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Comic Book Review
Into the lion’s den! The Doctors take the fight to the enemy – but have they already been outmanoeuvred? Having shaken off the Reapers, the Doctors have taken their TARDISes to Marinus, despite Clara’s warnings to the contrary. It’s a planet they’ve never heard of – though they somehow sense that they should have done. Arriving on Marinus, the Doctors and his companions were shot at – by weapons firing from outside of space-time. The fate-sealing photograph has been taken at last. Their voyeuristic enemy are the Voord – who have a new leader…
For this issue of the multi-Doctor miniseries, the Eleventh Doctor is the cover star, and it is his comic-strip companion, former library assistant Alice Obiefune, who provides the narration. She makes some wise observations about the Doctors and about Time Lord mentality in general: “Maybe that’s why Time Lords change – so if they suffer guilt or… grief… they can become someone else. And they still remember it, only – maybe it’s like it happened to someone else?” Thanks to her age and her experiences of travelling with her Doctor, Alice has something of an advantage over the more naïve Gabby, Ten’s companion: “This distrust of himself, this potential to become something terrible, to settle for something not right – I’ve seen that in my Doctor, too. I don’t think Gabby knew that about hers. That one is trying to hide so much. He’s running from himself. It’s like there’s a shadow over all of them… this ‘Time War’ they talk about.”
As in the novel Timewyrm: Revelation, his first professionally published piece of Doctor Who fiction, author Paul Cornell delves deep into the Doctor’s troubled psyche. Thanks to the detonation of a continuity bomb (which is a Dalek weapon left over from the Time War, though it sounds like something a careless writer might drop by accident!), we see alternative versions of the three most recent Doctors at pivotal moments of decision in their lives: the Tenth Doctor in The End of Time; the Eleventh Doctor during The Wedding of River Song; and the Twelfth Doctor post-Dark Water. Of these three sequences, the depiction of Ten as the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ is the most effective and chilling.
During this flashback, Wilfred Mott doesn’t look much like Bernard Cribbins, but artist Neil Edwards redeems himself by providing some neat transparency effects for the ghostly observers, our heroes.
Earlier on, the creative team play mix and match with the Doctors and their companions during an all-too-brief ‘run for your life’ sequence. Of these, the most poignant is the interaction between Clara and an Eleventh Doctor who shouldn’t really have met her yet. Learning that he is not to be the final Doctor after all is “a ginormous weight off [his] shoulders,” he says, “And if this new me is with someone as nice as you, well – he must be a very cool sort of me.” It’s… complicated, replies Clara. This is a beautiful little moment.
And finally, the additional Doctor is revealed… but he’s probably not the one you were expecting! Cue an excellent look of wide-eyed astonishment on the face of Alice Obiefune. Roll on #4!