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Comic Book Review
It’s the Doctor and Gabby versus Cindy, Cleo and Jack , with the mysterious Mr Ebonite pulling the strings! With friend still pitted against friend, they must fight to keep each other – and themselves – safe, and bring down the arena once and for all. But with their memories wiped and their closest allies strangers, can they really trust anyone?! Forced to race each other for an extraterrestrial artefact, friendships are put to the test in the most surprising of ways – and the TARDIS team changes forever…!
In this, the final episode of Arena of Fear – which is also the resolution of at least five issues’ worth of plot developments – Nick Abadzis struggles somewhat to tell a coherent story. There are a lot of characters in play here, including the Doctor, Gabby, Cindy Wu, Captain Jack, Cleo, Erik, the Neanderthals Munmeth and Muthmunna, and Effrid’s group of freedom fighters, all of them jostling for our attention. During some of the more crowded or action-packed scenes, I struggled to tell some of these characters apart.
Story elements from even further back in this series also come into play, such as the butterflies of Gabby’s fertile imagination and the music box that was created for her by the sentient song known as Smokey.
To his credit, however, the writer manages to give everyone a satisfactory conclusion, even if it is sometimes rather overly reliant on convenience. Of particular note, Captain Jack is presented with the possibility of forming a new top-secret Earth-defence organisation, a successor to Torchwood (though whether this can be followed up remains to be seen), and Cindy proves herself as a travelling companion.
One thing I hadn’t realised until now is that Jack didn’t actually reveal his immortality last issue. It turns out that though he was injured (and healed quickly), he was not mortally wounded.
Talking of abilities, Mr Ebonite’s powers, including being able to disperse himself into little Ebonites, remain very cool. Let’s have him/them back soon.
However, it looks as though we’ll have to wait a while longer for a continuation of the Anubis arc...