Written by Si Spurrier | Art by Simon Fraser | Published by Titan Comics
Been a little while since I checked in on the Eleventh Doctor, and I was curious to see how much timey-wimey stuff I had missed. Scripter Si Spurrier I know mainly from 2000AD and Judge Dredd, and I liked the way he wrote that iconic character. Artist Simon Fraser also showed up in 2000AD as memory serves (let’s be honest, most talented British creators do at some time or another) though I can’t remember on what strip. Looks a good team to me.
Thankfully the Who books always include a little recap page at the beginning, so even if, like me, you’ve missed a few issues they get you up to speed. The Doctor is currently travelling with companion Alice Obiefune and someone called The Squire, a supposed ally who turned out to be a Dalek hybrid agent up to no good. And what the heck is Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer doing running around, I remember him fondly from Dr Who Monthly years ago. Running around being a little misleading, as he has an unfortunate run-in with The Squire in this issue that doesn’t turn out so well.
Alice reveals to The Doctor what The Squire truly is, but he cannot believe she is a Dalek, as she has emotion and feelings. I was a little confused with the frenetic nature of what was going on from this point on, but it seems a race of people had wanted The Doctor captured and executed for crimes during the Time War, when his actions somehow enable a dark, destructive force called The Malignant that had decimated their planet. Only it turns out (I think!) the Malignant is actually tied to the inhabitants psionically, as once they were their gods. As the resolution of an ongoing story I can see this as having been a great resolution, a lot of action and exposition, but I was left very confused by it all I must say.
What I did take away from the writing was the tone was a bit darker than I have been seeing in other Who books, which made a nice change. This Doctor seems weary of his past incarnations and the messes they have caused, and weary of his War Doctor incarnation’s actions in the Time War. There also seems to have been something of a body count in issues past. Although The Squire’s plan is to kill off all the remaining inhabitants of this planet, The Doctor merely curses their stupidity for putting themselves in that position. Spurrier writes some strong dialogue throughout, and I especially like the exchange between himself and Alice when she implores him to do something.
‘They abdicated their fates to reckless Gods from the stars’ The Doctor angrily states. ‘L-Like Me?’ sobs Alice. Sobering stuff.
Simon Fraser’s art is never short of engaging throughout. He really mixes it up, with some pages containing an eight panel grid, others being full page splashes, others only a couple of panels, even a two page spread. His visual depiction of The Squire, and the various mutations she undergoes throughout, really helps give the monologues from her context, and makes us squirm at the pretty horrific visuals. Imagine the skin on a person just covering the metal underneath, as the face keeps slipping to allow eye stalks to emerge, or metal grids moving behind the mouth. Very unsettling visuals, brilliantly done.
Although helped a little by the recap at the beginning, Spurrier has clearly written a very dense, involved script that to fully appreciate you needed to have been in on from the beginning. What I did understand I really enjoyed, and the dark tone and nastiness of the villain made a great change from lighter Who tales in the other books.
Definitely looking forward to seeing how it all resolves next issue.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2.14 is out now from Titan Comics