"THE ONE - PART 1 OF 2"
WRITER - ROB WILLIAMS
ARTIST - SIMON FRASER
COLORIST - GARY CALDWELL
(ABSLOM DAAK CREATED BY
STEVE MOORE AND STEVE DILLON,
+ APPEARS COURTESY OF PANINI COMICS,
WITH THANKS TO DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE)
LETTERER - RICHARD STARKINGS AND
COMICRAFT’S JIMMY BETANCOURT
ASSISTANT EDITORS - JESSICA BURTON
+ GABRIELA HOUSTON
EDITOR - ANDREW JAMES
DESIGNER - ROB FARMER
MAIN COVER BY ALEX RONALD
RELEASED MARCH 2ND 2016, TITAN COMICS
The Doctor, Alice, The Squire and their 'ally of convenience' Daak have finally located the ultra-confident, ultra-capable Professor River Song, after more than a few parsecs travelled across the universe. A reunion for this version of the Doctor and River is somewhat overshadowed by the continued threat offered by 'The Then And The Now' being. But perhaps some solutions can be found at last to this rather unwelcome scenario the TARDIS crew have been immersed in. And this could see the Doctor clear his name at last, long after the actions of a former incarnation that he rarely mentions to even the closest people in his life.
Reaching the halfway-point of Year Two, I continue to be impressed by the direction this timey-wimey, French-loaf-twisted arc runs along. There is lots of vigour and derring-do and all the regular characters are sufficiently engaging to make the spectacle resonate to full effect.
River Song once again is used to good effect alongside the Eleventh Doctor, and how nice to have her grace more than a few comic strip panels and play a full part in proceedings. As enjoyable as it was to see her appear frequently in the bonus strip, it is considerably more involving when we are reminded of the complex non-chronological timeline that she and the Doctor are forced to share together.
Abslom Daak continues to add colourful unpredictability to the storyline; his wildcard status is neatly complementary to the stalwart Squire and the thoroughly down to earth Alice. The Doctor clearly enjoys having to juggle many things all at once, and be pushed to his limits, but is clearly in a comfort zone whenever his beloved River is in close proximity.
There have been plenty of references to the Master, at this point, and with a bit of luck we will get to see him reappear. Being that this is pre-Capaldi-era, the expectation is that we get the traditional male version. (Although having Missy somehow appear would be truly special, the question would then arise how the Twelfth Doctor does not recognise her).
Year One for the Eleventh Doctor had plenty to it, and required readers pay attention and remember various pertinent details. This second year is more of the same, but 'dialled-up', and writer Rob Williams has showed just how many tricks he has up his sleeves. It lives up to the clever nature of the Matt Smith TV outings, and especially the carefully pre-planned 'Series 6a and 6b'; (within were never my favourite stories, but unquestionably ones that showed Doctor Who could yet again re-invent itself to compelling effect).
Artwork continues to convince and thrill in equal measure. Simon Fraser confidently portrays the frenetic travels through both physical space and the (often chaotic) dimensions of time. 'The Then And The Now' is a great idea, and continues to be used well. It is hard to imagine this remorseless foe being any better in televisual or audio format. The colour work for these stories is also more than acceptable, although some of the finishes for the Eighth and Ninth Doctor Mini-Series of recent times were just a touch stronger at leaving a lasting impression
This now well-established monthly series from Titan, dedicated to the bow-tie-wearing variant of the Doctor, continues to surprise and delight. It also remains faithful to both its source telly-box origins, and to the visually infinite universe of comics.
HUMOUR STRIP - LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR - (Art and Visuals by Marc Ellerby)
A solid comedic display again from Ellerby, who has his own unique brand of depicting the familiar 'TARDIS family', as well as supporting or one-shot characters. The tenuous nature of neighbourly relations gets to be the main focus in this mini-story, and should evoke familiar emotions for the vast majority of readers. This material would arguably look at home in a regular daily newspaper, and its reach never exceeds its grasp.
Two alternate covers feature amongst the final pages. One is a photo-style image of the Doctor reacting to a figure that casts a curly haired silhouette on the TARDIS, in the backdrop. The other is a quirky collection of images, which charmingly conveys an abundance of joy and humour.