19th May2017

‘Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.5’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by James Peaty | Art by I.N.J. Culbard | Published by Titan Comics


A whole lot of new this issue. New story arc, ‘Time of the Ood’, new writer in James Peaty and new artist in I.N.J Culbard. Although the last adventure was nicely wrapped up last issue, the ongoing plot thread of The Sapling continues. The Sapling was originally designed as a biological weapon of mass destruction, but after a par for the course mishap ended up with the combined memories of both Alice and The Doctor while still essentially an immature child. I suspect The Doctor wants to see if The Sapling can be steered through careful nurture away from its destiny of destruction. Plot wise that’s the long game, so time to focus on the here and now.

The Doctor and Alice have pitched up on The Devil’s Eye, a ‘pleasure hub for the discerning intergalactic traveller’ just in time to see a confrontation between some guests and The Ood. Wait a minute, weren’t The Ood freed from their state of servitude and returned home in a previous adventure? Actually, yes, but it seems these remaining fifteen have been blocked from hearing the call to return home by a nearby black hole. Why the aggressive behaviour? Meet Jonni Haliburton, officially head of maintenance but really a former member of the freedom fighter/ terrorist group Friends Of The Ood.

Unlike her colleagues who disbanded once the Ood were freed, Jonni couldn’t rest while these Ood were still slaves. So Jonni messed with their minds, causing them to lash out at their so-called masters. As The Doctor points out, liberator has become torturer. All Jonni is doing is leaving these Ood in great pain and killing innocent guests. Well we all know what ultimately happens to the Jonni’s of this world, don’t we? Jonni is surprised by The Ood herself, and meets her own deserved fate. The Doctor decides on his course of action, a plan to use The Sapling to psychically override the signal tormenting The Ood.

Nice and simple right? Actually no, it requires the stasis field be turned off. That’s the same field protecting the guests from The Ood, and the one preventing the dome being sucked into the Black Hole. Alice has 60 seconds to get the ‘psychic-oyster card of doom’ to The Sapling, which she does, just, and The Sapling does the rest. The Doctor takes the now re-connected with the song Ood back to their home world, and a brief reunion with Ood Sigma. Although obviously re-uniting The Ood is a good thing, The Doctor has an unpleasant revelation when Ood Sigma reveals he essentially manipulated The Doctor into freeing them. With The Doctor’s memories compromised, he worries he can just be summoned, pointed in the right direction, and made to do whatever. Food for Gallifreyan thought.

This was ultimately a very slight tale, but written and drawn extremely well and able to deliver a slice of Who directly connected to the mythology, and play a little bit with The Doctor’s situation. It was a quick read, but purely because it was so easy to read, it flowed almost perfectly story wise. The Matt Smith dialogue was spot on, the to and fro with Alice never better, and it all felt just right. Culbard’s art was a little on the light, cartoony side, but suited the tone and pace of this tale very well. He also has a particular talent with facial expressions and body language, always a good thing considering the myriad of expressions The Eleventh Doctor gets through.

A bit like fast food this issue, really enjoyable and tasty but give it an hour and you’ll be hungry for some more.

***½   3.5/5


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