New Adventures With The Tenth Doctor #7 - The Weeping Angels of Mons Part 2Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 March 2015 - Reviewed by Thomas Buxton
The Tenth Doctor #7 (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Daniel Indro
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
Colorist: Slamet Mujiono
Editor: Andrew James
Assistant Editor: Kirsten Murray
Designer: Rob Farmer

If the seventh issue of Titan Comics’ ‘New Adventures With The Tenth Doctor’ saga is any indication, then in the case of the Weeping Angels, the eponymous pinstripe coat-wearing time traveller simply cannot catch a break. Thankfully, the character’s struggle to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds isn’t reflected in the text’s quality, since Part 2 of his second comic-book story arc – “The Weeping Angels of Mons” – easily maintains the momentum which its predecessor gained in terms of action, Hammer-esque horror set-pieces and (for the most part) a compelling set of secondary characters.

That said, before delving any further into how these elements combine to form one of the more memorable graphic adventures produced by Titan to date, it bears recognition that those aforementioned supporting players might irk some long-term Who fans given that half of their time seems to be spent inquiring as to what the mythology of the Weeping Angels entails, leading scribe Robbie Morrison to take the opportunity to throw in no shortage of exposition-laden lines of dialogue extracted near-directly from “Blink” and the Angels’ subsequent TV serials. For the scarce number of readers who picked Issue 7 up as a result of nothing more than mild curiosity as to what Doctor Who’s narratives centre on, Morrison’s approach will doubtless provoke a sigh of relief in that he ensures that knowledge of these silent antagonists’ backstory is anything but a prerequisite here, but one has to imagine given the show’s dual longevity and overwhelming popularity (at present, anyway) that most who shell out cash for these miniature tales will find themselves echoing this reviewer’s bemusement at the need for such heavy-handed call-backs to episodes gone by.

At the same time, it’s extremely encouraging to see that the odd instance of needless exposition – and the fairly uninspiring setting, though that’s more a product of the tale taking place in 1916 than anything else – barely detracts from the overall reading experience in the slightest. Whilst he doesn’t leave those who missed Part 1 of “Mons” to completely fend for themselves, Morrison certainly appears to appreciate the need for notably brief yarns such as these to get down to business sooner rather than later, hence his opting to only dwell but fleetingly upon the plight of two Great War soldiers who became stranded on a 19th Century steam-train last issue (in a turn of events which has tragic results this time around) before reuniting us with the Doctor, Gabby and their newfound accomplice Jamie Colquhon – whose all-too-familiar first name is naturally dealt with by the ever-nostalgic Time Lord in a humorous aside – as they discuss with medics, corporals and other officials (each of whom benefit hugely from some intricate characterisation in spite of the relatively constrained running time) how long their not-so-angelic pursuers have spent feasting on the temporal energy of displaced World War One veterans.

Had these exchanges formed the bulk of this (for the most part) gripping issue, then given its scribe’s evident talent for writing dialogue which mimics that of the TV show, few of us would likely have complained, but even so, a few action-packed chase sequences break up the dialogue-heavy scenes in an electrifying manner on a number of occasions. It is here where the series’ resident artist, Daniel Indro, comes into his own, not least by showcasing his ability to depict shattering windows, advancing statues, frustratingly erratic light-bulbs and an all manner of obstacles placed in the TARDIS crew’s path in such a way that one becomes wholly aware of both the immensely unique beauty of the comic-book as a form of pictorial literature and its development to a point where those with sufficient experience can render beloved characters in an uncannily realistic light. Whereas some might dispute the extent to which the Titan version of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor resembles his on-screen counterpart, then, no such questions of representational fidelity need to be asked of Indro’s marvellously authentic take on Tennant’s incarnation or his persistent adversaries.

Even if viewed in isolation, these consistently impactful contributory elements would be considered worthy of plaudits in their own right, yet as they come together on the page, the readership must surely come to realise that both Morrison’s rapidly developing (in spite of its exposition and the familiarity of its premise) period narrative and Indro’s increasingly accomplished accompanying graphics work best by far in each other’s company. As a result, much as Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor appears to be making waves on TV screens across the globe nowadays, in the region of his comic-book escapades, he still seemingly has plenty of work to do if he’s to catch up with his spectacles-donning predecessor in the foreseeable future.

Bonus Humour Strips Mini-Reviews:

AJ treats us to a strip which pays homage to both the days of the First Doctor - via a subtle twist on his contemplation of what it's like to "touch the alien sand" - and the Tenth's encounter with the Vashta Nerada in 2008 with Shadows on the Pier. This innocent skit prioritises excessive dialogue over impressive visuals in order to get across its gags over the course of just six panels, yet does so with surprisingly effortless aplomb.

Rachel Smith's A Rose By Any Other Name, meanwhile, threatens to drive any reader whose tolerance for text language is limited close to insanity by throwing in non-words such as "soz" and "jeeez", but on the plus side, its lighthearted spin on how Tennant's Doctor might have spent his time post-"Doomsday" (when he wasn't busy getting a "Runaway Bride" to the church on time, of course). Although Smith - evidently an enthusiast of 1960s rock - might lose UK readers in namechecking Janis Joplin and needn't have included 'To Be Continued...' (a tag which will more than likely confuse newcomers to the strip) beneath the final panel, hers is a delightfully surreal contribution which only serves to strengthen the final product.