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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Tenth Doctor #3


Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colourist: Arianna Florean
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 08 October 2014

Torn between the home world of vicious psychic parasites and the worsening chaos in Sunset Park, the Doctor must battle through his worst nightmares in order to save the lives of everyone in New York – everyone in the world! His sole ally, if she’s strong enough to withstand the aliens’ psychic predations, is Gabriella Gonzalez. With the help of his trusty sonic screwdriver and a frustrated Mexican-American artist, trapped in her father’s laundromat, can the Doctor defeat the ultimate bad spirits? What will be left of Gabby’s corner of the world if she and the Doctor succeed? This graveyard shift is living up to its name…

The Revolutions of Terror storyline is concluded in this issue – the release of which is neatly timed so that Halloween in Sunset Park coincides with the time of year in the real world (you know, the one we’re living in).

Writer Nick Abadzis packs in plenty of references to the Doctor Who television series, as the Time Lord is confronted by his fears, including the Beast, Sutekh and a Cyberman. Curiously, he also sees the ‘reborn via black magic’ version of the Master (a bestubbled and hooded John Simm) and the gauntlet-wielding Timothy Dalton incarnation of Rassilon, versions of the characters that were not seen prior to the Tenth Doctor’s final adventure, The End of Time. So how can he be ‘remembering’ them now? It’s possible that the Doctor encountered the ruthless Dalton Rassilon during the Time War, but the Master is harder to explain. Could the Cerebravores be terrorising the Doctor with visions from his own future?

There is even more nostalgia in the humorous one-page Psychic Paper, Inc strip at the back of the book, which features a delightfully disdainful Sensorite.

While the Doctor spends time on an alien planet, interacting with a reptilian survivor he encounters there, Gabby gets sidelined for a bit at the beginning of this instalment, though she is richly rewarded at the end of the story. She is granted new freedoms on a couple of levels – including a chance to board the TARDIS! The writer neatly sidesteps the Doctor’s stated reluctance to take on another companion after the hearts-rending departure of Donna Noble (this series takes place some time between Journey’s End and The End of Time). Gabby’s inadvertent choice of words gives the lonely Time Lord hope that “no song should end too soon”. Indeed, the girl’s reinvigoration of the Doctor’s joie de vivre might go some way towards explaining his happy-go-lucky attitude at the start of The End of Time.

There are some curious inconsistencies in artist Elena Casagrande’s visualisation of Gabriella. One almost expects this kind of thing with licensed characters, but not with artist-created ones like Gabby. The size of her eyes vary considerably, from tiny nonplussed pinpoints to big worried saucers (I was reminded of the cover to the Eels album Beautiful Freak). Perhaps this has been done for deliberate effect. Certainly the girl’s face can be highly expressive – just check out the imploring ‘Puss in Boots’ look that she unleashes on the Doctor towards the end of this issue!

All in all, things are looking up for Gabriella Gonzalez, and for this series.


Richard McGinlay

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