Petra the Perfect Stranger (1980)


When Petra Smith joins Clandon Comprehensive, Terry Bull finds there is a real mystery about her. She is too perfect at everything, is oddly clueless about human nature, and her house is devoid of real human habitation, including parents.

Eventually Terry discovers Petra is from a dying planet. Her people sent her to Earth to see if it would make a suitable home for them. But after finding out – the hard way – that her people have no natural immunity to the common cold, Petra will be reporting to them that it is not.



  • Artist: George Martin


  • Petra the Perfect Stranger – Tracy: #48 (30 August 1980) – #54 (11 October 1980)

3 thoughts on “Petra the Perfect Stranger (1980)

  1. Odds are, Petra is a robot, a laboratory created pseudo-human, or an alien. Wonder which one it is?

  2. Petra Smith is from a different planet, and because of her knowledge, that is streets ahead of that of her classmates at Clandon Comprehensive, she finds it difficult to fit in appropriately to her class and be accepted. Terry Bull offers her friendship, which is accepted. Most instalments follow roughly the same pattern. The final instalment, on the other hand, is very different. Terry and Petra are caught in a shower of rain on their way to school one day. Petra is badly affected, and quickly catches a cold, eyes streaming, throat sore, so much so that her ability to respond to a straightforward Maths question is compromised. Terry and her friend Gail are asked to take Petra home. When they get there Petra shuts her door, saying she has no wish to trouble her friends any further. After school Terry goes to Petra’s house, only to find her slumped on the floor. Terry tells her she will get her a doctor but Petra tells her she needs her help so that she can go back to her parents. That involves getting her into a machine that Petra refers to as a matter transporter. Petra explains that her people live on a planet many light years away, and are looking for a suitable planet to settle on as theirs is gradually dying. After searching for many years they discovered Earth, which seemed perfect for them, so they sent Petra (not her real name of course) to check it out. The common cold rules out all their plans as they have no resistance to it. Petra is dying in Terry’s arms. Terry has to get her rapidly into the matter transporter. The dials are set, Petra is safely into the machine, from where she thanks Terry for being her friend, and says she hopes to see her again in the future. Oddly, the control box is on the outside of the transporter, so Terry has to press the start button. In a matter of seconds, the machine and Petra have gone. Terry then muses about her perfect stranger, and hopes that her people find somewhere suitable to live, especially if they are all like Petra, “with no spite, no lies, only perfection on their planet.”

    1. Thank you for the information, Derek. I was beginning to think an alien was the most likely possibility.

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