Written by Cavan Scott | Art by Adriana Melo | Published by Titan Comics
Probably the best part of last issue was the ending. Not that it was a bad issue by any means, though slightly pedestrian, but that the ending saw The Doctor, Jack and Rose dragged back in time to the 1970′s/1980′s heyday of UNIT. Why? Because in the process of closing the punchhole that provided the drama last issue, one of the gargoyles (a mutated human called Dean to you and me, and also someone Rose was more than a little sweet on) had fallen through it and ended up in that era. Very hard not to love UNIT-era stories, and something of a surprise that this incarnation of The Doctor should find himself back in the famous era of the early incarnations of The Doctor.
After a frenetic opening where Dean, the mutated gargoyle, is captured by UNIT it appears that we have arrived in an era where The Brigadier is not in charge but a few familiar faces are still around. None of them however, are familiar with this version of The Doctor. I assume the little ‘it could be the 70′s or 80′s, does it matter?’ quip is deliberate on Cavan Scott’s part, to keep the continuity vague enough not to upset the chronology of Who lore, and allow this tale not to contradict any other stories of the era. The Doctor finds Harry Sullivan now in charge and struggling to keep UNIT active, both in the face of random appearances and attacks by monsters across the West Country and the appearance of a private alien fighting defence force, Albion Defence, looking to take over.
It soon becomes clear there must be a link to the disappearance of a top UNIT scientist, Alex Yaxley. Unknown to The Doctor and UNIT he is being held prisoner, and apparently being manipulated into causing the appearance of these random creatures. Captain Jack and UNIT officer Benton find this out first hand when on a visit to Yaxley’s wife and son, one of those giant creatures appears and is about to attack the house. I liked what Cavan Scott did with this issue, on several levels. I liked the fact that although technically a new story arc, it was also a continuation of the previous one, with the ongoing gargoyle storyline, and gave The Doctor and team a good reason to pitch up where they did. I liked the way that although UNIT was used, subtle changes were made to make this UNIT a little different from say the UNIT we are currently seeing in another Titan Comics book, the adventures of the Third Doctor. A combination of new and old is always good.
I suspect the script when handed to artist Adriana Melo was a little on the thin side, as there are a few more large splash panels than normal. This works fine though, as it gives Melo plenty of room to detail the destruction when needed, and gives a real feel of size. The art in general is very good, carries the storytelling along nicely, and conveys pace and mood well. Likenesses again are very good, notably the Doctor, and just generally very nice to look at.
Dr Who is something of a double edged sword sometimes. On the one hand, the adaptability of the character allows for a almost limitless scope for adventure across all space and time. On the other, you must find stories and ideas that have not already been mined, and not write anything that directly contradicts other Who tales. This issue trod neatly along that sword edge.
Cavan Scott would probably say it’s a nice problem to have, as he seems to be having as much fun writing these stories as we have reading them.
Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor #6 is out now from Titan Comics