Written by Nick Abadzis | Art by Elena Casagrande | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
If I said I have been a little disappointed so far by Nick Abadzis’s run on this book that would probably be a little harsh. It’s not a bad book at all, but for me it has at times just been lacking a spark, that little touch of creativeness that makes a book jump from the ‘read later’ pile to the top of the ‘read now’ pile. His characters sound and act right, but the stories for me just haven’t done them justice so far.
The Tenth Doctor #2.5 follows right on from the dramatic events of last month. The Doctor and companion Gabby have found themselves waaaay back in Earth’s prehistory (hats off to Nick Abadzis for using a locale rarely featured in Doctor Who mythology) where they have fallen into a somewhat bizarre situation. Despite being pre-history, metal discs are flying around kidnapping the locals (Neanderthal and Sapiens). They also had their hands on The Doctor and Gabby before they both managed to escape, but both have now become separated from each other. As this issue begins The Doctor is partnered up with Munmeth, a local healer and good guy, and Gabby is in the less certain situation of being held by a gang of space faring bounty hunters.
Gabby discovers the discs are the Monaxi Guild, who are intergalactic slavers raiding the Earth to sell the inhabitants on. The bounty hunters turn out to be friendly, people previously affected by the Monaxi who hunt them down to stop them raiding planets as best they can. Meanwhile The Doctor realises that he and Munmeth are being used, being put into situations of conflict while being observed by someone of something, and also realises it is the Monaxi, rarely seen but brutal people traders. After a confrontation the Monaxi leader is seemingly defeated, and just as things seem to get wrapped up, a giant spanner is thrown into the works when the Monaxi leader reveals they are working for others, and opens a Time Bridge that sucks everyone through….
This was a bit more of what I was looking for. An interesting rarely used locale, a well crafted plot and interesting bunch of characters (Monaxi, freedom fighters, Neanderthals) all added up to a fun read. I loved the fact that Iktra, the Monaxi leader, spoke like a fifties movie alien at times, intentional on Abadzis’s part I’m sure to exaggerate his very irritating superiority complex, even over a Time Lord. We also see a slightly different side to the Tenth Doctor, in that he shows some of those physical skills we hear about but rarely see. This time round, brute force is as important as strength of will, a nice touch just reminding us that this nice guy incarnation can get a little nastier when he needs to.
There was a lot of dialogue to cram into this one, and Elena Casagrande did a great job of laying out her art in such a way that the dialogue never felt too dense, never too overpowering. Some of her larger panels were excellent, and she nailed the mash up of prehistoric people and their environment with invading aliens and their technology. Her David Tennant likeness is pretty good too.
This issue was definitely a step in the right direction. The cliffhanger at the end was the cherry on the top of a much stronger issue than the last, and for the first time with this title I really am looking forward to the next issue, which will most definitely be promoted to my ‘read now’ pile.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.5 is out now from Titan Comics