Twelfth Doctor # 2 "Terrorformer" - ConclusionBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 3 December 2014 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
Story - Robbie Morrison,
Artist – Dave Taylor,
Colours – Hi-Fi,

, Letterer: Comicraft,
Publisher:Titan Comics
Carrying on from Issue 1 the Doctor and Clara continue to be front and centre of the main action on planet ISEN VI, where a cutting-edge terraforming has gone awry. The mysterious entity that is behind the violent disturbances is fleshed out via the opening flashback sequence. The reader learns of the core history of the Hyperions - a race of sentient sun-like beings- that have turned vicious and destructive as their natural life cycles ended up coming to an end. Such is their all-consuming lust for energy they had completely forgotten their prior placidness. They were ultimately a threat to the entire comos, and this meant that various other powerful species constituted a Galactic Alliance. One of those in the collective were none other than the Time Lords - with Rassilon himself being involved. Now there seems to be the one sole surviving Hyperion, and it wishes to devour all it can on Isen VI. The Doctor and Clara require the assistance of their current allies, and need to find a solution effective enough to stop this threat once and for all. The Twelth Doctor's wits, sharp tongue and full force of personality end up helping him as much as his technical skills and vast bank of knowledge acquired over the centuries.

The overall quality of this series is reliably consistent. Morrison is a fine hand at using pacing to full effect, and seemingly aware of providing context for any readers who may have missed the previous instalments or are just new to this fictional universe in general. Despite the flashback full of exposition opening things up, the story never really drags. Also there is just enough of a sense of the back-story being necessary for the themes, emotions and plot.

In comparison with the other new comics lines, these stories could end up being the most purely ambitious as they play out on the largest scale. Thankfully characterisation is still a strong priority - the hallmark of Doctor Who on top form. Writing also is strong in providing us a lead character who very conceivably evokes the sharp persona of Peter Capaldi's Time Lord. He is still not quite sure of who he really is, but upon facing an old enemy of his own people he is forced to bring his best efforts to bear; rather than stand about and be passive as he clearly has shown himself to be by now. And his teacher friend Ckara Oswald continues to be fully at ease in an environment fare more dangerous than Coal Hill School, but seemingly less stressful at the same time!

The climactic confrontation scenes between the Doctor and the villainous Hyperion known as Rann-Korr work on both a dramatic level as well as bringing to mind the whole lone survivors dynamic that would crop up on television on occasion (i.e. with Van-Statten's Dalek and the Master). And as with part one there are echoes of television Series 8: Clara has to fence one of the possessed robots in much the same way that the Doctor confronted Robin Hood with cutlery in episode 3.

When it comes to how Clara and the Doctor operate together, there is little overt tension other than the standard superficial bickering which can be seen even with TARDIS crews who are thoroughly comfortable together. However this would presumably change as this comic line seeks to portray stories that were not on-screen from later on in the Series 8 timeline. Dave Taylor is more than equal to the writing, with some evocative pencils here. The action scenes feel real and lively, and the range of reactions to various developments that are ethched on characters' faces is also commendable, Arguably the highlight of both issues 1 and 2 is the fiery visualisation of the Hyperion itself..

Of course we need a sound presentation of the Doctor as well, and the good dialogue provided by the writing is reinforced by familiar expressions that we all know and appreciate from the very talented Capaldi. This is a comic which has been given a lot of attention to detail, and one that is good enough to deserve a re-read later on. For whilst the main story at hand is enticing enough, there are lots of other themes and subplots to engage the reader. I especially enjoyed the contrived wedding -complete with the runaway groom, and the pair of twist codas - one of them revealing just how vicious a supposedly cute group of monkey-like aliens really are.

The next story is only tantalisingly shown but would appear to have an archaelogical aspect to it which evokes such popular stories as 'Tomb of the Cybermen' and 'Pyramids of Mars'. All those who miss their customary fix of police box and sonic screwdriver on the TV can certainly find a more than worthy substitute, thanks to these confident original stories from Titan Comics.

**

The first extra strip 'Me Time' - from AJ- is a simple enough story which reflects just how casual the Doctor/Clara pairing can be, given her whole other life working for a living in London. The jokes are reasonable enough but perhaps this could have been a touch stronger when considering the material that has been offered to us in other editions in the last few months. The second strip - from new team Colin Bell/ Neil Slorance - is both thought-provoking and amusing. The philosophical debate over how each individual senses life in a unique way is made even more interesting by considering how a humanoid alien like the Doctor has his own perception; given his infinite-seeming lifespan. But this is a bonus strip with a twist in the tale. We get a punch line in the final panel which avoids trivialising those deep concepts excessively as well as actually making this one page story sufficiently memorable.