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Comic Book Review
When Gabby and the Doctor arrive by accident in No Man’s Land in July, 1916, they’re met by Corporal Jamie Colqhoun – a soldier who knows from bitter experience that there are worse things than the Jerries out there in the rat-strewn trenches. Things that drift through the smoke of a thousand cannon shells, and move only when you look away. Shadows that flit over artillery-blasted field hospitals and throw their terrifying wings over the living. Statues that steal your life in an instant. Trapped in the midst of a starving flock of Weeping Angels, the Doctor faces his most challenging and terrifying dilemma yet...
This issue heralds not only a new storyline but also a new creative team… and an old enemy!
Having done great work with Titan’s Twelfth Doctor series, writer Robbie Morrison now gets to tackle another Scottish Doctor (not that you could ever tell he was Scottish from David Tennant’s convincing English accent). Morrison proves just as adept at capturing the speech patterns of Tennant’s Time Lord as he was when dealing with Capaldi’s, with dialogue gems such as “You humans are all the same. ‘Wet paint. Do not touch.’ Splat! ‘Danger. Nuclear weapons. Do not press.’ Boom!” and “That’s not a kettle! It’s an ingeniously improvised interface between two vitally important time/space thingamajigs!” He also populates his story with a platoon of battle-hardened Scottish soldiers. It may come as no surprise to learn that Morrison is a Scots laddie himself. However, while the Scottish characters are convincing, I didn’t get much of a sense of Gabby’s personality and background in this issue.
Morrison’s work is brought to life by Daniel Indro, whose artwork is rich with grim detail, as befits the First World War setting. His landscape is full of grey rubble, blasted wasteland, swirling gas, bright orange explosions, and frightened and angry people. If anything, we could have done with a few more smiles at the start of the story – on the faces of Gabby and the Doctor before they realise exactly where and when they are. On balance, though, there is little to fault the quality of the art in this issue.
Ironically, the only significant pitfall is actually the main selling point of the issue: the presence of the Weeping Angels. Though it is undeniably exciting to have the creatures here – the first old enemies to make more than a cameo appearance in a Titan comic – what makes the Angels so uniquely scary on screen cannot truly be depicted in this medium. Though they move, they always seem to be standing stock still – and how do you show that in a comic strip, in which every image is a still image? If anything, by appearing to show tiny bits of debris falling from the Angels, the artist conveys a sense of movement that should not be there.
Perhaps I am over-thinking this. After all, most if not all of this comic’s readers will have seen the Weeping Angels ‘in action’ on television, and will bring their own understanding of the creatures to their reading. And maybe that debris will prove to be significant – let’s wait and see in the next episode…
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