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Comic Book Review
A terrifying pyramid has appeared in the skies above New York City, and it’s here to claim an ancient secret – buried in the body of a very-much alive movie star, Dorothy Bell! As the Doctor attempts to unravel the conflict, the friendship between Gabriella Gonzalez and Cindy Wu is stretched to breaking point. Has Gabby changed too much during her short time away aboard the TARDIS – or has she changed just enough to save the day…?
This issue presents the first episode of Spiral Staircase – but don’t go thinking that this is a good place to jump aboard if you are a newcomer to the series! A number of plot strands are carried over from the previous two instalments, Fountains of Forever, including a miraculously rejuvenated actress and a bunch of dangerous cultists on the lookout for an ancient artefact, so this is more like the middle episode of the five-issue season finale. My advice: track down issues 11 and 12 first!
Penciller Elena Casagrande and inker Simone Di Meo treat us to some impressive special effects during this instalment, as Dorothy Bell acquires a Ready Brek glow, uses her new-found abilities to assemble and disassemble buildings, and a strange alien device approaches our planet through the star-flecked heavens. This object, a shiny black entity known as the Seeker, is highly reminiscent of the mysterious Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While the transformation of Ms Bell seems to have many positive sides (true, she experiences a few moments of fear and some ill effects, but she is younger and has some cool powers), the arrival of the Seeker does not bode well for our world. Though the device describes our planet as “the blue jewel”, it regards we “primates” as “unenlightened”, and likens New York City to a “termite mound”. Uh, oh…
One area where the storytelling breaks down, unfortunately, comes right at the end, in the form of this issue’s cliffhanger. I was initially unclear about precisely what happened at this point, as you will discover in my review of the next issue. To be continued…!