"THE ONE - PART 2 OF 2"
WRITER - ROB WILLIAMS
ARTISTS - LEANDRO CASCO + SIMON FRASER
COLORIST - GARY CALDWELL
(ABSLOM DAAK CREATED BY STEVE MOORE AND STEVE DILLON, AND APPEARS COURTESY OF PANINI COMICS,
WITH THANKS TO DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE)
LETTERER - RICHARD STARKINGS +
COMICRAFT’S JIMMY BETANCOURT
ASSISTANT EDITORS - JESSICA BURTON
+ GABRIELA HOUSTON
EDITOR - ANDREW JAMES
DESIGNER - ROB FARMER
MAIN COVER: BRIAN MILLER
RELEASED MARCH 23RD 2016, TITAN COMICS
"The Time Lords ensured that the mere knowledge of this place was removed from all living things. For the safety of all that was good. But I came here. Once. I think… it… it’s difficult to recall. there was a book…something… … something to do with Cambridge? I forget". The Doctor addressing his travelling companions.
"Shada.. Shadaaa" - those were the words uttered by a bonkers-brilliant Tom Baker during the early 1990s, as he introduced his narration of the missing Season 17 Douglas Adams epic. Originally released on VHS, and currently available on DVD in 'The Legacy Collection', the reconstructed Shada saw Baker pull off a unique mix of himself and an alternate Fourth Doctor, narrating the missing material, (which comprised more than half of the projected run time for six 25 minute episodes).
For many years I have had a soft spot for that outlandish story which could well have fallen flat on its face through sheer over-ambition if actually produced and transmitted. At its core, it was a good example of how Doctor Who so typically manages to avoid being generic and sterile (unlike a good number of other sci-fi franchises).
The rather loose position in canon of Shada allows for the many brilliant concepts of Adams to be used by any budding writer as they see fit, and Rob Williams has met his usual high standard with this latest stopover in the ongoing galaxy hopping arc. By this point readers will have seen a rather unusually stressed Eleventh Doctor forced to try and clear his name of the unspeakable crime committed against the Cylors.
It is quite appropriate to have the Doctor's nemesis - The Master - linked to this fascinating prison locale, where the Doctor's fellow Time Lords opted to safely lock away potential universal despots for millennia. Although the glimpses of the Roger Delgado incarnation are fleeting - and the villain does not directly interact with our protagonists - it still is richly satisfying to have the original (and arguably the best) Master of them all gracing a well-established comic from the team at Titan.
This issue makes effective use of the (by now familiar) River/Eleventh Doctor dynamic. It has little pause to catch its breath, but never feels rushed or mindless during any passage. Also, the overall arc continues to move well. It is welcome to have a group of do-gooders, with Daak as the quintessential wildcard anti-hero, who are of such different ages backgrounds and personalities. The mystery of the Squire persists, being explored here in the most in-depth and tantalising fashion yet since the character first became a regular player.
The cliffhanger is a fine bit of confirming readers' darkest fears over just low the War Doctor was prepared to sink. There is also a clever contrast of the 'hidden Doctor' with the fundamentally immoral Master who, for all his defects, at least some fixed 'code of honour' or 'sanity'.
Writing continues to be of the highest quality, and the artwork is at worst quite good, and at best excellent. Two artists get to flex their creative-flair-muscles, with a cleverly done transition mid-issue as the Doctor's party are subjugated to 'hibernation'.
The wait for each subsequent issue in Year 2 has now become harder to bear, and is the sign of a team of creatives who are very much on their game.
No humour strip is present for this month's edition, but a pair of photo and art bonus covers do feature. The latter of those includes a tantalising promise of Daak visionary Steve Dillon entering the fray late on in Year 2(!).
There also is a collection of smaller sized preview/alternate covers for Issue 8.