The Ninth Doctor Mini-Series - Issue FiveBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 December 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
DOCTOR WHO: THE NINTH DOCTOR MINISERIES #5 (Credit: Titan / Lee Sullivan)
Written By: Cavan Scott,
Artwork: Blair Shedd + Rachael Stott
Colouring: Anang Setyawan,
Lettering: Richard Starkings + Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt

Editor Andrew James, Assistant Editor: Kirsten Murray
Designer: Rob Farmer
Released December 2nd 2015, Titan Comics

Weapons Of Past Destruction: Conclusion

 

This climactic finale to the mini-series manages to combine enough for readers' hearts and heads, with also some pure sensation and bursts of colour that serve to enliven any given panel. The Doctor gets to have a lot of morally sound commentary on the actions of the misguided Unon and show his deep concern for the all but extinct and forever distorted Lect.

Plenty of material of note also features for Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness. Rose has had to absorb a lot of alien planet history in a relatively short period of time and feels a bond for the half-crippled Lect, who now rely on battle 'tanks' and barely resemble the scientists and artists that occupied their now-destroyed home world. Jack is separated from the Doctor and Rose, and faces the prospect of an eternal limbo. But whilst captured he manages to realise that while the Unon have done some monstrous things, not all of them are irredeemably 'bad'.

The shades of grey that war is inherently all about is a strong theme, and that theme is effectively explored in this epic. It is also as relevant as ever in our own society in the 21st century. The title of the story misquotes a frequent headline that cropped up during the early part of the last decade, and that phrase still resonates and still has foreboding meaning now.

Although the  Lect would seem to have the more just cause, there is no dispute over their having a 'bull in a china shop' manner. By using such formidable war machine shells they have roamed parts of space and operated in a way that has shaken those with less battle-minded priorities, who may be present. The Unon may have a didactic and sanctimonious leader in Arnora, but still her intentions in shaping the universe have some substance and grounding.

Satisfyingly, we see the Doctor decide to ultimately let the war 'resolve itself',  although some help from Captain Jack ensures the Time Lord does not get cut down as a result of being somewhat passive this time round. It is reasonable for the Doctor to be an observer, as this war was not really his doing on a fundamental level.  Important figures on both sides of the battle die, but ultimately a peaceful solution does present itself, with a little help coming in the form of the Doctor's ship.

 

I have not discussed covers in any detail in any of my prior comic reviews for this site, but would like to on this occasion. Most of the ones used for this now-concluded mini-series look at least eye-catching if not mesmerising; my personal favourites being issues Three and One. Somewhat disappointingly this fifth issue bucks the quality trend in its choice of the main cover, which effectively acts as a close zoom at our heroic trio.

And as regards reflection on the miniseries as a whole and how each individual 'fifth' stands up: Issue Four perhaps was the highpoint of the run. It certainly had both incident and plot development but also gave the art team a free rein at showing their skill and ability to present such wonderfully 'out there' concepts. This issue is almost a bit more closed, (if also focused), and evokes the early issues again. But having a clear ending to the story which seems organic and fitting is a good quality. Also,  readers that committed to this long-running story do have their patience rewarded now, and indeed in the near future.

 

Several times this year Christopher Ecclestone showed his typical warmth and generosity - when the main spotlight and cameras are engaged elsewhere - of reprising the Ninth Doctor for respectively an engaged couple, and later a poorly fan of the show. Of course the chances of his ever coming back on-screen for a proper new story are as sparse as that of Paul McGann being entrusted with a fully fledged TV spin off. But clearly the readership and the critics think that the character that succeeds the worn "a bit thin" War Doctor deserves as many extra stops in his travels as can be made possible.

As much as this publication is a decisive end to a story that began quite some time ago now, it is in fact just the beginning as far as the Ninth Doctor comic book series goes. Cavan Scott will again be the writer, but will again other able artists on the endeavour; starting with Adriana Melo. I look forward keenly to a more flexible and experimental run from spring 2016 onwards that can utilise all manner of stand-alone, multi-part and arc-linked monthly editions.

A final word then before any more 'missing adventures' materialise:

Fantastic!

 

Bonus Material:

Once again some alternate covers are presented, in the absence of a humour mini-story.

 

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