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Comic Book Review
Clara and the Doctor landed amid the bright lights of 1960s Las Vegas for some rest and relaxation, but their luck quickly ran out! A group of intergalactic high-stakes marauders, known as the Cybock Imperium, has crashed the party, intent on world domination – and on erasing all who stand against them with the help of a stolen Time Lord weapon! With Clara and the legendary Wolf Pack captured, it’s up to the Doctor and boxer Sonny Lawson to muscle their way past the Cybocks – without rolling snake eyes on the dice of fate! How much is the Doctor willing to gamble to save Earth from being wiped from existence…?
At the risk of upsetting the Titan Comics mob (Robbie ‘the scribe’ Morrison, Brian ‘the artist’ Williamson and Mariano ‘inky’ Laclaustra), I have to say that the second and final episode of Gangland does not live up to the promise of the first.
Following another dramatic and finely rendered flashback sequence (this time showing how the octopoid Kronos got his tentacles on Rassilon’s time gun), events zip past with little opportunity for reflection or character development. The Rat Pack – sorry, Wolf Pack – don’t get to do much, aside from half a page of hoofing and fighting towards the end… though I was interested to note that their agent looks uncannily like Toby Jones. (Reference photograph alert!) Other characters reveal their true colours at the drop of a fedora.
At least the regulars still have their moments. When mob boss Nick Dragotta asks the Doctor if he’s trying to be a smart-ass, the Time Lord cannot help but be just that in his reply, “Trying hard not to be, actually, but you don’t make it easy.” When Kronos boasts to Clara about the previous conquests of the Cybock Imperium, she winds him up by replying, “Right… and now you’re running a bar – sorry, casino – on a backwater world like Earth? Doesn’t sound very imperious.” The Doctor’s closing comment references a famous song by Frank Sinatra… even though Sinatra doesn’t seem to exist in this version of history. Perhaps in this universe, Frankie Seneca sang My Way.
The differences between the two artists are more apparent this time around. Williamson’s line work is much finer than Laclaustra’s. Compare how they render the Cybocks’ eyes – all shiny and metallic when Williamson does them, but mostly black when Laclaustra does them. I guess they both did it their way. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the individual styles of two artists, but it’s hard to avoid when their work is presented side by side like this. It will be interesting to see how Laclaustra stands up as a solo artist next issue…