19th May2017

‘Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.5′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by James Peaty | Art by Warren Pleece | Published by Titan Comics

TENTH_DOCTOR_3_5_C-D

All change from last issue as we have another of those ‘interlude’ issues, where a different creative team fill in on the book for an issue. Having noticed something similar on other Doctor Who books, one could almost think they are trying to get ahead of the schedules for some big Summer event….but I digress. Last issue of course saw the wrap up of the ancient China / Cindy clones adventure, and the defeat of The Red Jade General. Really missing that Red TARDIS. As Gabby sits in the TARDIS following that adventure, her mind goes back to a previous one.

Where is the glamorous setting for this adventure? Prehistory? The end of time? A galaxy, far, far away? Er, London. Present day. Gabby is thrilled, The Doctor strangely less so. It seems The Doctor is not particularly fond of early twentieth century London, as bad things always happen to him. He’s not wrong.Being drawn into investigating an apparent monster in a stockroom probably comes under that category I’d guess. The monster turns out to be an extra-dimensional ‘echo’, leading to a doorway to another dimension, a doorway obviously that shouldn’t be there. So why is it?

The Key was a tech company run by bigwig Aaron Copeland, it went bust but has been the site of mysterious sightings and signals since. Gabby and The Doctor enter the abandoned building to find Copeland there, but a Copeland now possessed by an alien entity. The alien identifies itself as The Reach, and decides the best way to get The Doctor to help is to grab Gabby and throw here through the inter-dimensional doorway. As you do. The Reach then invites The Doctor to go after her, playing on his fear and guilt over losing companions in the past. The Doctor knows this is a trap, in fact knows everything since their arrival has been designed to trap him, but cannot let Gabby be lost. In he goes.

First stopping off point is a fun cameo, albeit a sad one. The Doctor rescues an unconscious former companion, Martha Jones, from danger but has to move on before she comes to. She is clearly unfinished business to him, one of the companions he has the most guilt about, but on he goes. Next he turns up in the home of former companion Donna, but quickly passes through before she sees him, and ends up on the estate of Rose and her family. All this psychic anguish is feeding The Reach, who plan to take down the barriers between dimensions. Then, just as despair is really setting in, Gabby appears to rescue The Doctor.

Gabby had been rescued by other members of The Reach, ones that had exiled the bad one into a pocket universe from which it had escaped helped by Crosland’s experiments. It only partially escaped, as Crossland is the link to this reality until it can free its body as well as its mind. With time running out The Doctor persuades Crossland he is being used, and Crossland decides to sacrifice himself to save London. The dimensional door closes, hopefully for good. Another adventure in the bag, but one in which the mask really slipped, and Gabby saw The Doctors usually disguised emotions.

James Peaty shows, as he has writing other incarnations, that he really does have a firm grasp of The Doctor and the mythology that surrounds him. This story was really about relationships. It was about how The Doctor simultaneously needs companionship but is afraid of it. He is like an addict, drawn to the fun and adventure when he has someone to share it with, but also subconsciously pushing away in case they get too close and it hurts too much when they leave, or age, or die. Peaty got this over very well, in a throwaway tale less important than its message. Love those little cameos too. The art by Warren Pleece was solid throughout, though a little busy at times with many pages having over the standard six panels. Too much squinting lessens the enjoyment of the art for these ageing eyes!

Entertaining, insightful, enjoyable. That’ll do.

***½  3.5/5

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