No, it's not indestructible, it just hasn't been destroyed yet. Tut. Americans...
Official Plot Synopsis:
The Doctor joins a group of scientists to witness the test run of a new fighter plane called the Dart. The observation plane carrying the Doctor and the scientists is hijacked by a group of Cybermen. With no other open the Doctor escapes to the experimental Dart, intent on using it against his old foes...
That’s Kind Of Cool:
The Cybermen’s plan is reasonably sensible, as they are not after some crude bit of human technology, but want to kidnap important military leaders and leave the Earth in confusion to aide their major attack. They also keep all the humans alive, presumably intending them to convert them later. The Doctor’s palpable lack of enthusiasm about watching a fighter plan go through the motions is a nice bit of characterization (as is the fact he is the one who ends up piloting the damned thing). Test Flight! is also a sequel to a previous TV Comic strip, with the return of Commander Knight, and presumably NOT the same Commander Knight who had his head ripped off his shoulders by a marauding Yeti in The Web of Fear...
You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me:
The TARDIS doesn’t BLEEP!!!
Those blokes are the best military experts the world has to offer. Be afraid.
The world’s top military experts are a bunch of elderly academics who are deeply cowardly, seem totally ignorant about the project they presumably created and believe in black magic. Is this outright satire? Or total stupidity? The US airmen are particularly moronic as well, and frankly the idea that the most powerful and deadly fighter on the Earth is entirely under the control of the USAF is scarier than the Cybermen...
To actually get in and out of the Dart, you need to be hooked up via a diagonal plastic tube to a B52. Which is likely to be a bit difficult if the pilot needs to say, bail out. Why is the Dart also fitted with enough ammunition to totally destroy several enemy fighters when the trip is to see if it flies properly?
How does the Doctor know that there will be five ‘Cyber-Planes’ due to arrive? Why do the Cybermen build planes at all – can’t their spacecraft traverse the atmosphere easily enough?
How the hell does the Doctor manage to destroy five of the ‘Cyber-Planes’ and their people transporter anyway? Even with ammunition, they have their own laser beams, torpedoes, powerful computer control and they already know all about the Dart beforehand? Why not simply activate their force fields? Or simply give up and shoot down the B52, which will at least get rid of the experts and cause chaos?
And won’t the Cybermen survive a fall of forty-thousand feet? Dented admittedly, but they won’t suffocate or have heart attacks on the way down, they won’t drown if they hit water and even if they do end up in the bottom of the ocean, they’ll just walk the rest of the way to shore and cause more mischief! And that’s assuming they don’t land on some poor farmer.
Words of Wisdom:
“EXCELLENT!” – One of the experts does a decent David Banks impression. In a better story, this would be a clue that he was an agent of the Cybermen...
“It is foolish to resist. You will enter the Cyber-craft without causing further trouble or you will d-i-e!” – TV Comic show one last time that they got the ridiculous dialogue of Tenth Planet Cybermen down pat.
“If you ever want a job as a test pilot, you know there’s one waiting for you!” “Nice of you to make the offer. Farewell!” – The Doctor legs it to the TARDIS before Commander Knight tries to get him to be an unofficial scientific advisor, presumably thinking him a worse bet than the Brotherhood. Or UNIT.
- Commander Knight thanks the Doctor and offers him a job as a test pilot. The Doctor runs away. An action-packed new Dr. Who adventure begins next week: UFO!
At The End of the Day:
Whoever the nutter was who took over from Roger Noel Cook, he clearly wanted to have a string of one-off tales pitting the Doctor against his most famous foes and bits of TV Comic continuity one last time. If they hadn’t presumably locked him up, who knows what the next story would feature – Trods? Ice Apes? Kleptons? Jamie, John and Gillian fighting Daleks? Oh well. David Banks reprinted this entire story in his book Cybermen to show a) the Tenth Planet Cybermen was the one most embraced by comic book artists and b) TV Comic really was that retarded. The plot is utterly predictable and not very exciting, with the Cybermen trying to steal a plane that blows them up and they and the Doctor are sidelined in favor of crude space battles and Commander Knight and his bran-dead ‘experts’ who famously failed to get their own spin-off. The previous story had a better idea, characterization and plot in the same four pages and total disregard for continuity. If The Highlanders proved historicals sucked, Test-Flight! proved that TV Comic continuity was the last thing to embrace. Things would be back to normal next week... as much as TV Comic was EVER ‘normal’ to begin with...