STORY BY: Robbie Morrison
ART BY: Brian Williamso, COLOUR: Hi-Fi
LETTERS: Richard Starkings + Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt,
EDITOR: Andrew James, DESIGNER: Rob Farmer,
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Kirsten Murray
Released - April 2015
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
"We are the most necessary of evils. Without us, chaos would seep into your worlds. Why do you stand against us?" - One of the Fractures responding to the Doctor's 'request' to leave.
Following the events of last time, UNIT scientist John Foster, who perished in an accident in our universe, has been replaced by a version who survived in another. That substitute now meets the relatives that he (in turn) had lost in a parallel disaster in the universe of his origin. All the personalities and memories are so authentically the same that the relations Foster and his family have with one another are effectively replicated.
Yet there is trauma too as a feeling of eeriness pervades, and it is only worsened as the malign Fractures continue their onslaught on this particular dimension. UNIT desperately tries to make an impact by combining their arsenal of weapons and defences with their scientific know-how, but even the Doctor's own allies might have their hands just a little bit too full.
The work that Foster was doing relating to breaking through 'multiverse' barriers could be that elusive key to overcoming the fell creatures who cut people down like Papier-mache. But a personal sacrifice may be needed before this latest adventure for the TARDIS crew reaches its end-point.
The biggest thing to strike me in this particular issue was how well paced this middle chapter was after the somewhat ponderous opening issue. Now the basic groundwork has been set, we can see the consequences of both the protagonists and antagonists actions, and the Doctor's efforts to find a solution are not always as slick and reliable as perhaps his two predecessors' might have been, were this an adventure they stepped out into by chance first.
With a decent amount of time given over to the Foster clan, we are more than just adequately invested in both the fates of the all-too-clearly-flawed adults and the comparatively meek and benign children. The Fractures have proven their heavyweight threat already and certainly offer a disturbing fate to those that cross them at the wrong time. This issue almost decides to have one of the characters we like suffer a tragic end, but pulls away, at least for the immediate future.
Brian Williamson's artwork has also grown on me, after a slow start last time round. The script by Morrison affords a variety of different panel sizes and use of scale to either portray a group of characters, an individual or the particular facial emotion one such person is feeling. Flashbacks are very well done by the creative team and really give a sense of the core emotions driving the participants in these hectic escapades. The art work certainly is not the prettiest that has been showcased by Titan but it is still clearly the product of skill and much hard work and craftsmanship.
As with earlier stories in the Twelfth Doctor range the villains are portrayed menacingly without feeling too obviously one-dimensional. The feeling is that there will not be a pat 'everybody lives' which seems to underline every other story of the Moffat TV era. This is more than welcome, and makes the losses inflicted by the Fractures that bit more meaningful.
The Doctor/Clara team are also very nicely poised as working well together but still having to overcome a bit of aggro every now and then. The references to Danny Pink are at this point such that they now bring some poignancy; it now being some time since he was written out of the parent TV show. The biggest asset the character had of course was his 'anchoring' of Clara to the confines of Coal Hill School and 21st Century London. Thus even without the features of Samuel Anderson in this comic, there is a decent thematic tie between a character's key purpose and the core themes of this story as to people, events and consequences being meant to be in their proper space and time.
Clara's continued proactive stance in responding to the danger facing her home city and indeed the entire universe is once again well done, and a perennial reminder of just why this fascinating character has managed to be granted a relatively long spell abroad the TARDIS, despite a number of apparent deaths and/or tempestuous estrangements from her complex two-hearted mentor.
Bonus Humour Strip:
Silver Screenesis may evoke the name of the rather infamous Sylvester McCoy 25th Anniversary Story, but actually explores what makes a film groundbreaking and engaging to a smart, cosmopolitan consumer such as Clara. Both her and the Doctor are visiting Cinema Paradoxo and trying to agree on a movie that fits the bill for them both. Their eventual reaction to what they do see is one of the best punchlines any humour strip can offer the reader, and I take regular satirical cartoons in newspapers into consideration when stating that.