03rd Aug2017

‘Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.7′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by I.N.J Culbard | Published by Titan Comics

Eleventh_Doctor_3_7_Cvr-A

I really enjoyed last issue overall, mainly for the fact that you can’t go wrong with any story centering around a large abandoned spaceship. It’s one of those classic sci-fi tropes that never gets old. Rather like Dr Who itself really. Our version of The Doctor, Number Eleven, companion Alice and current friend (but possibly future enemy) The Sapling all found themselves exploring a massive, deserted spacecraft. A spacecraft that was bigger on the inside than the outside it seemed, contained dimensional doorways and, oh yes, a red giant star. Things were further complicated by the fact the ship is inhabited by Thrakes, creatures that feed on memories like a parasite, and the small matter of a person in a box in the engine room.

Actually, a coffin it seems. And all the wonders they have already seen weren’t there at all it seems, they were all memories. Memories being slowly eaten away by the Thrakes. The Doctor identifies the body as that of a Xerxes, and ancient powerful race that predated even the Time Lords. Sensing their end, they compiled their knowledge and learning into great Memory Arks, which were sent out into the universe. The ship is, in effect, a huge virtual library. Though in the Thrakes, one with some very unwelcome guests. Left unchecked they can destroy an entire ship’s worth of memories, and then use that ship’s connection through the Xerxes memory web to destroy them all. The Doctor of course can not allow this to happen, even to a long extinct race.

First things first, save your own skin. The Doctor, Alice, and The Sapling make another run for it, encountering the host Xerxes, still present as a literal ‘ghost in the machine’. The Doctor connects with him, learning the full circumstances of past events. Why does The Doctor feel so strongly? When the Time Lords feared their end was coming, they similarly made memory lanterns, to be released into the universe so they wouldn’t be forgotten. This is clearly personal, as this incarnation of The Doctor still believes his people are all dead. Off to the ships Datacore.

The Datacore is the place where all the memories are stored, so that’s probably the last place The Doctor should be leading the Thrakes, right? Ah, but he has a plan. The Thrakes arrive in force, and The Doctor invites them to eat away, treat the Datacore like an unlimited buffet. As they eat and eat away, they soon discover why gluttony is indeed a sin. The end. A pretty simple wrap up to a pretty simple story. The theme, of preserving the past, is a nice one, but overall the story underwhelmed after its initial promise. I thought it would develop beyond the initial discovery of the ship and the Thrakes, but it never really did. Not a bad script by George Mann, who always writes good dialogue, but he’s done much better.

The art, by I.J.N Culbard was a little too cartoony in style and feel for me. True, Number Eleven is one of the more comedic incarnations of The Doctor and a lighter style of art can suit him, but this story needed more depth in the artwork, a grainier, darker, more claustrophobic feel. This is an abandoned spaceship after all, with scary, menacing creatures pursuing The Doctor and team through the different levels and environments. The art never conveyed any sense of menace, something that did a little disservice to the script.

Worth noting is a little extra bonus, a 4 page vignette of The Doctor and Alice breaking into a spaceship to acquire a, er, lost mug. Self stirring mind. A fun little tale from Vince Pavey, Pasquale Qualano, and Triona Farrell.

A fair issue, and a decent conclusion to a decent story.

*** 3/5

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