Written by Nick Abadzis | Art by Elena Casagrande | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
After quite a slow start, this series is starting to find its feet a little better. At times it has just felt too safe, almost writing by numbers, and it seemed that Nick Abadzis was still looking for the right tone and feel, the right time and place to make his stories shine. Last issue was the best of the run so far, and left me for the first time really looking forward to this next issue.
For the obligatory quick recap let’s just remind you that The Doctor and Gabby are back in Earth’s prehistory, juggling their time between friendly and hostile Neanderthals, intergalactic bounty hunters, and a race of interstellar slave traders, the Monaxi. Although it seemed The Doctor had defeated the Monaxi, they had the last laugh when they opened a temporal tornado which sucked everyone through, something even The Doctor was worried about.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.6 moves to following Gabby, as she narrates us through what has been happening. She is with friend Cleo, Captain Jack Harkness, Muthmunna, and Erik who have all lost their memories and know only to stick together. It’s an interesting group dynamic that’s for sure, as they adventure through what unknown to them is an arena disguised as a proper landscape. Although this bunch of characters are interesting to a degree I just kept waiting for The Doctor to appear, and it took until halfway through the issue before he did. That’s confidence in your writing for you.
He had also lost his memory, the memory loss being the way people are made to fight one another. Luckily the group realise that when you hear your real name spoken your memories return, and soon all are nearly back in possession of their full faculties, just in time for the real manipulator behind the scenes to step forward, the visually impressive Mr Ebonite, an ‘extraterrestrial arms dealer’ of great reknown. He confirms they are all essentially in an arena to fight for entertainment and observation, with multiple other species and races, and that what’s at stake is far larger than just some humans being enslaved.
As this is only part one of a two part resolution it felt a little unsatisfying by the last page, as most of The Tenth Doctor #2.6 consisted of exposition and apart from the reveal of Mr Ebonite towards the end not a lot actually happened. What the issue did though, it did very well. I especially liked the technique of using the first person narration for part of the issue, giving us a more personal insight into the goings on, which you sometimes need when dealing with alien arms dealers, time travellers, and omnisexual immortals!
I am still not the world’s biggest fan of Eleonora Carlini’s art though it has grown on me more over the last issue or two. It is a very cartoony style, at times slightly manga-esque, the type of art normally found in all-ages comics. She does a good job of pacing and panel layouts, and in general her likenesses aren’t bad, but I remain to be completely convinced. On the art front, I would be remiss as well if I didn’t at least mention the multiple covers of the title each month, usually all very good and catering to all types of fan be it the lover of the photo cover, the painted cover or the standard comic book cover art.
An issue that was good fun and a decent read, but a little dip from last month’s issue, and one in which relatively little happened. I’m hoping the conclusion next month will justify this month’s set-up.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.6 is out now from Titan Comics