New Adventures With The Eleventh Doctor #7 - The Eternal DogfightBookmark and Share

Thursday, 5 February 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
New Adventures With The Eleventh Doctor #7 - The Eternal Dogfight (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Warren Pleece
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Richard Starkins and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Andrew James
Assistant Editor: Kirsten Murray
Designer: Rob Farmer
New problems face the TARDIS quartet as they stumble upon a considerable threat to Earth. The war between the Amstrons and the J’arrodic is leaving a deadly impact on the Doctor's favourite planet. Airlines are unable to get off the ground and a toxic smog is suffocating the atmosphere. UNIT also appear to have their resources rendered null. Can the Eleventh Doctor avert disaster without too much fallout along the way?

One of the more epic stories offered up so far by the series' creative team(s) ensures that there is plenty of spectacle. A horde of futuristic ships are positioning themselves in proximity to Earth. Whilst televised Doctor Who did sometimes meet this level of ambition, it is always a surefire idea in a well-constructed comic book. Also enticing is the visualization of the Doctor and his team having to somehow travel with makeshift jet packs in order to reach their objective
Continuity both from the parent TV shows and from earlier issues is markedly strong here. In this encounter the Doctor follows up his brave head-attire of fez and Stetson with an aviator hat and goggles. We also get the well-remembered catch phrase of "Geronimooo.." prompting a variation from Arc when the protagonists have to make a thrilling leap. And for the second story in a row, Jones suffers a major threat to his survival; yet the real shock is left for the cliffhanger ending that brings part one of this two-issue tale to a close.

To get more background on Alice through her returning home proper is something which feels strong and organic, given the previous work done on her character arc. And in some ways the adventures she has had far away in different time zones have been less demanding than the stone cold realities of her home life struggles. With her being left to cope on her own, as her friends have their latest mad-cap hi-jinks, a major game-changer catches her completely unawares. It may well be the work of the mysterious being that appears to be another survivor of the Time Lord race, but there is no confirmation forthcoming still.
Yet somewhat disappointingly, and given the strong foundations laid for Alice in issue one, she is soon shunted off-page ..until the final story beat. I enjoyed the Doctor's various action scenes but they could have been compressed without losing the crucial element of joie de vivre that make Doctor Who such a personal favourite of so many.

But overall the actual plot is quite engaging and allows the usually forward-looking Eleventh Doctor to show his regret over the catastrophic Time War. Matt Smith was always capable of shruging off the clownish exterior to display vulnerability and cold rage, and it is good to have some reminder of just why the whole franchise is so enduring. We care about the Doctor, and his struggles to keep going on, when so many of his friends cannot join his 'walk through eternity'.
The nominal 'villains' in this story are also well-done. In contrast to the endless battles that pitted Sontaran against Rutan or the Kaleds against the Thals, this particular conflict needs a resolution of a very different kind. Due to its endless length, the actual beginning of the conflict and its context are long-forgotten. All that remains is the underlying desire to avenge the countless lost in combat.

Just as with 'The Weeping Angels of Mons' we have a returning writer - Williams - joined by another new artist. For the tone of the story concerned, Warren Pleece’s work is a strong effort. He is able to supply both believable facial expressions and explosive action moments aplenty. I did find Jones just a touch too different in build to the versions presented beforehand, but otherwise the TARDIS crew gets a very good showcase of their individual personas and mannerisms. And the colouring work that Hi-Fi continues to provide for these stories ensures that both new and returning readers are unlikely to lose interest easily.

Bonus Humour Stories: Once again AJ supplies readers with the opening sketch. This very much does as it says on the tin, as a 'Rebranding Exercise' manages to wrongfoot the Doctor by replacing one enemy with seemingly another in the blink of an eye.
Marc Allerby hits the bullseye yet again with 'An Adventure in Brine and Plaice' Although the Doctor is in every panel, this is very much River Song's story, and comes to a head with her facing another 'impossible' trap to overcome. Furthermore the return of a Second Doctor-era monster is a nice bonus for Classic Series fans and reminds us of Matt Smith's original 'homework' when he went about creating his own version of the Time Lord.

FILTER: - Comic - Eleventh Doctor