Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Dave Taylor
Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Letterer: Richard Starkings + Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Andrew James
Designer: Rob Farmer
Assistant Editor: Kirsten Murray
"Give thanks. Rejoice. Your feeble little lives have just gained great significance. You are the chosen of Kali, goddess of destruction. Your deaths will give her life and power beyond your darkest nightmares." - One of the Scindia demonstrating their power.
Without doubt one of the more ambitious stories from Titan in scope and thematic depth, there is no let-up and no break in momentum from parts one and two. The Twelfth Doctor once again has plenty to do, and seems one step ahead of his fiendishly vicious opposition. He however needs a bit of help given that his dear Clara now hosts a 'Goddess' hell-bent on ripping up most of time and space. This leads to him having to trust two other women who have been caught up in this chaos; which arguably makes for a typical day in his endless working week.
Rani, who is now at least the third character in the Doctor Who universe named thus (following Kate O'Mara 1980s villainess, and one of Sarah Jane Smith's teenage assistants), has really been a stand-out personality. She can be impulsive, but there seems to be a depth to her mission in life and her value system which would make her a fine incumbent for the TARDIS crew. She also pines for her murdered girlfriend, and the story does a fine job of paying off this emotional element.
Priyanka is perhaps a little more generically a do-godder, but still engages us in her resolute efforts to avenge her father. One of the better one-liners is uttered when she faces danger. There is also another remark made by her of the Doctor's Scots accent which manages to come off quite well and not feel tired like it might in an all-round poorer story.
But when it comes to any amendments to the TARDIS crew, it would appear that Titan have no immediate plans to muddy the waters of the Doctor/Clara relationship that played out on our screens last year.
Clara is still important to proceeding however. After the wonderful closing 'hook' of Issue Four, she has become trapped in the truly imposing form of the many-armed goddess Kali. Some rather ripe puns concerning just what to call this hybrid entity make their way into the story, but are excusable given the gloom elsewhere. The outcome for the victims of Kali and the Scindia family would disturb may of the under-10s were this a fully-fledged Autumn TV effort.
The story is effective also in how it balances certain developments which are essential for a story to have a Doctor Who formula, but also surprise us in when certain developments occur. I was definitely wrong-footed by how and when the Doctor showed his guilde in dispatching two of his foes, without barely making much of an effort. The final epilogue also may surprise some, but arguably develops organically from earlier characterisation and exposition.
Great storytelling merges with effective visuals, and suggests that Morrison and Taylor are not just on the same page, but the exact same panel too. And were this not enough, Luis Guerrero is present in making the pencils and inks look at their optimum potential. As regards the house style of Series Eight, incumbent writer Robbie Morrison achieves great dividends in keeping the spirit but also being assertive enough to make his own voice heard in the narrative. The next story once again looks promising from what little clues we have.
Bonus Humour Strips:
'COPY/PASTE' by AJ is a decent one character piece. The Doctor's horror in having his trusty sonic screwdriver destroyed by the Terileptil leader may be well and truly forgotten, as sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
Bin Dilemma' (with Colin Bell and Neil Slorance teaming up again) is a much easier humour story to follow than previous ones in this slot. Yet it smartly reminds readers just how aloof Capaldi's Doctor can be, and just how much patience Clara Oswald can muster given her double duties as teacher and travelling companion.