Writer - Rob Williams, Artist - Simon Fraser
Colorist - Gary Caldwell
[Abslom Daak created by Steve Moore + Steve Dillon, appearing courtesy of Panini Comics, with thanks to Doctor Who Magazine]
Letterer - Richard Starkings + Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Assistant Editors - Jessica Burton + Amoona Saohin
Senior Editor - Andrew James
Designer - Rob Farme
COVER A - DAN BOULTWOOD
Released June 8th 2016
"Of course I knew! I'm not you, Daak! I actually think! I think a lot! I am very, very, very smart! Why else do you think I kept you around! Not for your witty repartee. I had something specific in mind for you. You had to be her bodyguard."
The Doctor chastising Daak for failing to protect Alice.
'The Then And The Now ' could not be stopped forever, and at some point in its pursuit was going to cause serious damage. The badly injured Squire lies prone in the clutches of the TARDIS Robo-med, with the Doctor desperate to save the aged warrior's life. And all Abslom Daak can do is speak up and find his Time Lord 'ally' in far from his usual convivial mood.
Meanwhile Alice is abroad the diseased TARDIS belonging to the Doctor's nemesis, the Master. She is aware of the importance of getting to a point in the Time War that will solve the current threat hanging over the Doctor. A mysterious amorphous entity may be the key to her accomplishing her mission.
This tenth issue in the intricate, broad Year 2 arc skilfully manages two parallel storylines, such that both grip in equal manner, but for different reasons.
The artwork, colours and panelling variety all operate well together, and the issue overall culminates triumphantly with a 'double whammy' cliff hanger.
Alice is being given supremely worthwhile character development, in a plot thread that shows that whilst the Doctor is key to any story, it is not always wrong if his assistant - or, in the case of this run of stories, team - are vital in finding some kind of resolution to the problem at hand.
We also see a Doctor struggling to accept that Alice is having to fend for herself in some corner of the sprawling mess of chaos that is the Time War. And this was down to his own machinations, except that his plan involved Daak being there to help the rather benign and weapon less Alice. At one point the Doctor shows a dark fury which is welcome, given how sometimes - and certainly in my view - this particular incarnation is overtly clownish.
Further, the Squire's fate hangs in the balance this issue, and it is tribute to the fine work of Rob Williams, (with support from alternate writer Si Spurrier), that readers will be concerned over this potential tragedy. The character is decidedly offbeat and has not appeared in either TV show or legendary comic strips of yester year (as with Daak). Yet it still feels vital that the Doctor can 'pull a rabbit out of the hat'.
In sum then, the arc continues to astound and delight in equal measure, despite entering some rather grim settings and thematic backdrops.
The reviews for the Eleventh Doctor Titan comics will return with a look at the 'collected edition' of the next sequence of issues. So watch this space (!)