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Comic Book Review
Clara and the Doctor have been through a lot together: Earth was invaded, wars were averted, and many adventures had. Now it’s time for a well-deserved break, and what better time to kick back and enjoy a mince pie or two than Christmas? When a mysterious Christmas card materialises on the TARDIS console, the Doctor and Clara are pulled into an inter-dimensional adventure of astoundingly festive proportions! Packed with impossible sights and nigh-insurmountable stakes, this special issue also contains puzzles and games woven into the story…!
Beating issue #15 (the conclusion of the Hyperion Empire storyline) to the newsstands by a good couple of weeks comes #16, also known as the 2015 Holiday Special!
We won’t be getting a Christmas special featuring Clara Oswald on television this year, due to Jenna Coleman’s departure from the show, but this comic fills the niche very nicely indeed. At 28 pages, it’s a longer episode than usual, leaving no room for Colin Bell and Neil Slorance’s humour strip this time. The story’s length also means that the credits appear over the opening scenes rather than on a separate page as usual.
Relative Dimensions (coincidentally also the title of a festive audio episode from Big Finish) is full of lovely details, such as a shot that replicates the pose of a well-known publicity still of Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) and the First Doctor (William Hartnell), and lots of other familiar friends and foes – though I have to admit I had trouble recognising a couple of them. For one moment, I thought that George Mann and Cavan Scott’s tale might be about to tread on the toes of the reunion that took place in the audio Relative Dimensions, but fortunately it does not.
Having more in common with madcap and surreal stories such as Doctor Who Magazine’s Once Upon a Time Lord (1985), Planet of the Dead (1988) and Endgame (1996), this adventure encapsulates the brilliant lunacy of days gone by, as the Doctor and Clara become trapped in Christmas postcards, a snakes and ladders board and other games. The whole caper is beautifully realised by artist Mariano Laclaustra and colourist Carlos Cabrera, with art assistance from Fer Centurion and Agus Calcagno.
I won’t go into any more detail about exactly what happens in this strip, because it might spoil the Christmas surprise for you. I’d much rather you unwrapped it for yourself...