The Doctor and Leela (who has once again decided to put some clothes on over her usual TV costume) meet a skeleton. The skeleton is Krass, who has had "all his flesh and clothing" stolen by a baddy called Emsone. This gets the story started quickly and is quite intriguing.
The first page was colourful but clearly, as with the Doctor Who TV story Underworld, they used all their budget up early and couldn't afford any colours except for pink for this page.
Leela leaps to the attack...This gives Leela her only moment of acting properly in-character for this story, as opposed to being a generic Companion. She is promptly captured by the baddy's henchmanny Gurk in the next panel, and her top goes pink instead of black like on page 1.
That is a properly scary face in the first panel, even rivaling Balok in scary face terms. This page has some of the best drawing in Adventures in Time and Space, managing to make the story scary and exciting in only a few panels. The only downside is that everything is blue, and while maybe that helps make it more atmospheric, I think that being colourful is always better because I am a colourful cat.
Emsone hasn't appeared in the story yet but he has already been established as a powerful baddy and worthy adversary to the Doctor. On this page the Doctor enters a battle of minds against him.
As they walk through the cavernous passageways of Emsone's castle, the Doctor forms a single image in his mind... a wall... a wall that will not crumble... a wall that will not crack... a strong thick wall that will stand firm between the Doctor's brain and whatever demons Emsone might try to put in it...
Emsone is revealed, and it looks like he is being played by Sir Ian McKellen. Here is a picture of Sir Ian McKellen looking fabulous:
Emsone wants the Doctor for his brain (lol). Their battle of wills makes for the story's dramatic climax.
Emsone's castle begins to fall apart, but Emsone thinks it is an illusion created by the Doctor just as he created illusions to fool the Doctor earlier. This is a satisfying way for the baddy to be defeated, and he just has time for a final speech when he realises the truth...
"But... but this isn't how I planned it. My castle can't fall down now! What about my machine? This just can't be real... it can't be... it can't be!"...before he goes
The Doctor, Krass and Leela escape and the Doctor restores Krass to being a handsome, fully clothed manny again in time for the final panel and a cup of tea.
Emsone's Castle is one of my favourite stories in the Doctor Who Books Project so far.