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Thursday, 4 September 2014 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
'New Adventures with the Tenth Doctor' -- Issue 2 - Revolutions of Terror (2)

" I just have a knack of turning up when weird things start happening. That's sort of.. what I do" - The Tenth Doctor

The second instalment of this new run of Tenth Doctor stories continues to be written by Nick Abadzis , visualised by art from Elena Casagrande and enlivened by colours from Arianna Florean . The story picks up directly from the initial 'cliff-hanger' with frenetic action as Gabby and the Doctor are quickly acquainted with each other. As with many opening stories this union ties in with the need for the Doctor to deal with a crisis; namely the threat of monsters that have created havoc with the astral plane and with solid matter in 'real world'.

Initial success is achieved as the demonic entity that threatened the Doctor and his new friend is returned back into its original human form with no lasting ill effects. Perhaps this was through nothing more than just blind chance but it would appear that mirrors are not only useful against the likes of Medusa (!). Later Gabby spies on the Doctor's TARDIS; but only the physical outer 'shell'. She quite logically assumes he is some kind of policeman but as events progress and the duo bond further more is made clear about the kind of deep knowledge the Doctor actually possesses and just how dangerous things really are. The potential crisis is not just local to New York but almost certainly the entire world itself. The Doctor is determined to help the benign Pranavores, who normally benefit the world(s) they inhabit, but whose powers are being distorted to evil designs. As the story reaches its latest agonising pause in action for another month, it becomes apparent that something crucial located back in the Laundromat might provide positive answers.

If part one was slow paced and notably focused on characterisation then this second chapter is a big step up in terms of pace and exposition. The Doctor again is not always present in every panel, but nonetheless there is no mistaking the electric, hyperactive.. and yet quiet and contemplative incarnation which David Tennant portrayed so ably. Gabby is every bit as interesting as Doctor Who fans could wish in this modern age of emotional believability.

It is just as well that Part One did such an efficient job at introducing the immediate people in Gabby's life as there is very little direct focus on them this time. The reader will be able to remember enough and share the anxiety that Gabby has over both her own future and those of her loved ones. There is a good tie-in with her fears over feeling pressured to get more out of life with the cruel abilities of the malignant Cerebravores. The new companion even has some exposition of her own to contribute that reinforces the weighty explanations that the Tenth Doctor provides for much of the middle sections. I certainly feel that the character of Gabriella Gonzalez has plenty of staying power to remain as a lead character in this series of comics, and look forward to more character development for her in forthcoming issues.

Also commendable is Gabby's reticence in actually believing in the weird world of the Doctor and that events that are right before her are even genuine. It would seem that the Doctor is quite conscious of this issue and may not even want to subject another new companion to the intense highs and lows - which was especially poignant in Donna Noble's case.

The artwork is just as good if not better than the last issue, as the story can progress and allow for more exciting emotions to be conveyed. Clearly writer Abadzis - being an artist himself on occasion - absolutely knows what he wants out of his visionary material and Casagrande is comfortable with the eventual translation of the concepts and visual motifs. The story feels well-paced but also has its quiet moments which make the difference between a decent story and a good or outstanding one in any media format and era of Doctor Who's narrative.

Also there is enough of a distinctive comic flavour to make this feel like an authentic and distinct spin on the Doctor Who formula. Dialogue can be a little more exaggerated and yet feel believable given the visuals. The only small nit pick I have with this instalment is the Doctor's explanation of some of the Cerebravores' and Pranavores' influences on one another and the world around them. These gets a little 'technobabbly' and convoluted and slow down the liveliness of this comic book format. Yet a delightful pop culture reference to Ghostbusters - perhaps put in due to the 30th anniversary year for that film - helps make such dialogue choices a minimal concern.

Bonus material for this issue comes in the form of numerous alternative covers in nail thumb sizes for issue one, a promotional offer for Alice X Zhang's collectible cover art replicas, and different cover versions for issue two. The humorous mini strips that were in both opening issues for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor lines are absent this time but hopefully return soon.

FILTER: - Comic - Tenth Doctor