The Eleventh Doctor has faced many dire situations during his tenure, and none are quite so agonising as the one he finds himself in at the start of this latest issue from Titan Comics. Picking up where the ongoing story arc left off, The Doctor finds himself trapped between a rock and a hard place, with the sinister Malignant hot on his tail and River Song being eaten away by an unknown force that is digesting her astral template and slowly removing her timeline from history. After a bit of quick thinking and swift manoeuvring, it’s time to go on the run once more and get to the bottom of this mystery – although this is one journey that may take the TARDIS crew to places that they never wanted to go…
Matt Smith’s incarnation of the Time Lord is certainly no stranger to dark plot lines and this is no exception, with a bleak tone that persists throughout the pages. The Doctor is in full-on stern mode from start to finish, clearly overwhelmed by everything that’s going on around him, and it’s certainly interesting to see our hero struggling to cope against such terrible odds. That’s not to say that it’s all doom and gloom – there’s undeniably a couple of moments that have been included to lighten a fan’s mood, even if just in subtle little touches (look out for a nice nod to some of The Doctor’s previous companions as well as his own past… and future!). However, due to the hefty narrative at work here, it’s advisable to catch up on the preceding issues first – unlike many of the other Doctor Who Titan Comics, this is not one that you can just jump into without any foreknowledge.
Once you are fully caught up and on board, though, there’s a lot of enjoyment to take in, and it’s all surprisingly well paced considering how the issue flies past at a breathless speed. There’s a visit to the planet Sshh (formerly known as Lush, but now split in half – a nifty bit of wordplay worth appreciating), a heroic sacrifice, and the ever-present shadows of the Time War and the Daleks. Elsewhere, The Doctor’s companion Alice continues to have backwards memories of a horrifying past, and the issue particularly centres around her as it reaches its climax – The Doctor appears to be pushing some of his companions away, but is it on purpose? In a tense and emotional ending, Alice makes a brave, bold, and inevitable decision: one that will seemingly seal her destiny for good…
While it throws you right in at the deep end, this is one issue that rewards you for sticking with the ongoing story and leaves you dangling on a powerful cliffhanger, desperate to know what’s going to happen next. Needless to say, in a month’s time there’s going to be huge ramifications for Alice, and indeed for The Doctor – but can the day be saved before fate catches up with them?
- Writer: Si Spurrier
- Artist: Leandro Casca
- Colorist: Rodrigo Fernandes
- Letterer: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
- Publisher: Titan Comics
- Released: Wednesday 18th May 2016