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Comic Book Review
Just one issue away from this year’s season finale, and things have never looked more dangerous for the Doctor and Gabby! Separated by an ancient force from the centre of the galaxy, the Doctor takes a cosmic trip into the history of the universe, while Gabby must negotiate with an unearthly intelligence for the sake of the planet! How much has she learned from her brief travels with the Doctor – and will it be enough to save her…?
Oh, so it was the Doctor and co who got zapped at the end of the previous issue! I had been somewhat confused as to what happened, mistakenly believing that the cliffhanger involved some glowing energy heading towards Gabby and the rejuvenated movie star Dorothy Bell. The recap at the beginning of this instalment makes it clear, as do the events that follow, that the Doctor has been beamed aboard a huge alien vessel hovering over New York City.
Rather more effective storytelling surrounds the identity of the ‘gods’ idolised by Erik and his fellow cultists. The alien vessel has provided a cunning distraction (well, it fooled me anyway), calling to mind the Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or even the timescooping obelisk from The Five Doctors. But, no, it’s… ah, that would be telling! Readers of this issue won’t have to wait long to find out, as all is revealed, remarkably casually, on page 5. The title of this storyline, Spiral Staircase, is an obscure clue…
Gabby’s best friend Cindy also comes into her own during this issue, arguably gaining companion status by accompanying the Doctor via a teleport beam and in the TARDIS. She’s no placid hanger-on, though (well, she does have to hang on in a quite literal sense, as the Time Lord erratically steers his ship). She gives the Doctor what for, tackling him to the ground at one point, and warning him of harsh consequences if Gabby should ever come to harm while under his protection: “You better take care of her, buster. I love her, y’know.”
Unusually, the art chores are split between two artists: Rachael Stott (who deals with the first 11 pages) and Leonardo Romero (who handles page 12 onwards). I prefer Romero’s work, finding it more dynamic and pleasing to the eye. Witness the aforementioned scene of Cindy hanging on to a TARDIS pillar for dear life, and some awe-inspiring views of the exterior and interior of the alien mothership. Stott is no slouch, either, but her faces tend to be a bit ugly and scowly.
Who fans won’t be scowling, however, as this season of the Tenth Doctor comic heads towards what promises to be a dramatic finale…