Written by Si Spurrier | Art by Simon Fraser | Published by Titan Comics
So here we are, the final issue in Year Two of the Eleventh Doctor. Obviously that doesn’t affect The Doctor much, as Year Three begins almost immediately and he will find new escapades aplenty to get tied up in. What is does affect is the creative team, as this is the swan song of the Si Spurrier and Simon Fraser team, and as a reader you hope they go out with one final, creative bang. For me, this has been one of the inconsistent titles, great some months, average at best others, but all can be forgiven with a strong finale, right?
Last issue had quite a lot going on, the two biggest things being the reveal of The Squire as a Dalek hybrid sleeper agent sent to betray The Doctor, and the seemingly fatal wounding of Absolom Daak, the legendary Dalek Killer. There was a lot more stuff also going on, mostly to do with recriminations and revenge over the Time War, but those two nuggets are enough to start with. As this issue begins, Daak hovers close to death but his hatred keeps him hanging on, as The Doctor and Alice seem to admit defeat to The Squire and the Malignant force. All seems lost…
You didn’t fall for that for a second, did you? Turns out The Doctor has been aware of The Squire’s dual nature from some time back, and had made plans for this eventuality. That would explain a rejuvenated Absolom Daak shooting out of the TARDIS and crushing The Squire, and an up and about River Song finishing off the job once and for all. In between The Doctor’s genuine regret for what happened to The Squire, we get a glimpse at the best and worst of him. Although he defeated an enemy, he did so by manipulating everyone around him, putting them all at risk, and ultimately for the most selfish of reasons, to clear his own name.
As often happens with timey-wimey stuff, you’ll need to read and re-read The Doctor’s explanation of how he manipulated events, and ensured this outcome. It culminates in the arrival of The Then and The Now, a ‘paradox birthed mercenary time anomaly’ created by Alice and which terrified The Doctor as a child over a thousand years ago. Got that? Good. Alice directed it to destroy the Malignant, imprison the Dalek Gods, and send the trapped alien race to their version of the afterlife. It’s a complicated, but needed, resolution. Even The Doctor admits sometimes things get overly complicated because he is handling ‘so many lines of string’ at any one time.
Simon Fraser delivered nicely on the art again this issue, with some nice larger panel art spread throughout. Always a nice sense of movement and action in his art. My one niggle was the art at times looked slightly rushed, with minimal backgrounds and quite loose art, but this may have been a stylistic choice. His Matt Smith faces also vary between excellent and a little dodgy too.
Although this may have been a little hard going on fans like me that didn’t read the entire year of issues, it was a decent enough resolution. I certainly admire the way Si Spurrier has played the long game, ensuring each part of the puzzle laid out during the year has a part to play at the payoff. Intricate, cleverly done plotting for sure. As a standalone issue, it did its job without being outstanding, though anything with Absolom Daak I tend to enjoy that bit more. The last page was a very nice touch, with Daak’s Time War cameo, as was the Steve Dillon tribute page.
Roll on Year Three.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2.15 is released by Titan Comics on December 21st.