Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers
The Eighth Doctor and Josie return in this fifth and final chapter of their intergalactic adventure, this time investigating the last stop on their enigmatic to-do list. The Time Lord and his companion find themselves on a Bakri resurrection barge – a futuristic spa in deep space – and within moments of their arrival, a murder suddenly takes place. In a classic case of “wrong place, wrong time”, The Doctor and Josie are accused of killing the victim and locked up for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s up to the pair to escape from their cell, find out who the real culprit is, and perhaps get to the bottom of a few other mysteries along the way…
Much like the previous issue, this story from Titan Comics mixes together a number of themes recently seen in the television show, and, in particular, there’s seemingly several cues taken from Series 9. There’s an exploration of secret identities being suppressed (much like in the Zygon two-parter) and there’s even some wibbly-wobbly reverse engineering, last seen in Before The Flood. However, whereas Issue #4 used familiar elements in a less impactful, by-the-numbers approach, this latest entry employs them much more effectively and at times can actually be rather thought-provoking. The very concept of the Synths – human consciousnesses uploaded into newly manufactured bodies – has a lot of deep and meaningful potential, and there’s some satisfying pay-off in how it all comes together.
In fact, the entire adventure is a well-written affair. The Eighth Doctor is captured excellently and is given a powerful, profound speech around the mid-point of the story which really hits home some of the key issues being raised. It’s not all serious, though, with a good balance of wit and some smile-inducing gags, but the mystery is where the issue really shines. As you work your way through the pages you naturally uncover the truth about the murder at the beginning, but there’s also a few bigger shocks and twists in store, including where The Doctor’s to-do list came from and what it means, as well as some truths about the past that Josie has been hiding from The Doctor all along…
If there’s one downside to this Eighth Doctor finale, it’s that you ideally need to have read and be familiar with the other four preceding issues in order to fully appreciate the resolution – however, that’s to be expected of a climactic conclusion and if anything it’s all the more reason to catch up on this brilliant series if you haven’t already. Some of the revelations come at a quick-fire pace towards the end, but considering the comic spans only around 30 pages, it never feels too rushed or too convoluted.
With great writing, a great story, and a heap of great surprises – including a delightfully unexpected treat (or two) popping up right at the very end, just for good measure – there’s absolutely every reason to pick up and enjoy the Eighth Doctor’s latest comic adventure. It’s big on themes and big in scope, neatly tying up loose ends and serving as a fitting finale that feels right at home in the modern era of the series. We can only hope there’s more Eighth Doctor tales to be told in the future!
- Writer: George Mann
- Artist: Emma Vieceli
- Colorist: Hi-Fi
- Letterer: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
- Publisher: Titan Comics
- Released: March 16