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Comic Book Review
“Charlotte! You mustn’t say such things... And we should consider turning back for the house. This mist is settling – and the best of the light will soon be gone…” Fresh from their adventures in Las Vegas, the Doctor and Clara are eager for a change of scenery, but their next destination proves to be a shocking change of pace. They find themselves in the midst of a chilling Gothic mystery when the TARDIS materialises on the misty moors of Derbyshire, 1845, and an unusual case of a dreaming sickness plagues the guests at Lord Marlborough’s mansion…
I admit I had my doubts about Mariano Laclaustra handling the art chores of this comic on his own. During his collaborations with Dave Taylor and Brian Williamson earlier on in this series, Laclaustra’s pages had proven to be the weakest.
However, his work in this issue is remarkably good, rich in fine line detail and with a real sense of depth and scale. It’s not quite a solo effort, because inking assistance is provided by Fernando Centurion and Nelson Pereira, but it helps enormously that the comic has been produced in a consistent style throughout, whereas in previous collaborations it was possible to see the join. One downside is that sometimes it is difficult to tell the guest character of Charlotte (who accompanies the Doctor for much of the story) from Clara, as facially the two look quite similar.
Writer George Mann flexes his comic-writing muscles in this one-shot adventure, prior to launching Titan’s Eighth Doctor series. He does a good job of characterising the sardonic Twelfth Doctor and the sassy Clara, though there are signs of the writer struggling to squeeze his narrative into a single issue – there are some rather abrupt changes of scene, in particular between pages 4 and 5, when we fast-forward to bedtime.
Nevertheless, this is an effectively creepy tale. When Lord Marlborough insists that his party will go ahead, in spite of recent incidents, you just know there’s going to be trouble! It’s a threat that will unsettle arachnophobes, and there’s a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.
Meanwhile, the humour strip by Colin Bell and Neil Slorance gives us not one, not two, but five Masters! Well, four Masters and one Missy, but it amounts to the same thing…