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Comic Book Review
How do you go up against a race of giant deities intent upon committing genocide in the middle of the worst war the Universe has ever seen? Any sensible person would say, you don’t… The endgame begins, as the architect of the Doctor’s pain stands revealed, and the truth behind the Squire is out in the open at last! With Alice still trapped in the Time War, and Abslom Daak itching to take a chainsword to the enemy, can the Doctor broker peace and balm his guilty soul…?!
When two very different artists share the same issue, as they do here, you almost inevitably see the join – and artists don’t get much more different than the exaggerated dynamism of Simon Fraser versus the fine-line realism of I.N.J. Culbard. Fortunately, the division of labour is managed well here, with Fraser handling the ‘present day’ parts of the story, featuring the returning Eleventh Doctor and Abslom Daak (yay!), and Culbard continuing to render the Time War strand of the plot, as he has done for the last couple of issues.
The Eleventh Doctor is characteristically downbeat one minute and up the next. “I’m sorry,” he says, when he realises that he is the indirect cause of a complete chronal meltdown. “I wanted to prove that I wasn’t responsible for creating the Malignant. But it seems I may have inadvertently destroyed the universe in the process.” Moments later, he is full of optimism again, as he realises there is a smidgen of hope amidst the chaos: “Oh, stop being such a wimp, Daak. It’s only the end of all life in the universe as we know it. Where’s your sense of adventure?” Daak, meanwhile, is brief and to the point, as usual: “*$%& your TARDIS! Get us outta here!”
Bringing together the Eleventh Doctor and the Time War poses potential problems, of course, because he and the War Doctor will subsequently meet (later in life for both of them and apparently for the first time) in The Day of the Doctor, so how can they cross paths here without causing a major continuity headache or at the very least upsetting the dramatic arc of that 50th anniversary special? In the name of peace and sanity, writer Rob Williams manages to navigate this complexity with great aplomb.
What happens to the Master is less clear-cut, but perhaps we’ll learn more about his paradoxical fate before this year’s story is concluded…