Twelfth Doctor #4 - The Swords Of Kali (Part Two)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 6 February 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
The Twelfth Doctor #4 - The Swords Of Kali (Part Two) (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artists: Dave Taylor + Mariano Laclaustra
Colorist: Luis Guerrero, with Studio 641
Letterer: Richard Starkings + Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Andrew James
Assistant Editor: Kirsten Murray
Designer: Rob Farmer
"They made me an offer I couldn't refuse -- unlimited funding to pursue and recover one of history's greatest antiquities...the Swords of Kali, the ancient Hindu goddess of death and destruction."
- Tiger Maratha speaking to the Doctor in a holo-recording .

More beautiful imagery, elegant plotting and effervescent dialogue is on hand to delight all comic book fans in the second instalment of this continuing adventure for the Doctor and Clara. As the action opens the TARDIS crew are in the same location on planet Earth but not the same time zone. And both have much to deal with - not least danger, conspiracy and some mythical artefacts.

As in Part One, there is plenty of good character work achieved for two very different but equally fascinating female guest characters. Rani the warrior had shown her considerable fighting prowess and stealth in issue three, but now the reader has a chance to see what makes her tick on a more personal and emotional level. Her pairing with the Doctor - who has time-travelled by means other than TARDIS - is very well done and affords a look once again at how Capaldi's incarnation is able to show many different attributes depending on the inter-personal dynamc presented to him.

Priyanka Maratha has only just lost her father Tiger, and is by no means used to such hi- adrenaline exploits. An onslaught of six-limbed monstrosities without pity is almost too much to bear, but with help from Clara she is able to escape. However a terrible price is paid which affects all ensuing events. Later on Priyanka is privy to the holo-recording intended for the Doctor, as she discovers her father's true motives for his high-risk explorations all across the Earth. The wish to know the real inspiration behind the Thugee Cult is one of those driving forces.

The artwork continues to be of the highest calibre and leave impressions of themes and emotions as well as locations host to many incredible treasures, murals and sculptures. The addition of Mariano Laclaustra (who provides inks) only enhances what was already strong work from Dave Taylor in earlier editions. Characters are well-drawn, with distinct mannerisms and energy levels, and the colouring too is very impressive at times. Thus remarkably thorough detail is conveyed.

The likeness of Peter Capaldi never slips, which is boosted further by wonderful Doctor dialogue featured in most of his panels. This mimicry element is rather more of an issue with Morrison's other Titan Comics story featuring the Tenth Doctor. I do however think that Jenna Coleman's appearance is not the easiest to translate to the 2-d format, and at times it feels like a female relative of the Coal Hill School teacher is having a turn at substituting for her.

The story is also paced expertly and while there was potential to wrap things up with a 'rabbit out of the hat' move by the Doctor come the latter pages, instead there is a further development that throws the scenario into a whole new stratosphere. Most cliff-hangers to comic books are well-designed - if understandably concerned with bringing repeat business - but this particular hook is truly a subversion of expectation given the previous action and yet is comfortably familiar in putting a hero into peril.

This is a Doctor Who story up there with the best of the franchise in making clear its inspiration, with a certain Indiana Jones being present at least in spirit if not in actuality. And as much as the threat facing humanity from the powerful 'Indian dynasty' in times future and past conveys the suitable gravitas, there is a strong sense of fun and optimism that also pervades. How the Doctor deals with the malignant Scindia will certainly provide for riveting reading in the near future.

Bonus Humour Strips: AJ this time employs a single panel to tell his "Ebbing Tide" story. Meaningful exploration of the TARDIS crew's latest destination is rather limited, and provokes a session of bickering (as we have become accustomed to with them!) The Doctor's fob watch is proudly on display, although Clara is quick to point out the watery threat it faces.

The Inversion Of Time” written by Colin Bell and drawn by Neil Slorance is another fine effort focusing on time distortion. It brings to mind the full-length Eleventh Doctor story from a couple of months back but is rather more easy to grasp given that it takes place in the TARDIS console room only and features just the main characters.

FILTER: - Comic - Twelfth Doctor