EDITORS NOTES – CONTAINS SPOILERS
The story so far: The Overcast blame the Doctor for the death of their people, the disappearance of their gods, and the appearance of the deadly Malignant. They hired The Here and The Now, a horrific temporal bounty hunter, to punish the Doctor for his sins. The also hired Abslom Daak, who ambushed the Doctor aboard the TARDIS, who is now stuck around because the TARDIS has “stolen” his cryogenically-frozen wife and hidden her. After travelling back to the traumatic incident that created the Malignant…the Doctor is forced to admit that it may be possible that he – in the form of the War Doctor – did do this. And now something’s gone wrong with the TARDIS.
Parts 2.3 and 2.4 of the latest Titan Comics Eleventh Doctor adventure merrily zip along with plenty of talking, lots of perilous action, and some important questions that need to be answered.
The Doctor, held in a torture chamber by the Overcast, hardly needs to be made to talk; indeed, the Overcast don’t get a chance to ask a single solitary question as the Doctor launches into a ramble about what they want from him and why. Unfortunately, what the Overcast want are memories that the Doctor won’t – or can’t – access. Memories from the time when he wasn’t the Doctor.
Only, hold on – isn’t a Time Lord memory like time itself? According to the Doctor, it is. Which begs the question: if there are gaps in his memory, then surely this means that there must be gaps in time?
Also missing some important memories is the Squire; stuck at an unmoving door in an inert TARDIS with former library assistant (and comic-only companion) Alice Obiefune. The Squire is devastated at finding herself old and doesn’t understand when it happened. She’s convinced that she was the Doctor’s companion during the Time War, yet he doesn’t remember her.
The Squire and Alice’s search for a way out and/or the Doctor is rudely interrupted by the exciting and shouty bounty hunter Abslom Daak, who quite literally crashes the party. Abslom is very, very angry and he’s looking for his wife. And the Doctor.
Following a nifty (actually, baffling) move, the Doctor is out of the torture chamber and back on the TARDIS with the Squire, Alice and Abslom. Our not-very-merry gang set off for the remains of the planet Veestrax, which the Doctor had sent to another part of the Universe before time-locking the Time War.
The Doctor needs to answer an important question: if the Time War is time-locked, and the Squire was in the Time War, how can she be with him now? The answer seems to lie with an old foe of the Doctor.
These latest instalments are pretty well executed, with a split page layout depicting Alice and the Squire in the TARDIS and the Doctor in the Overcast torture chamber in #2.3 particularly well done. The scenes on the planet Veestrax in #2.4 are a hoot as the magnificently mad Abslom Daak launches his chain-sword on the “Semantics” – crab-like scraps of sentient metal as they attack the Doctor and his companions.
The artwork in these instalments is particularly well done (poster-worthy, even), especially in depicting the Squire’s past, and a moving scene where the Doctor asks his former selves to remember whether he always left things better than he found them. A question his former selves are not able – or willing – to answer.
The companions in these instalments are a very good bunch and they’re definitely not simply along-for-the-ride types. Alice and the Squire are potentially an unlikely partnership and yet the dynamic between the two works really well as they act together in the absence of the Doctor. But the best thing by a Gallifreyan mile is the wonderfully psychotic Abslom Daak.
A hardened criminal turned Dalek killer turned bounty hunter and dedicated husband; Abslom is a rough, yet fascinating mix of snarl and reflection. Holding a metaphorical mirror up to the Doctor, he asks who of them has killed the most Daleks and what that question means for the Doctor.
And so we’re left with enough questions to be answered that we can’t wait to see what the next episode – and who the Doctor believes is behind the mystery of the Squire – to have us rubbing our hands while we await the next instalment.
Blogtor Rating 8/10
WRITTEN BY Si Spurrier and Rob Williams
ARTWORK BY Simon Fraser
COVERS BY Alex Ronald, Josh Cassara, Luis Guerrero,
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
RELEASED: 9th December 2015 (#2.3) & 23rd December 2015 (#2.4)