The Fires Down Below
Continuity: A lone Dominator (Haas) is attempting to prepare Earth to refuel the Dominator fleet by causing a series of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes to destroy the planet's crust, leaving the core ready as a source of fuel. The UNIT squadron defeats him by turning his drilling his apparatus at his ship, causing it to explode, killing him and destroying his Quarks.
Quarks aren't bulletproof.
UNIT appears here, although none of the soldiers seen featured in the television series, and the female Major Whitaker leads the squad. It's noted that the Brigadier is called out of retirement for emergencies, although at the time this hadn't actually happened in the television series, since Battlefield was some way off at the time. The squad is sent to Iceland to investigate a suspicious spate of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
Links: The Dominators and Quarks made their first (and only) television appearance in The Dominators; the Dominators themselves appear here for the first (and to date only) time since in any strand of officially published Doctor Who fiction. The Quarks on the other hand... The Quarks made their first comic strip appearance in the TV Comic Doctor Who strip 'Invasion of the Quarks!' and pestered the Second Doctor for several subsequent strip adventures. These being TV Comic strips, they didn't act remotely like their television counterparts and the Dominators weren't even mentioned. These profoundly silly strips have passed into a sort of tawdry legend, with several Doctor Who novels and audios mentioning them, although only those written by Craig Hinton and Jonathan Morris. For some reason, both authors seem particularly obsessed with The Killer Wasps, in which the Quarks use, erm, giant wasps to wreck havoc.
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland, 1984.
The Bottom Line: By this point, the sporadic back-up strips smacked more of filler than ever before and this would be the last in the regular issues of the magazine for over a decade. In terms of writing, The Fires Down Below is typical Peel, i.e. it's workmanlike at best. This being Peel, television continuity is rigidly adhered to, which means that he riffs the plot of The Dominators almost exactly, but with only one Dominator and in the space of four pages. It does rather raise the question of whether the Dominators ever actually bothering conquering anything, or just go around blowing up planets for fuel. Despite exhibiting signs of laziness (see Goofs) Stokes' artwork is pretty good, especially his depiction of the Quarks.