Written by Alex Paknadel | Art by Simon Fraser | Published by Titan Comics
Colour me surprised to pick up this issue and find writer Rob Williams name missing, replaced by that of Alex Paknadel, a name I am mainly familiar with from the Arcadia title published by Boom! A quick check, and it seems Alex will be writing a four issue arc, joined by artists Simon Fraser. Although this issue is the beginning of a new arc, ‘The Tragical History Tour’ builds on the story begun in Rob Williams previous arc.
The Doctor and companion Alice had been attacked by renegade Silent The Scream, so powerful his own people forget he exists, even though their ability is to make everyone else forget they exist. With the help of the universe’s greatest pop star Jones, The Scream was defeated, but The Doctor was left babysitting The Sapling, essentially a destructive organic virus in childlike humanoid form that The Scream had planned to weaponise on an entire planet. The good news is The Doctor and Alice won, the bad news is their memories are full of gaps thanks to The Scream’s powers. They remember something happened, just not what exactly. The Scream, meanwhile, is back on their tail, now with access to a whole lot of Time Lord memories…
After an amusing interlude where Alice decides to call The Sapling Twiggy, The Doctor takes Alice back to where she lives on Earth, as she seeks to fill in those missing memories. However, things get weirder when they find neighbour Kushak in her flat, mainly because his flat has multiple versions of himself living there, all from different time periods. Seems some ruthless inter-time soldiers called the Sixty-Eighters have been ransacking the time stream, stealing and killing their way across the decades. Time has become Space, allowing multiple Earths to look like a huge galactic slinky, and for people in the past to co-exist with their many future incarnations. Hence the thirty odd Kushak’s walking around.
The Doctor realises a trip back in time is in order, but his not so carefully thought out plan is nearly thwarted from the get-go when an outside force tries to suck the time energy out of the TARDIS, like petrol from an engine as he points out. A hasty retreat back to the present, and a genuinely stymied Doctor. As he wrestles with the best way to proceed, Alice nips back to her flat to get a photo album to help restore those memories. Good idea, except for the part where The Scream has arrived, and is waiting there for her. Oops.
This was a fun, fast read. The sort of story that suits The Eleventh Doctor, having him run from place to place, talking a hundred miles an hour. I like the way the writer Paknadel also points out that The Eleventh Doctor’s Columbo-esque dithering has a purpose, it buys him time to think and plan while seemingly not having one. Great dialogue throughout too, and the perfect tone for Eleven. Nice to see Alice get a more central, juicy role too. Simon Fraser’s art was ok, didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. Storytelling and layouts were good, but actual art a little too cartoony and loose for my taste. As a whole though, the book worked well.
With this issue Alex Paknadel shows he has plenty of original and fun ideas ready to go, while still running with those ongoing plots from Rob Williams. A solid first issue of the new arc, and a scenario that played as classic Who.
Great tribute to Sir John Hurt, who played the War Doctor of course, at the end too.