Tenth Doctor Adventures #2.2 - The Singer Not The Song - Part 2Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 April 2016 - Reviewed by Dan Collins
Tenth Doctor Adventures Year Two # 2 (Credit: Titan Comics)

Writer:Nick Abadzis

Artist: Eleonora Carlini

Colorist: Claudia SG Ianniciello With Azzurra Florean

Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt

Release Date: Oct 21, 2015

An auditory virus is affecting the musical Shan’Tee, turning them into nightmarish Nocturnes. The Doctor has been forced to leave Gabby to fend for herself as he attempts to trace the path of the contagion and put a stop to it. His companion has her hands full as hordes of Bovodrines, normally gentle “air cows”, are being stampeded toward the building where she’s taking shelter. The virus has also gotten inside and is beginning to turn some of her friends.

Last issue was the beginning of what they are calling the second season in these Tenth Doctor adventures. It’s a fresh storyline but with all the same familiar faces from the first year. Writer Nick Abadzis starts the arc off with just a two part story, this issue being the conclusion. I find it a little strange that they kept it tightened down to just a two parter. While the storyline is actually incredibly thin, a little more development might have made it into a more traditional three issue arc. Or alternately, if they had removed some of the padding this could easily have made it into one jam packed comic and been a dynamite standalone story.

I have to confess to being underwhelmed by the conclusion. The previous issue was pretty enjoyable. The Shan’tee were neat creatures and their infection and transformation into the malicious Nocturnes was well played. The mystery behind it was intriguing. All of that seemed to unravel for me. Maybe it was just they seemed to be going for a false sense of urgency. We started the story with the end, Gabby standing in a building under attack from the Nocturnes while everything around her is being destroyed by the Bovodrines. Will the Doctor save her? Yes. Of course he does. After all, how many times has the Doctor failed a companion and had them die? It has happened of course, but not too many times. Starting at the end was a neat creative choice, but I don’t think anyone was really worried about Gabby. The tension they were trying to create just wasn’t there for me. On top of that, the way the Doctor managed to reverse and remove the virus barely made sense. It was very anticlimactic and had none of the flair that usually comes with one of his rescues.  The last page was a nice surprise though. With this adventure done, the pair return to the TARDIS and are confronted by Anubis again. He appears to remind the Doctor that they have unfinished business from the precious story arc. It was a nice touch.

Despite my criticisms of the length and the ending, I did actually enjoy the main portion of this story. It was entertaining. It just fell a little flat at the end.

Bonus Strip- A Rose By Any Other Name by Rachael Smith

I almost forgot about the strip this month as they tuck it way at the back of the digital bundle, behind pages of alternate covers and the synopsis for the next issue.  I was rewarded for searching it out though. I tend to criticize these strips as being very hit or miss, some I like but many do nothing for me. Well this one is another hit. The Doctor and Rose (the human, not Rose-The-Cat) are finally reunited.

The Tenth Doctor Adventures Year Two # 1 – The Singer Not The Song Part 1Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 - Reviewed by Dan Collins
Tenth Doctor Adventures Year Two # 1 (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Eleonara Carlini
Colourist: Claudia SG Iannicello
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
Onsale: September 16, 2015

Here we are with a brand new year of Tenth Doctor stories courtesy of Titan Comics. Considering that it’s a new “season” there is very little change from the previous issues. They continue on with the same companion, writer and artist. The most notable change would be the numbering. The publishing company decided to go with a snazzy new numbering scheme this time around so instead of having the first issue of this story arc continue on from where they left off, they start fresh and add a 2 in front to designate year two. So we don’t have issue #16 but rather the slightly more confusing 2.1. Titan must be hoping that their renumbering would attract new readers. Starting with a fresh number one every year has been a proven winner for industry leaders like Marvel. For new readers it may seem like an ideal new jumping on point, while older readers will continue to buy and so it creates a spike in sales numbers and revenue for the publisher.

The format of the story also lends itself to the idea that new readers may be on board for the first time. It’s one of those stories where we come into it at the very end. In this case it starts with Gabby narrating. She’s talking about the Shan’tee, beings who are literally made of music. As she speaks, the the world around her crumbles to pieces.  When she cries out for the Doctor, telling him he can’t be late this time, we are then transported back to where the story started. By beginning at the end we are given a hook to catch all of those new readers who may be unfamiliar with the characters. Then it takes them away from the exciting and catastrophic events to the more tranquil beginning and starts the slow development of the story.

The planet Waputki is the perfect utopia. The Shan’tees music inspires the air-born bovodrines to feed. They are basically a jellyfish type creature except they graze like a cow. The floating air cows create the atmosphere that allows the humans to live and breathe and trade on the planet. Of course there is no such thing as utopia and something has to go wrong. A deadly virus is attacking the Shan’tee. In many cases it kills them out right, but sometimes it turns the beautiful creatures into something terrifying and sinister.

This first issue of year two gets us off to a promising start. I found it well paced and exciting. The beginning at the end worked for me. The Shan’tee are really neat creatures and their evil counterparts (the Nocturnes) are great as well.  

Bonus Strip- A Rose By Any Name By Rachael Smith

Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I seem to have a love/hate relationship with these strips. One month I am going on about how great it is, the next is does nothing for me. It almost seems the writer herself is feeling some malaise as this cartoon literally shows the Doctor and his Cat just going through the motions.