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Comic Book Review
Alice Obiefune is trapped in the Time War – caged in a time-locked region of space when stars burned, planets died and abominations walked the worlds, wreaking havoc with every unearthly step! She has lost the Doctor she knew, but the War Doctor has all the answers she seeks – if she can live long enough to extract them! How was the Malignant created? Who killed the Overcaste? What great crime was the Doctor responsible for? But will they be the answers that Alice – and the Doctor – want to hear…?
Despite the series title and the cover illustration shown above, this is much more a War Doctor comic than it is an Eleventh Doctor comic. We and Alice remain in the Time War throughout this issue, though the Eleventh Doctor does appear in eight flashback images on a scanner – rather like the recurring monsters’ “It is the Doctor” moments in Day of the Daleks and Earthshock.
Because this is very much a War Doctor episode, the involvement of a new artist, I.N.J. Culbard, does not stand out as discontinuous or strange. Well, no more strange than it needs to be. Writer Si Spurrier calls for the freakiest types of Dalek you have ever seen, the Volatix Cabal: “Narcissistic, eccentric, sadistic… a Dalek death cult of abominations, deliberately bred for disorder. Reviled by their own kind, tolerated only for the talent that no pure Dalek could possess: creativity.” And Culbard delivers – Spider Daleks, the Special Weapons Dalek and Dalek Caan seem tame compared to these nut-jobs! The artist also gives us a suitably craggy and world-weary likeness of John Hurt as the War Doctor.
I keep on calling him the Doctor, as does Alice (and everyone else come to that), but the Time Lord points out that he doesn’t go by that name any more: “That name is dead and buried.” In fact, everyone here seems to have a title, such as the Squire, rather than a name as such – “That’s wartime for you” – and so it seems entirely fitting that the Time Lord should end up referring to Alice by her job description: librarian.
But who is the little boy we have seen accompanying the hero? We find out in this issue – but I’m not telling!
This is a densely written episode, and I found that a few of the lines went right over my head. For example, what is Alice driving at when she asks the War Doctor, “If you had to detect a mind so… deliberately chaotic that it could only focus on itself… could you?” But for the most part, this is an excellent issue, full of dramatic reveals.
All this and two more prologues to Supremacy of the Cybermen, this time featuring the Sixth Doctor and Mel in (surprisingly) The Trial of a Time Lord, and the Second Doctor and Polly in The Moonbase. The Sixth Doctor episode is slightly marred by the Time Lord wearing the wrong colour tie (it should be red in this story), but as the man himself points out, history itself is being warped. The Second Doctor episode takes two classic lines from Troughton-era Cyber-stories and combines them to dramatic effect.
Cybermen, Daleks and four Doctors in one issue – that’s enough for anyone, surely!
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