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Comic Book Review
A brand new arc begins, as the Doctor and crew break Professor River Song out of jail to pull off the heist of, well, any century! Their mission: to steal a TARDIS! But whose? And why? More importantly, how can a TARDIS be so evil that it has to be locked away? Spoilers! But the Doctor hasn’t just broken River out of prison for her criminal expertise. He needs to know the answer to an exceptionally pressing question...
Though publicised as a “brand new arc”, this issue (the first of a two-part story entitled The One) is really the continuation of an impressively audacious year-long storyline, with the Doctor and his companions seeking answers regarding crimes he is supposed to have committing during the Time War. Those companions include the recent additions of the Squire (who claims to have fought alongside the War Doctor) and Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer.
Now we can add another ally to the roster: River Song, who dramatically entered the frame at the end of the previous issue. As rendered by Simon Fraser, we get a rather cartoony likeness of her, but there’s no mistaking those tight curls and that mischievous grin. As written by Rob Williams, River is her usual sardonic yet dependable self, referring to Alice as “the side companion” (because this series takes place between the Eleventh Doctor’s adventures with the Ponds), knowing what the Doctor is going to say before he does, and telling him that she’d much rather see “the smartest man in the room unravelling his mysteries” than give him any spoilers about his personal history.
We get to see “the smartest man” in action towards the end of this issue, as he takes all the problems and enemies that are stacked against him, and turns them to his advantage. This is the Eleventh Doctor at his most cunning – and all the while wearing a Dan Dare spacesuit!
Further nostalgia is to be had in the Doctor’s office inside the TARDIS, which he clearly hasn’t visited (or tidied up) since his fourth incarnation. Here we find lots of relics from the Tom Baker era, including his trademark coat, hat and scarf, a bust of the Time Lord tyrant Morbius, and a packet of jelly babies. Later we arrive at a planet that may or not count as coming from the Tom Baker era, because… oops, I’ve said too much already. Spoilers!