. Arbitan is murdered by his enemies, the Voords. But when they return with the keys, the travelers trick the Voords into destroying their mind-control machine.


From “The Aztecs”

The TARDIS next journeys to 15th century Mexico, materializing within an Aztec tomb. Barbara is mistaken for the reincarnation of dead high priest Yetaxa, and they are then cut off from the ship by a heavy stone door. While the Doctor tries to discover another way into the tomb, Ian and Barbara try to come to terms with the practice of human sacrifice. Barbara intends to use her newfound clout to put an end to the tradition in hopes of preventing the future destruction of Aztec culture by the Spanish.

The Doctor: Barbara, one last appeal -- what you are trying to do is utterly impossible! I know, believe me, I know!
Barbara: Not Barbara. Yetaxa.

Barbara succeeds only in causing political unrest and making an enemy for them of the High Priest of Sacrifice, and the Doctor is furious. While Susan is confined to a seminary for religious instruction and Ian is trained for combat, the Doctor charms a woman in the Aztec equivalent of a retirement community.

Cameca: You’re a healer?
The Doctor: No, no, they call me the Doctor. I am a scientist, an engineer. I’m a builder of things.

Having studied the history of the Aztecs in college, Barbara is able to convince the High Priest of Knowledge of her divinity, even prophesying their eventual destruction. Meanwhile, the Doctor’s mishandling of a cocoa-drinking custom results in an unexpected marriage proposal to Cameca. He and Ian discover a secret tunnel back into the tomb, and during a solar eclipse, they make their escape.


From “The Sensorites”

The TARDIS materializes aboard a spaceship during Earth’s 28th century, and lands the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara in the middle of a conflict between the human space fleet and a race of telepathic beings called Sensorites, who fear being exploited for their raw materials. The Doctor discovers that three humans left behind from a previous expedition have become deranged and are poisoning the Sensorites’ water supply.


First-Elder: When I listen to you, you who are so young among your own kind, I realise that we Sensorites have a lot to learn from the people of Earth.
Susan: Well, Grandfather and I don’t come from Earth. Oh, it’s ages since we’ve seen our planet. It’s quite like Earth, but at night the sky is a burnt orange, and the leaves on the trees are bright silver.
First-Elder: My mind tells me that you wish to see your home again, and yet there is a part of you which calls for adventure -- a wanderlust.

Susan: Yes. Well, we’ll all go home someday; that’s if you’ll let us.
First-Elder: I think I will. I hope all of you will be able to.


From “The Reign of Terror”

The Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara next find themselves in Paris, France in 1794, during the height of the French Revolution. Taken to prison to face the guillotine, Susan, Ian, and Barbara discover the warden is really an English spy, and he enlists them to gather information for him. Meanwhile, the Doctor poses as a dignitary and meets Robespierre. After Napoleon Bonaparte enters the picture, the tyrannical Robespierre is overthrown and the time travelers escape aboard the TARDIS.


Susan: We might not get back to the ship if Grandfather hears we’re in the Reign of Terror.
Ian: Why not?
Susan: It’s his favourite period in the history of Earth!


Next Season



Friday

Religious Comics 3

With the 17th — and apparently final — issue of The Crusaders (copyright 1988), the notorious Jack T. Chick concludes his six-part “Alberto” story arc with a blistering kamikaze attack on the religion of Islam. Entitled “The Prophet,” this 32-page full-color standard-format comic book reunites our heroes, Tim Clark and Jim Carter, with the sectarian whistleblower Dr. Alberto Rivera, who reveals more mind-blowing secrets from the deepest recesses of the Vatican vaults. Based on the testimony of the real-life Alberto Rivera, then head of the Antichrist Information Center in Los Angeles, Jack Chick presents a tale of centuries-spanning conspiracy, dramatically illustrated by the same artist who brought us the fire-and-brimstone mini-tracts The Contract, Titanic, The Letter, and The Greatest Story Ever Told, probably Chick’s longtime associate Fred Carter. Tempting the wrath of Islamic extremists the world over, Chick here features numerous illustrations of the prophet Muhammad as he makes his case that the founder of Islam was merely a dupe of the Roman Catholic Church in its sinister scheme for world domination.

The story opens in “Bierut,” Lebanon in 1983, as we meet a Ted Koppelesque television reporter named Rosco Baker. On his last day in the Middle East, Rosco has a pants-wetting close call with an angry Muslim soldier who accuses the reporter of being pro-Zionist and threatens to shoot him dead. However, when the soldier pulls the trigger on his rifle, there is only a hollow “click!” Rosco, shaking so badly that his shirttails come untucked, realizes the soldier was just blowing off steam. Meanwhile, the soldier erupts in cruel, mocking laughter — “HAW HAW HAW!” — which, as all Chick fans know, indicates that he is evil. On his way back to the office, Rosco is then chided by a Christian missionary who asks him why the media does not explain to the public that the Roman Catholic government of Lebanon is not really Christian at all. Fed up with the whole mess, Rosco spends the flight back to America contemplating a career change.

Eventually landing at Los Angeles International Airport, Rosco decides to relax in the coffee shop, where, as fate would have it, he bumps into Tim Clark, an old buddy from the Vietnam War. Tim introduces Rosco to Jim and Dr. Rivera, who are having a meal during what appears to be a really long layover. Recognizing Rosco from the television news, Dr. Rivera wastes no time steering the conversation into a discussion of the history of the Muslim faith — or more specifically, the hidden history of Islam which Rivera learned in top-secret briefings in the Vatican during his former life as a Jesuit secret agent. The story began at the end of the third century A.D., he reveals, when the Roman Catholic Church, desperate to get their hands on the city of Jerusalem due to its religious history and strategic location, hatched a convoluted scheme by which the Children of Ishmael, commonly known as the Arabs, would be tricked into conquering Jerusalem for the pope.

First, however, Dr. Rivera provides Rosco — and the readers — with a “brief historical background.” This begins with a quick recap of the Passion of the Christ and the subsequent spreading of the gospel to what looks a lot like Polynesia. Then, we see a frightening image of Satan, surrounded by flames, looming over a line of naked men being led by slave chains. The text reads, “Ever since the crucifixion, the prince of darkness has launched constant attacks against the minds of men to kill [Christ’s] message of hope. We’ll now expose Satan’s cunning tactics that have been so successful in turning men into slaves.”

Here, Rivera returns to familiar territory, explaining the Satanic origins of the Roman Catholic Church as a counterfeit religion based on Babylonian goddess-worship, and its gradual development over several hundred years. As he explains it, “The statue of Jupiter in Rome was eventually changed to St. Peter, and the statue of Venus was changed to the Virgin Mary. The site chosen for its headquarters was on one of the 7 hills, called “Vaticanus,” the place of divination and the place where the Satanic temple of Janus stood.” Of course, he does not miss the chance to identify the Catholic Church as the Great Whore of Revelation 17, whose mission is to “make the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Next, Rivera turns our attention to the story of Isaac and Ishmael. Back in the Book of Genesis, he reminds us, when Abraham, “the father of nations,” could not get his wife Sarah pregnant, they resorted to a back-up plan in which her servant Hagar subbed for her. Hagar soon bore Abraham a son, named Ishmael. However, Sarah eventually did become pregnant and bore a son of her own, Isaac. Wanting her son to be the unchallenged heir to Abraham’s legacy, Sarah had Hagar and young Ishmael driven off into the desert. Once there, with the help of a friendly angel, Ishmael grew into a muscular bowman and eventually produced almost one billion offspring — the Arabs.

Getting back to the fourth century A.D., Rivera notes how the ingenious Catholic writer Augustine wrote two famous works, The City of God and Confessions, both of which would play an important part in the Church’s scheme to use the Arabs to further their own ends. Many of the Arab tribes were converted to Catholicism by Augustine’s writings, but too many rejected the pope and refused to convert. Something had to be done about them, and so spies were sent throughout the land to tell the Arabs that one day a great leader would appear to unite them. But the Catholic Church is nothing if not patient, and two hundred years went by before they finally had their man, a young native of the city of Mecca named Muhammad, whom Rivera freely admits was “an amazing man.” However, he promises Rosco that he is about to reveal “the most incredible story of intrigue you will ever hear” — the true origins of the religion of Islam.

Before getting into all that, though, Dr. Rivera finds it prudent to spend six pages giving his version of the official history of Islam, for comparative purposes. By Rivera’s account — which is based primarily on the well-known biography of the prophet by Martin Lings — the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia was established on the site of the well which enabled Hagar and Ishmael to survive in the desert, and it was there that Abraham helped Ishmael to build the “House of God.” Eventually, the original structure was replaced by a larger stone cube called the Kaaba, and it is in the direction of this site that faithful Muslims pray five times a day. The Kaaba serves as a focal point of the Muslims’ religion, much as Catholics have the Vatican in Rome and the Jews have their Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. In the early days, Rivera continues, the Kaaba was considered a place of veneration by Arabs and Jews alike, until the structure eventually became filled with idols deposited there by pilgrims and thus evolved into a center of blasphemous idolatry. Over time, Mecca and the Kaaba were controlled by a succession of tribes, each with their own political and religious agendas, and eventually the well was filled in and its exact location forgotten. It was later rediscovered by one Adb Al-Muttalib, the grandfather of Muhammad, an accomplishment that made him famous.

Adb Al-Muttalib produced a son, Abd Allah, who narrowly escaped being sacrificed to his father’s god. Abd Allah then grew up to father Muhammad, though he died just before his son was born. Though orphaned at the age of six, Muhammad nevertheless was raised as a member of an important family. He also had one very remarkable experience in particular. Two mysterious men in white appeared one day and magically removed his beating heart from his chest. They cleansed it of a black clot, washed it with snow, and then put it back where it belonged, leaving the boy unharmed. Thus was he purified of the touch of Satan. A few years later, Muhammad ran into a Roman Catholic monk, who discovered an oval birthmark on his back and exclaimed that it was “the seal of prophethood.” The monk told Muhammad’s family to protect him from the Jews, who would surely try to kill him if they recognized his great destiny. Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Arabs continued to preach of a great prophet who would soon come to unite the Children of Ishmael.

When Muhammad reached adulthood, he married a much-older woman, a wealthy widow named Khadijah. She bore him several children, including a girl named Fatimah. Then, one fateful day, Muhammad had a vision of the angel Gabriel, who started him on his career as the prophet of Allah. With the help of his wife’s cousin, a Roman Catholic named Waraquah, he began to interpret the many visions he received and to write numerous texts, many of which were collected in the Koran. Soon facing persecution from the rulers of Mecca, Muhammad sent many of his followers to Abyssinia, where they were welcomed by the king, himself a Roman Catholic. Then, Muhammad had another vision, in which the angel Gabriel led him to heaven upon a magical flying beast. Unfortunately, a sort of mist obscures all but the wings of this fantastical creature in the accompanying illustration. Anyway, after meeting Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and God himself, Muhammad received the creed of Islam. Then, having founded this new religion, Muhammad raised a mighty army, and within fifteen years had conquered Mecca, cleared the Kaaba of idols, and made most of the Arab tribes into Muslims. When he died, his body was entombed at the mosque of Medina, where it remains to this day.

At this point, Dr. Rivera finally gets down to the nitty-gritty and lays bare the secrets of the “cloak and dagger world of religion.” He reiterates the Vatican’s desire to gain control of Jerusalem, and the problems posed by both the Jews and the true Christians spreading the gospel in North Africa. Both groups had to be destroyed, and the Church “saw the multitudes of Arabs as a source of manpower to do their dirty work.” Thus, they hatched a plan to create a messiah for the Arabs, a great charismatic leader whom they could train to do their bidding, and have him raise a mighty army to rout the Jews and seize Jerusalem. Augustine was instrumental to the plan. His band of followers, based out of monasteries in the region, were notorious for destroying Bible manuscripts which they had stolen from the true Christians. These manuscripts were then replaced by Augustine’s own, specifically tailored to further the Vatican’s designs on the Arabs. For his service to the cause, Rivera notes, Augustine was eventually made a “saint.”

The shocking revelations come thick and fast as Dr. Rivera recounts what he learned in the top-secret briefings at the Vatican. The widow Khadijah, he asserts, was a devout Catholic who had given all her wealth to the Church and retired to a convent. There, she was recruited to serve the pope’s master plan. Her wealth was returned to her, and she was sent out into the world to choose a suitable candidate to be the Arab messiah. She selected young Muhammad, seduced him, and became his wife. Her cousin Waraquah, also an agent of the pope, was made Muhammad’s principal advisor, and indoctrinated him with the writings of Augustine. He was told that the Jews were his mortal enemies, and that the true Christians (the non-Catholics) were wicked impostors doing the work of the devil. As Rivera says ruefully, “This satanic teaching is believed today in the minds of Muslims worldwide, and it destroys the efforts of reaching them for Christ in every Muslim nation.”

Waraquah was also deeply involved in the interpretation of Muhammad’s visions, upon which the book of the Koran was based. However, there remain other, unpublished writings of Muhammad’s, which are now in the hands of high-ranking Ayatollahs. These documents, Rivera contends, are the “smoking gun” that links the Vatican to the creation of Islam, a fact that, if it were revealed to the world at large, would prove disastrous for both religions. After Muhammad’s death, the pope positioned himself as another “holy man” in the eyes of Muslims, and then gave the Arab armies permission to conquer North Africa, and even financed their campaigns. In the name of Allah, the Muslim war machine slaughtered Jews and true Christians alike, calling them “infidels,” and finally conquered Jerusalem. The prize the Vatican had sought for centuries was now within its grasp.

Unfortunately, Rivera gloats, the great master plan then began to backfire, and when the pope demanded the Arab generals surrender Jerusalem to him, they refused. The problem was, the Vatican had outsmarted itself. Under Waraquah’s direction, Muhammad had revised the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his beloved son, inserting Ishmael in place of Isaac. This led the Muslims to build a mosque in Jerusalem on the site of the Jewish temple that had been destroyed by the Romans back in the first century. Dedicated to Ishmael, this mosque, called the Dome of the Rock, was the second-most-holy place in Islam, and the Arab generals knew they could not turn it over to the pope without causing a riot. Furthermore, intoxicated with the thrill of victory, the Arab generals were determined to conquer the entire world for their god, Allah. They now asked the pope for permission to invade Europe. He was, of course, outraged, for the doctrine of temporal power gave control of the world exclusively to him. Realizing that its creation was out of control, the Vatican raised its own army of Catholic Europeans and attacked the Muslims. Thus began the Crusades, which raged for many blood-drenched centuries.

Eventually, the Arabs realized their forces were overextended and offered to negotiate a peace with the Vatican. One of the negotiators sent to meet the Arab representatives, Rivera notes, was Francis of Assisi. Finally, a concordat was signed between the two mighty religions, with three basic provisions: First, each would occupy a country in the other’s sphere of influence, with the Muslims retaining Turkey while Lebanon went to the Catholics. Second, the Muslims would be permitted to build mosques in Roman Catholic countries so long as Roman Catholicism was allowed to flourish in the Arab world. And finally, each side would work to undermine the efforts of their common enemy — “Bible-believing Christian missionaries.” Rivera also claims that the Vatican engineered a campaign of hatred between the Arabs and the Jews, before which they had peacefully co-existed. Furthermore, through the machinations of the Church, Satan all but guaranteed the spiritual destruction of the Arabs by convincing them that “the Bible believing missionary [is] a devil who brings poison to destroy the children of Allah.” Thus, Rivera laments, for centuries the efforts of missionaries to win souls for Jesus in the Middle East have come to naught.

With a lasting peace achieved, Dr. Rivera claims, the Vatican merely changed its tactics and sought to gain control over the Muslims through the Jesuits’ bag of dirty tricks. For example, a socialist uprising in Portugal in the early twentieth century offered an ideal opportunity to put one of their nefarious schemes into action. Taking advantage of the fact that the country’s Arab conquerors had named a village Fatima in honor of Muhammad’s daughter, the Jesuits staged an appearance of the Virgin Mary at the remote site and invented special prayers for the occasion. These “Novenas to Fatima” were then spread throughout North Africa, fooling the Arabs into thinking the Catholics were honoring the daughter of their great prophet. Apparently, this was only one part of a much grander design. Dr. Rivera continues to connect the dots as he proclaims, “As a direct result of the vision of Fatima, Pope Pius XII ordered his Nazi army to crush Russia and the Orthodox religion, and make Russia Roman Catholic…. A few years after he lost World War II, Pope Pius XII startled the world with his phoney [sic] dancing sun vision to keep Fatima in the newspapers. It was great religious show biz, and the whole world swallowed it.”

The bond formed between the Catholics and the Muslims by “Our Lady of Fatima” was put to good use in the Spanish Civil War, which Rivera prefers to call “the new Spanish Inquisition.” When Spain began to rebel against papal authority, going so far as to tax church property and remove priests and nuns from the public schools, the Vatican decided to make an example of the wayward nation. The Jesuits secretly contacted Islamic leaders and reminded them of the debt they owed the pope for refusing to surrender Jerusalem centuries earlier, and also of the concordat they signed pledging to aid the pope in a time of need. Honoring the ancient contract, the Arabs formed an army, financed by the Vatican and under the command of General Franco, and in 1936 initiated a bloodbath. The Vatican claimed to the world at large that it was a holy war against communism. As Rivera tells it, “The Spaniards watched in shock as Cardinal Pedro Segura led the Islamic army in slaughtering unfaithful Roman Catholic men, women, and children without mercy.” In a personal aside, Rivera notes that he remembers his own home being invaded by Muslim troops, though he was only three years old at the time. The inquisition was successful, he states, and nearly four million Muslim troops remained in the country to safeguard the Roman Catholic system. In exchange, the forward-thinking Arabs extracted from the pope a promise never to recognize any state of Israel which might come into existence sometime in the future.

At this point, Rosco’s journalistic skepticism finally kicks in, and he asks, “Dr. Rivera, wasn’t it a Muslim who shot the pope?” But Rivera has a ready answer and doesn’t miss a beat. He contends that the Jesuits planned the 1981 incident in order to pull Islam closer to the Vatican, as well as to give the pope and Ronald Reagan something in common — and it worked like a charm. President Reagan and the pope became “fast friends,” and all the world’s leaders expressed their sympathy for the wounded pontiff, including the Ayatollahs, who even apologized for “one of their own” having shot Jesus’ earthly representative. Moreover, the Jesuits made sure the KGB took the blame, further convincing the world that the communists are the pope’s enemies. “It’s a big game, Rosco,” he says. “[R]emember the assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, is one of Europe’s top hit men, and an expert marksman. He fired his weapon at a distance of only ten feet… Each bullet hit the pope below the navel.” When the pope subsequently visited Agca in prison and publicly forgave him, the Muslim world was abuzz with admiration for “His Holiness.” Furthermore, Rivera complains, since the pope and President Regan had become so friendly, “we ended up with a papal nuncio in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Marines poured into Lebanon to defend a Roman Catholic nation.” Thus, the story comes full circle.

On the final page, Dr. Rivera once again looks forward to the Apocalypse to straighten out this mess once and for all. In the process, he reveals why the popes have been so desperate to gain control of Jerusalem: it is because the last pope (the Antichrist) must flee there to escape the destruction of the Vatican, according to biblical prophecy. But until then, Rivera concludes, Satan has used his treachery and deceit to destroy billions of souls, and just as he put up the Virgin Mary to get the Catholics’ attention away from Jesus, so the Vatican put up a “militant and sophisticated religion” to keep the Children of Ishmael from finding the true Christ. The final image we are left with is a multitude of white-clad Muslims, stretching all the way to the horizon, down on the floor praying, butts in the air.

As always, the inside back cover holds Jack Chick’s personal appeal to his readers, exhorting them to turn away from false religions and accept Jesus. He has a special message for Muslims, set off in a shaded box: “Some Ayatollahs, who are in command of your religion, know from reading the unprinted works of Muhammad that what I’ve told you in this book is true. But in their desperation to hold onto their power as religious leaders, they dare not admit to the betrayal of the children of Islam. Even the Vatican knows this is true.” Naturally, such assertions are impossible to dispute, though it seems unlikely any Muslims would be convinced after reading this comic book. It seems more likely they would simply feel insulted.

One of the enduring mysteries of this comic book is the significance of the giant ice cream sundae. On page five, while Dr. Rivera and Rosco are chatting, a young boy walks past carrying an ice cream sundae in a tall parfait glass. The tow-headed youngster is eyeing his treat hungrily. In the next panel, the sundae is seen in close-up, and it nearly fills the image, with Rivera and Rosco relegated to the background, peeking out from between their wordy speech balloons. We can clearly see the vanilla ice cream, the chocolate syrup, and the cherry on top. The discerning reader notes that Jim is looking over his shoulder, eyeing the sundae as well. This is an important detail, as becomes clear later on. Turn the page, and the boy can be seen chowing down on his frozen dessert in the background as Dr. Rivera begins his “brief historical background.” Apparently, while Dr. Rivera was enlightening Rosco, the temptation became too great for Jim, for twenty pages later, when Rivera is talking about Fatima, we see Jim in the cafeteria line buying the exact same kind of sundae! Jim’s face shows a mixture of relief and anticipation, for his sweet tooth is about to be satisfied. There may be, however, a tinge of guilt as well, for he seems hesitant to return to the table. Perhaps he fears the judgment of Dr. Rivera for his weakness in the face of temptation, or the censure of his friend Tim for leaving in the middle of the lecture to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh.

Unfortunately, in an egregious breach of story-telling etiquette, we are denied seeing what Rosco’s final reaction is to Dr. Rivera’s impromptu symposium. Did he fall to his knees and accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior? Did he write off Rivera as a deluded crank, giving Tim a sarcastic “thanks a lot” for subjecting him to such an extended tirade? Or did he jump on the next plane back to the Middle East, armed with his new knowledge of the truth behind the situation there, to achieve new levels of insight in his reporting and ultimately be rewarded with his own late-night news analysis show? We shall never know. To date, there have been no further issues of The Crusaders, although Jack T. Chick and his cartoon ministry are still going strong.


Sunday

Religious Comics 2

Fundamentalist Christian cartoonist Jack T. Chick continues to stretch the definition of “comic book” in the next installment of The Crusaders, a series of 32-page full-size, full-color comic magazines. Issue number 16 (copyright 1985) presents the fifth chapter of the earth-shaking “Alberto” storyline, written by Chick and illustrated by the same talented artist who brought us the Chick mini-tracts The Visitors, The Only Hope, Hi There!, and Miss Universe — most likely Chick’s longtime associate Fred Carter. Here, in “Four Horsemen,” the self-professed ex-Jesuit priest Dr. Alberto Rivera continues to reveal to our heroes, Tim Clark and Jim Carter, the astonishing truth about the evils of Roman Catholicism, focusing largely on an exegesis of the notoriously cryptic Book of Revelations.

Like the preceding chapter, “Four Horsemen” begins promisingly, bringing us a scene rife with dramatic tension. It is the year 60 A.D., and a shopkeeper in Rome greets a nervous little man who claims to have just arrived from Jerusalem. Wanting to hear the latest news from that city, the shopkeeper invites the man to a private area in the back of the shop, unaware that a steely-eyed centurion has them under surveillance. After establishing that his guest is a believer in Christ, the shopkeeper invites him to a secret meeting to be held after dark. And so, later that night, the pair enters the labyrinthine catacombs where the Christians meet, thinking themselves safe from persecution. However, Roman soldiers suddenly appear and place them all under arrest, announcing that their lives are forfeit. The nervous little man, it turns out, was a spy for the authorities and left a trail of small white stones for them to follow. The centurion returns the now-grinning spy’s bag of stones with a villainous chuckle — “HAW HAW.” This tale is meant to serve as an example of betrayal during the early days of Christianity, to be followed by an explication of the form betrayal takes in modern times.

Unfortunately, the story quickly wanders into very abstract territory, with Alberto Rivera making only occasional appearances. In fact, for the first several pages, it is not even clear if the captions are supposed to be voiced by Dr. Rivera or some omniscient narrator. For their part, Tim and Jim are seen only twice, and never speak. The illustrations, though often skillfully rendered, lose much of the narrative force they had in the last issue, and barely qualify as ‘sequential art.’ Also, the drawings are often supplemented with half-tone photographs, apparently appropriated from books or newspapers. In all, there are 29 such photographs, most of which show Pope John Paul II engaged in various papal duties. These photos, coupled with the non-narrative nature of the illustrations and the unprecedented amount of text on every page, serve to reduce the art to the most perfunctory level, in spite of the issue’s stunning painted cover. This is a shame because the Chick / Rivera conspiracy theory is here at its most speculative.

Following a quick overview of the Vatican II Council of the early 1960s, which was portrayed to the public at large as a glorious attempt to change and modernize the Catholic Church in a spirit of love, healing and progress, we are informed that it was all just a smoke screen to deflect attention away from the papal plans for world domination. Dr. Rivera describes a meeting he attended along with other high-ranking Jesuits. After a special midnight mass administered by the Superior General of the Society of Jesus — otherwise known as “The Black Pope” — the assembled priests reaffirmed their sacred oath to make war on all heretics, especially Protestants, in the spirit of the Council of Trent. We see the Jesuit leader deliver his chilling announcement that the time had come for the Final Inquisition, during which all those who were unfaithful to the Pope would be exterminated.

The first step in the new inquisition was for Dr. Rivera to lead a select group of Jesuit agents into the secret underground complex of tunnels beneath the Vatican, which serves as the nerve center of their worldwide intelligence network, in order to study the espionage tactics of the Holy Mother Church. The intelligence branch of the Vatican is described as “second to none,” because well-placed Roman Catholics in the FBI, CIA, KGB, and all the world’s agencies provide a steady stream of classified information. Catholics are willing to betray their country’s secrets to the Vatican, Rivera explains, because their loyalty to the Church trumps any allegiance to a secular nation. Additionally, intelligence is gathered in confessionals around the globe and funneled back to Rome. Thus, as Dr. Rivera discovered, “information has been stored in their underground tunnels for centuries, from the darkest secrets of history up to the secrets of the most sophisticated weapons of the 20th century.”

It was here in the Vatican vaults that Alberto Rivera discovered the shocking truth behind the worldwide conspiracy of Roman Catholicism. He learned that the Emperor Nero ordered undercover agents in the Christian community to start the Great Fire of Rome in order to justify the persecutions of the true believers, and that Nero threw his spies to the lions to cover up his deception. He learned that the Emperor Constantine, centuries later, set up counterfeit churches to entrap true Christians, and even fraudulently claimed to be converted to Christianity himself, then becoming the first pope of the religious system that would evolve into Roman Catholicism. He learned that the Bishops of Rome took advantage of Constantine’s removal to Constantinople to seize the plundered gold that the Caesars had collected from all over the known world, using this vast wealth to take over the empire. Then, these “religious Caesars” bought up all the land they could, soon becoming the largest landowners in Europe.

Rivera learned of how, when the Muslim armies conquered many of the Church’s lands in the eighth century and threatened to sack Rome itself, the Pope and his subordinates hatched a wild, desperate plan to dupe King Pepin of the Franks into sending his mighty army to fight on their behalf. A letter was written in gold ink on the finest parchment that purported to be from Saint Peter himself up in heaven, personally asking King Pepin to save Rome. Of course, Pepin swallowed it hook, line, and sinker, and his troops swept into Italy and crushed the Muslim invaders. Afterwards, King Pepin gave the city and some of the surrounding land to the Pope, never suspecting the incalculable fortune hidden underneath it.

Rivera learned that after Pepin’s death, his successor, Charlemagne, was likewise swindled by the Pope, who forged a document saying that Pepin had in fact given the Church all of Italy, not just Rome. Since Charlemagne fell for that one, they forged yet another document claiming that Constantine had officially made the popes heir to the entire Roman Empire. Charlemagne was fooled again, as were all the kings and emperors of Europe. Soon, the megalomaniacal popes even claimed to be the successors of Saint Peter himself, representing the Kingdom of God here on earth. No claim, it seemed, was too grandiose for the emergent Roman Catholic Church.

Rivera learned that when the Church’s dominion was eventually challenged centuries later, they instituted a reign of terror to bring Europe back in line. Thus began the fearsome Inquisitions, run through the so-called “Holy Office” and led by the sadistic priests of the Dominican Order. In a mile-long row of shelving in the tunnels beneath the Vatican, Dr. Rivera browsed detailed files on each and every victim of the Inquisition throughout history. Here, we are treated to detailed renderings of the blood-soaked torments of one Doña Maria de Bohorques and her sister Juana, of Seville, Spain, both arrested as heretics and imprisoned in a secret dungeon. Maria is beaten bloody and burned at the stake. Juana has her arms and legs dislocated as the monks swing her body from ropes and pulleys. They then tie a weighted cord around her breasts to inflict greater pain, but succeed only in cracking her rib cage. As Rivera describes it, “Her ribs cracked inwardly, and blood flowed from her mouth and nostrils. They took her to her cell and she died a week later. In the files of the Dominicans, everything was recorded in detail… Even the curses the Dominicans uttered in response to the Scriptures quoted by the Christians under torture and questioning. Even as an unsaved man, the contrast shook me as I read those accounts.”

Rivera learned of the origins of the Protestant Reformation, and how the early leaders of that movement had openly condemned the Pope as the Anti-Christ, a teaching sadly ignored by the modern-day leaders of their respective denominations. He also learned of the Church’s subsequent recruitment of the brilliant military strategist Ignatius Loyola, who had a cunning plan to secure for the Pope absolute control over the earth’s political leaders and their military might, as well as establishing an invincible one-world church. In pursuit of this aim, Loyola developed his secret organization, the Illuminati, into the “militia of the popes,” the Society of Jesus — better known as the Jesuits. It was the Jesuits, Rivera discovered, who were the driving force behind the Council of Trent, where the Church officially adopted the tenets of Loyola’s scheme. Rivera says, “Those opposing the plans of the Jesuits were threatened. Many were murdered. Laws were passed at this time to put Catholics deeper into bondage and destroy all opposition.”

Next, Dr. Rivera knocks down the two metaphorical pillars that Loyola established as the basis for the religious authority of the Vatican. He asserts that the doctrine of apostolic succession — the claim that the apostle Peter was the first in an unbroken line of popes — is based on an intentional misinterpretation of the famous quote from Jesus in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” According to Rivera’s interpretation, when Jesus says “this rock,” he is not referring to Peter himself, but to Peter’s preceding affirmation that Jesus is the Christ, son of the living God. Jesus’ statement is a play on words, Rivera says, which actually means something akin to “Peter, you are a pebble, but upon the bedrock of my divinity, I will build my church.” Thus, Jesus Christ is the true rock, and poor Peter has merely been used by the Popes to further their unholy cause. Furthermore, Rivera counters Catholic claims that Peter was the head of the church in Rome by pointing out that Paul never mentioned Peter in any of his epistles to the Romans — and why would he have written such letters in the first place if Peter was already there to run things? Also, in the Book of Acts, we see that Peter was not even in charge of the church in Jerusalem. That honor fell to James, and when Peter misspoke, the other apostles were ready to tell him he didn’t know what he was talking about. Finally, the clincher: “Peter wasn’t a pope. He even had a wife.” Rivera concludes this diatribe by proclaiming, “The Roman Catholic system is simply religious show biz, and their public relations has sold the world a big lie.”

Dr. Rivera wastes no time debunking the second of Loyola’s pillars, “Temporal Power,” the claim that the pope has authority over the kings of the earth, which is based entirely on the forged “Donations of Constantine,” which the Church used to swindle Charlemagne, as detailed earlier. Furthermore, when the Pope kisses the ground upon his arrival in another country, it is not an act of humility, as many believe, but a sign that the Pope claims that land as his own through the doctrine of temporal power. Rivera goes on to reveal that when the Pope holds up two fingers, also a common trope in Roman Catholic depictions of Jesus, it is a sign of the two pillars herein described. Likewise, the very similar peace symbol, favored by hippies and their ilk, was originally a coded message saying that “peace and victory could only come through world acceptance of apostolic succession and temporal power.” For good measure, Rivera throws in the following quote from Revelations: “…and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Now, Dr. Rivera turns to his analysis of the Book of Revelations in order to prove his contention that the one true and final Anti-Christ at the time of the Second Coming will be the pope who is in power at that time, a man whose body, soul, and spirit will be completely possessed by supernatural forces of evil. To do this, Rivera focuses his attention on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Bible describes Jesus’ opening of the first of the famous seven seals, causing the Anti-Christ to burst forth on his white horse (here, of course, he is dressed in the raiment of the pope), and goes on to list some of this horseman’s peculiar attributes. As Rivera explains, the rider on the white horse has no title of his own, just as the pope assumes a pontifical title in place of the name he was born with. The rider on the white horse is “given” a crown, just as the chosen pope is given a crown and a kingdom that are not his by birth, as with a royal dynasty. The rider on the white horse has a bow with no arrows, just as the pope has no weapons or armies but relies on his followers to fight for him, as seen in the fact that popes have been orchestrating wars from behind the scenes for more than a thousand years.

For example, Rivera asserts, World War II was really yet another brutal Roman Catholic inquisition, started when three faithful Catholics — Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco — tried to conquer the world for the Pope to set up his millennial kingdom. Each of the three governments signed concordats with the Vatican — contracts of mutual support. As evidence, Adolf Hitler is quoted as saying, “…as for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic Church has adopted for fifteen hundred years, when it has regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos, et cetera, because it knew what the Jews were like. I don’t put race above religion, but I do see the danger in the representatives of the race for church and state, and perhaps I am doing Christianity a great service.” The quote is attributed to the book The Nazi Persecution of the Churches by historian John S. Conway.

Furthermore, Rivera contends that the Holocaust was perfectly legal under Roman Catholic law as established by the Council of Trent, for the Jews were considered heretics and thus enemies of God. Then, to get a further dig in at the Catholic Church, the text notes that the Vatican has not yet recognized Israel as a nation, though it was the only sovereign government to officially recognize the Confederate States of America. Since World War II, the Catholic Church has been on the move, according to Rivera, polishing its tarnished image through feel-good shams like the Vatican II Council and a relentless blitzkrieg of pro-Catholic propaganda in the mainstream media, fooling even Bible-believing Christians into thinking the Pope is a man of peace.

Returning to his textual analysis, Dr. Rivera makes the obvious assumption that, since the horse released by the opening of the second seal is red, he must represent Communism, and indeed, the second horseman is dressed in the long overcoat, fur hat, and bushy moustache of a Russian soldier, and is wielding a large scimitar. Rivera claims that the communist nations are unwitting pawns of the Vatican, and John Paul II, “the Communist pope from Poland,” has concordats prepared for the Soviet Union and China, offering political and financial support in exchange for guarantees that Roman Catholicism will be the only recognized religion behind the Iron Curtain. Meanwhile, priests and bishops in the U.S. lead protests advocating total disarmament to ensure that the United States loses World War III. Worse, as Rivera adds cryptically, “legislation is now being pushed through our judicial system which will make it possible for our freedoms to be taken from us.” The accompanying illustration shows the nightmare scenario of armed police stormtroopers, egged on by a crucifix-brandishing priest, arresting congregants at a Baptist church.

When the third seal is opened, the black horse issues forth, here ridden by a priest holding up a pair of balances. Rivera explains that this represents the Catholic Church’s control over the world’s economy and food production — hence the black horse’s traditional association with famine. More to the point, however, is the third horseman’s grip on the oil and liquor industries of the earth, and the color black clearly represents the Jesuit order. At this point, a helpful flow chart appears, showing the means by which the Jesuits seek to dominate the world economy using a number of front organizations. An icon representing the Vatican connects to a box labeled “Jesuits,” and underneath that are eight boxes, labeled “The Illuminati,” “The Club of Rome,” “The C.F.R.,” “The Opus Dei,” “International Bankers,” “The Masons,” “New Age Movement, etc.,” and, of course, “The Mafia: Criminal Arm of the Vatican.” After all, anyone familiar with media portrayals of organized crime knows that all mobsters are Roman Catholics, so it makes perfect sense that they are actually working for the Pope. The true mission of the rider on the black horse, we are told, is to use his power to control, manipulate, and legally destroy Protestant America.

Next, the fourth seal is opened, leading to one of my personal favorite quotes from the Bible: “Behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” Death here appears in the traditional guise of the Grim Reaper, a cloaked skeleton holding a scythe, while Hell is represented by a grinning mass of flame sitting behind the Reaper. Without further explanation, they set off on their mission of murder and destruction.

Then, following a brief note about the Rapture and the opening of the fifth seal, we are treated to a scene of black-robed priests going about their inquisitional duties against those poor souls left behind. Aside from the classic “burning-at-the-stake” technique, we see an ingenious set-up of a small guillotine on a steel cart with inflatable rubber tires. A fish tank sits next to the guillotine, ready to catch the severed head after the blade drops. Truly, a dark day for the human race.

On the final page, the end comes quickly. The Vatican is utterly annihilated, reduced to smoldering rubble, since, naturally, Satan always double-crosses his followers. However, the Anti-Christ escapes to Jerusalem, the text informs us, where he comes under attack by the Russian communists and the Arab armies. This is the far-famed Battle of Armageddon, which ends in a blinding flash as Christ returns to earth and wipes out his enemies. We see the Pope and a priest both flung into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

The last panel, however, shows the Four Horsemen tearing across the landscape, the Pope leading the charge, as the boldface text shouts to us: “Tremendous events are ahead! The four horsemen are riding today across the earth. Jesus is coming soon to take His bride (the true believers) to heaven. The antichrist is helping Satan prepare his bride… for the lake of fire. The showdown is coming fast. Only those who commit their lives to Christ and make Him Lord of their lives will be saved from God’s awful coming judgment.”

It is disappointing that the spectacular events of the Apocalypse are dealt with in such an abbreviated fashion, shown in small, cramped panels with captions containing mostly long passages from the Bible. Also, Dr. Rivera’s unique point of view fades to the point of invisibility, especially since he does not even appear in the last nine pages of the book. The case against the Catholic Church might have been made more compelling if the events had been dramatized. As the success of the recent series of Left Behind novels shows, the Second Coming of Christ offers a wealth of dramatic potential, and it would have been interesting to see it presented in the visual medium of comics. Jack Chick seemed more interested in merely hitting the main points of Alberto Rivera’s anti-papist interpretation of the scriptures, however, and so squandered his artist’s evident talents. Thus, we are left with more of an illustrated treatise, one so broad in scope and arcane in subject matter that the emotional impact of Dr. Rivera’s fight against a worldwide satanic conspiracy is lost.


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