Designer Rob Farmer
Letterer Richard Starkings And Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor Andrew James
Assistant Editor Kirsten Murray
The threat to Earth shows no signs of abating as the skies above cities, towns and countryside continue to be swamped by outlandish space craft that defy comprehension by the average human being. The perennial war between the Amstrons and J'Arrodic Federation cannot be ignored much longer, and something must happen before an outcome - positive or negative - can emerge from the tension.
Arc and Jones are soon rendered powerless to assist the Doctor, and it falls to redoubtable Alice to accept an incredibly daunting offer of having the chance to end the war all by herself. Her time in the TARDIS will never be more beneficial, as she is forced to become greater than she ever thought she could be. The downside? The probable end of the entire human race...
If that premise was not enough, there are other questions that have already been set up and get their pay-off here:
*Is Alice's mother really back?
* And will this mean an end to the erstwhile Londoner's variable relationship with the man who posesses the mental resources of a 1000 libraries?
There has been more than a couple of hints that Alice could depart the TARDIS at the drop of a hat. This story manages to make the three person confrontation between the Doctor, Alice and her apparently resurrected mother the heart and soul of the narrative. The reasons for Alice not listening to her head over her heart will strike a chord with many readers, and furthermore even the Doctor must concede that rebirth is not easily dismissed, given his own recent experiences with a particular companion. Also, the twist involving the Amstrons is interesting and so very Doctor Who - perhaps most recognisably from the brief but memorable Douglas Adams sequence of stories that rounded off the Seventies.
Despite a strong writing effort, the art work is comparatively a slight disappointment, especially given the quality seen beforehand. It tells the story clearly and expressions and scale by and large cut the mustard.
Panel backgrounds suffer from being bland and/or interchangeable, and the potential to slip some in-jokes and satire into the covers of various books is perhaps a waste, given how much this is about Alice and her acquired wisdom along with natural gifts. There does feel something lacking when taking the visual experience in as a single cohesive piece of work, and perhaps more tinkering would have helped. However since this second part of the story really is about the character clashes more than the big space extravaganzas, it ultimately feels acceptable.
But having said that, this second and final instalment of the latest story is more than satisfactory. The Eleventh Doctor certainly is at his most assertive here and gets to demonstrate that while he may be lackadaical and take adventures as they come (much like former incarnations such as the Second and Fourth Doctors), he can also put his foot down. Serve You Inc have stopped being an irritation and need to be dealt with head-on, and plenty of speculation can be made before issue 9 rolls along into the consumer sphere.
Bonus Humour Section:
'Experimental Taste-Buds' by AJ is a fun little piece which aims modestly but still enchants. The decision to mix 3d graphics with apparently real-life photographs is a welcome break from previous efforts.
'Short Change' is Marc Ellerby at his assured best. A phone call across millennia between the Doctor and Amy is made something rather special as the events of one time zone quickly impact upon the other.