New Adventures with The Eleventh Doctor - Issue 6Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek

Issue 6: Space In Dimension Relative And Time
Writer -Rob Williams
Artist - Simon Fraser
Colorist - Gary Caldwell
Letterer - Richard Starkings/ Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor - Andrew James
Designer -Rob Farmer

Effectively held hostage by a long-forgotten enemy of the Doctor, the TARDIS crew must try and stop a major distortion in the time vortex itself. Being a Time Lord should give the long-lived hero a sporting chance, but will he go to the extent of sacrificing any number of his fellow travellers?

Any story opening with the panel 'The End' would be lacking something were it not to take a head-scratching premise and run riot with it. Doctor Who of the 21st century has offered numerous 'timey-wimey affairs' - especially with incumbent showrunner Steven Moffat. This story gives the great man a run for his money, and uses the particular comic format to wonderful effect. Every panel of this story has something to offer, and the layout of reverse chronology and back again offers notable re-readability, which is quite unusual for most comic book stories.

The Eleventh Doctor is truly in charge here, but at the same time very keen to make sure that his companions offer a helping hand. Of the three of them it is perhaps somewhat surprising which one provides the best and most dramatic way of confusing the villain. I will not disclose exactly who is involved in making life difficult for do-gooders, but can say that we have another nod back to Classic Doctor Who - akin to 12th Doctor effort 'The Swords of Kali'.

A lot of the dialogue is on the money this month. There are quite a few speeches and bits of exposition that may have been a bit over-done were this to be more conventional a tale. Yet with so much material demanding multiple viewings, a bit of excess is justified. And as the frantic task to unbend the convolutions of chaotic cause-and-effect take centre stage, there is still some very engaging characterisation which lets the reader know some inner feelings and beliefs that the regular protagonists harbour.

Alice and ARC are both very well-done companions that offer interesting but very different qualities. The pastiche figure of Jones is to my mind perhaps a bit weaker in realisation, but still fulfills plot requirements comfortably. There is also some real suspense over just who will be left standing out of this quartet. Without spoiling the storyline, it would appear the worst does happen - but it's lasting effects seem to be minimal. What could have been a big weakness instead amounts to both a justified reset button and a definite progression for the TARDIS crew.

Although I enjoyed Boo Cook's contribution visually in the previous two issues, the return of Simon Fraser is certainly not unwelcome. And he clearly knows how to best use his style to tell such a dynamic story. In addition to dialogue, Rob Williams' writing in general is consistently engaging; managing to make this adventure stand up as a solo piece for the more casual sci-fi or comic aficionado. Somewhat of a relief is the lack of any overt 'SERVEYOUinc' story arc threads, which allows for this issue's villain to stand on his own balletic feet.

In summary, with fizzy dialogue that reflects the sheer zaniness of events, along with simultaneously gripping and carefree plot mechanics, this is a must-read. It will both satisfy fans of this Titan series, and convert those somewhat more sceptical about Doctor Who's suitability for this medium. I was perhaps not too impressed with earlier one-offs starring the Eleventh Doctor, but this holds up as a work of art which rivals the crème de la crème of visual storytelling.

** Bonus comedy strips: AJ's 'Ice Cold' sees the apparent return of an alien that has both helped and hindered the Doctor during his many lives. A sneaky twist however provides a fine punchline.
'Bus Replacement TARDIS' from Marc Ellerby is a wonderfully irreverent effort and also appropriately set in snowy conditions. Amy and Rory struggle to cope with the climate and and an infuriatingly bubbly Doctor who fails to apologise for the change to their 'normal' travel and accommodation.