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Comic Book Review
To infinity and back to end a cosmic war! Interstellar dogfights still rage in the skies over London! When Alice is forced into a high-stakes solo challenge that could end the conflict, she’ll need to muster everything she’s learned on her travels with the Doctor in order to succeed – and even that might not be enough! Has the Doctor made a grave mistake, or is it all part of a larger plan? Can the impossible really happen in this extraordinary universe, or is this a darker mystery that he just can’t stop himself from solving? Plus, we’ve heard of the fearsome Amstrons of the Great Wheel – but what is their shocking secret…?
There’s humour where you might least expect it – in the immediate aftermath of last issue’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger. This is quite a Steven Moffat thing to do, so kudos to writer Al Ewing for picking up on that. Alice is surprised by the Doctor’s reaction to the apparent miracle she has presented to him. We see parodies of her fellow travellers (of the series concept as a whole, really) as she imagines the reaction she had hoped for, with the Doctor explaining things via impenetrable pseudoscience: “Temporal protogenic reversal! … In certain cases, time travel on the blah blah thing spectrum something something Time Lord stuff!” Meanwhile, Jones boasts that ARC “did a weird alien thing and I referenced my back catalogue! And now everything’s all right!”
Things turn sombre again as Alice reminds the Doctor that, “We see miracles every single day,” and asks, “but not today? Is that what you’re saying?” This gives the Time Lord pause for thought, because he has seen such miracles before – he thinks of Rory Williams as but one example.
There’s also more than a hint of 2001: A Space Odyssey in this issue – or perhaps that should be Space Oddity, given Jones’s penchant for misquoting David Bowie. In a scene straight out of the aforementioned movie, Alice turns around to find an elderly and dying person lying in bed. It’s not herself, though, but a memory of her late mother, who has wisdom to impart.
Elsewhere, it is revealed that the endless war between the Amstrons and the J’arrodic Federation is connected to a Stargate-like portal to an extraordinary realm, in which… could that be the creator in there? Any readers with spiritual beliefs may be disappointed by the implications of this comic: that war is the inevitable consequence of disagreements over the nature of a deity. In other words, the Amstrons and the J’arrodic were getting along just fine before they found God. It takes a person who lacks faith to break the cycle. Ironically, that in itself is something of a miracle. I don’t have a faith, so I wasn’t offended, but some people might be. Personally, I found this storyline compelling and decidedly tragic.
On a lighter note, I take back what I said last issue about the Amstrons’ similarity to the Sontarans. There’s a wonderful moment in which they prove to be not like Sontarans at all! I will say no more – spoilers!
A conflict may be over, but the Doctor’s battle continues. In light of recent events, he decides to set the TARDIS on course for a showdown. Things are getting serious again. He means business, and it’ll serve the bad guys right…
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