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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Eleventh Doctor #2


Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Simon Fraser
Colourist: Gary Caldwell
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 10 September 2014

When the Doctor last visited Rokhandi, it was a planet of such stunning natural beauty that an entire solar system had sworn to preserve it. What better place to take new companion Alice Obiefune on her first off-world adventure? It would have been a magical vacation… if the TARDIS hadn’t overshot by fifty years! Now the austerity-hit pleasure planet has become a ‘theme safari’ corporate hell, overrun by eerie, giant-headed mascots and a trillion tramping tourist feet! But there’s something more sinister at play than rampant commercialism and ecological devastation, and the Doctor and Alice will need to uncover all of Rokhandi’s long-buried secrets if they’re to escape with their lives...

The second issue of this series builds upon the strengths of the previous one.

Once again, a fine balance is struck between the fun and frivolity of certain panels and some grim moments and poignant revelations in others – the most dramatic example being an intricate double-page spread which contrasts the unspoilt paradise that the planet Rokhandi used to be with the industrial wasteland that it has now become. Some reviewers have compared the false jollity of the theme park to The Happiness Patrol, though it reminded me more of The Macra Terror, with its supposedly ‘happy’ colony with a parasite lying at its heart, intent upon silencing any dissenting voices.

Writer Al Ewing provides more great Doctor moments, such as when Alice sarcastically wonders whether anyone has ever attempted to throttle the infuriating Time Lord with his own bow tie, to which the man replies, “Well, this one happens to be a clip-on. And also… Yes. Hence the clip-on.” A couple of pages later he is seen merrily firing away at annoyingly cute stuffed corporate merchandise at a shooting range, offering the explanation that he wants to win one of those really useful paper targets that he’s always wanted.

A less fortunate bit of repetition is that for two issues in a row the Doctor and Alice face an alien creature that feeds on mental energy – though perhaps this is a deliberate connection that will be explored further at a later date. Also, the Doctor’s invitation to the creature to “Come and get it” and feed on his mind has been done a few times during the television series.

On a more positive note, artist Simon Fraser’s rendition of Matt Smith is improving. Also, though this is not an actual serial, certain continuing plot strands build to an exciting “TO BE CONTINUED!” caption at the end of the strip, which promises an increasing scope as the series unfolds. Both of these factors are good indications for the future development of this comic book – which looks set to be a lot more appealing than the industrial revolution of Rokhandi.


Richard McGinlay

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