23rd Aug2017

‘Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.8’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by Ivan Rodriguez, Wellington Diaz, Klebs Junior, Leandro Casco | Published by Titan Comics


Matt Smith’s incarnation of The Doctor, or Number Eleven if you will, has always reminded me of TV detective Columbo. A strange connection at first I suppose, but it ‘s the fact both are masters at the art of misdirection. Both appear on the surface a little befuddled, a little confused, not quite sure what they are doing or where they are going. This is, of course, all an act, one designed to make their enemies underestimate them and give them an advantage from the start. Matt Smith was outstanding in his use of that goofiness, making his Doctor one of the funnier incarnations. George Mann has at times managed to channel that Matt Smith quality nicely in his writing, adding nice depth to a lot of the stories.

This month is a stand-alone story, albeit one that adds a little more to the ongoing Sapling plotline. The Doctor, Alice, and The Sapling have pitched up at a lovely village fair, The Village Green Festival to be exact, full of over the top amusements, colours, and costumes. So they fit right in then. Ice creams, fairground rides, prize stalls, our trio have a whale of a time. Of course, if that was it this would be a very short, albeit very pleasant adventure. So the fact The Sapling starts to have memories of the Fair from the morning, before he was even there raises one of The Doctor’s eyebrows. The other one is also raised when it becomes apparent that nearly everyone at the Fair is suddenly unable to remember much. A boy doesn’t recognise his own father, a woman forgets buying something etc. Strange happenings indeed.

Is it The Sapling doing this Alice wonders? Yep, it is, but as The Doctor points out The Sapling only takes memories when triggered. A quick scan of his own memories, and The Sapling finds a common thread through all those memories he has ‘stolen’. A photographer, dressed as a Jester, has been taking photos of everyone, including The Sapling. After a quick chase, The Jester is captured and turns out to be a Krovian, there stealing Earth people’s memories for a rich client. The camera usually captures those memories, but the Krovian he took a picture of The Sapling the memories were all sucked into him instead. One quick reversal, and everyone’s memories are restored. Now, where’s the jam tasting?

This was a nice little tale, a breather of sorts between the bigger adventures. Even The Doctor has a little down time now and again, though you suspect he does it more for the benefit of his companions than himself. Having it set in a quintessentially English setting was a nice touch, Number Eleven being a quintessentially English Doctor. It also allowed The Sapling to experience loss, another emotion to add to its growing experience, all designed by The Doctor to try and build up enough self-awareness to prevent The Sapling becoming the weapon it is supposed to be. Nothing ground breaking here of course, but Mann crafts a pleasant enough little tale.

The art is something of a mixed bag. Literally. Four different artists are credited on this issue, and two colourists. Though you can tell the difference between the different artists, the differences aren’t too jarring, and luckily all the artists are pretty good. Matt Smith’s likeness holds up very well all the way through. I assume they were filling in to help the regular artists get ahead of schedule on the next issue, but any one of them would be perfectly fine by me as a regular artist in the future. Just not all together.

Not an essential issue by any means, but a nice enough one with a big slice of humour and a full cup of fun, as befits a story set at an English village fair.

***½  3.5/5


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