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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Tenth Doctor #5


Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colourist: Arianna Florean
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 17 December 2014

With the Doctor half the man he should be, his mind elsewhere in an alien tourist trap, Gabriella is left to shoulder the burden of saving him, the planet, and the future of art in our galaxy – and all on her first off-world trip, no less! Trapped in a terrifying creative retreat, where what was once beautiful has been rendered corrupt and horrifying, is Gabby’s imagination strong enough to reverse whatever has been done to the Doctor and save an intergalactic artistic community from itself? You’d better hope she can pull out all the stops! Who, or what, are the deadly apprentices – and what plans do they have for the Doctor…?

The two-part Arts in Space plotline is resolved in this issue.

It’s a story that has really allowed the artistry of Elena Casagrande to take flight – with due credit also for the help provided by ink assistant Michele Pasta, layout assistant Annapaola Martello, Giorgia Sposito, Paolo Villanelli and colourist Arianna Florean, who supplies a few more charmingly cartoony excerpts from Gabby’s sketchbook. There’s a surrealist flavour to events, as the Doctor falls victim to some M. C. Escher architecture (what with the references to block transfer computation, I’m guessing that writer Nick Abadzis is a fan of Christopher H. Bidmead’s Doctor Who stories from the early 1980s), a crumbling staircase becomes a rearing dragon’s head, the artistic retreat is besieged by Henry Moore-ish sculptures, and a swarm of butterflies metamorphose into photographic mouths.

Gabriella Gonzalez’s creative powers also summon up a vision of an Ood, which builds upon the girl’s apparently coincidental choice of phrase at the end of #3, transforming it into a full-blown foreshadowing of The End of Time. “We see and hear much,” the apparition tells Gabby, “but yours is a new harmony… happening so many years ago and in the future, changing the now…” The Ood Elder says something very similar in The End of Time: “So many years ago, and yet changing the now.” Both Ood Sigma and the Ood Elder criticise the Doctor in that story for having delayed his destiny, and it would seem that his travels with Gabriella are part of that postponement.

After all that weirdness, the explanation for it and solution to it prove to be rather simplistic, but overall this is an entertaining work of art.

And if you think that the conclusion of the tale means that there’s any danger of the reader losing the urge to see the next issue, think again. I was very excited to see that #6 will feature the return of an old enemy – the Weeping Angels, no less!


Richard McGinlay

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