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Comic Book Review
The planet Wupatki is a perfect example of human colonists living in harmony with indigenous life – in this case, the Shan’tee, conceptual beings perceived by humans as hauntingly beautiful music! But the Doctor and Gabby are walking straight into a war. A mysterious signal of unknown origin has corrupted the song of the Shan’tee – and now the human colonists are trapped in a fight for their lives! Can the Doctor, Gabby and a synaesthesic scientist uncover the truth and bring the war to an end without further bloodshed… or will the song consume them all? Don’t miss this all-new chapter in the lives of the Tenth Doctor and Gabby…!
Rather than following issue #15 with issue #16, as one might expect, Titan Comics has elected to reset the numbering of its Doctor Who comics after each title’s first 15-issue cycle of stories. Therefore this first issue of Year Two is #2.1.
Artist Eleonora Carlini returns (she’ll be alternating with Elena Casagrande over the coming months), following her one-shot stint with the Echo episode in issue #10. Coincidentally, this is another story with a sound-based motif – for the Shan’tee, one of three major life forms on the planet Wupatki, are composed of beautiful song. Their chief spokesperson is an insubstantial being known as Smokey, who is visually perceptible thanks to the invention of a scientist with synaesthesia (a neurological phenomenon in which senses can become intertwined, leading to experiences such as ‘seeing’ sounds).
“People made of smoke, and cities made of song.” So said the Seventh Doctor at the end of Survival, and the fascinating ecosystem depicted in The Singer Not the Song is not a million miles away from that surreal image. Wupatki is a gas dwarf planet with a convenient habitable, oxygenated layer of atmosphere surrounding it, within which human colonists have constructed a network of floating cities. The Shan’tee sing to giant balloon-like flying cows called Bovodrines (not unlike the Sky Moos from Clangers!), which create the oxygen for the humans, whose presence in turn has increased the sentient awareness of the empathic Shan’tee.
All too soon, however, a dangerous invader threatens the delicate balance…
As the Seventh Doctor once continued: “Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea’s getting cold.” Come on, Doctor and Gabby, you’ve got work to do!