27th Oct2017

‘Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.10′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Nick Abadzis | Art by Giorgia Sposito | Published by Titan Comics

TENTH_DOCTOR_3_10_Cover-A

Very rare to get more than a one or two-parter in the Who books, so hats off to Nick Abadzis for this fine four-parter. Vortex Butterflies has been a very entertaining arc, with a little bit of everything. Old faces returning, if you are allowed to call Sarah Jane Smith old, companions bickering, safe houses in other times, and a focus on The Doctor’s humanity, or rather his lack of it. That last one took centre stage last issue, when we found out that the Vortex Butterfly was none other than old Doctor Who foe… OK, not foe. Companion Gabby.

That was a little surprise was it not. Seems that in every possible future timeline The Tenth Doctor abandons Gabby, and future Gabby is forced to try and build a new place to live from scraps of space and time. Obviously future Gabby is pretty angry at The Doctor, and we have seen the beginnings of that anger in the present after Gabby spoke with Sarah Jane and realised that, ultimately, all companions are expendable and are, at some point or other, abandoned or let go. As much as The Doctor has a love of humanity, and a loyalty to it, it is something of a paternalistic one. Great examination of those themes by Abadzis.

So why would The Doctor leave Gabby behind? He is convinced she is wrong, confused, but she is adamant. Gabby claims that over time she became a time sensitive, and in effect became ‘toxic’ to the TARDIS and so was dumped somewhere she could not cause damage, full as she was of vortex energy. The vortex butterflies were physical representations of that energy. The adventures The Doctor took Gabby on ‘infected’ her, evolved her to the point she linked to the TARDIS in such a way The Doctor had to remove her. Anger gives way to sadness, as Gabby tells The Doctor how lonely she has been, or rather the energy imprint she now is.

The Doctor is convinced this can all be changed. This is still the future for him, and something he believes he can change. After present day Gabby links to him and confronts her future self, Sarah Jane helps Gabby fix her time signature so they can help The Doctor’s fight. As present day Gabby points out, if future-Gabby kills her that is a paradox even The Doctor can’t sort out. Yikes. The Doctor has to take something of a time travel relay, crossing space and time and collecting the vortex energy and the future Gabby’s, and essentially ‘killing ‘ them. By saving ‘his’ Gabby he has to kill several others, all of whom were really Gabby. It’s a tough task, but one that has to be done. Maybe The Doctor is not so emotionless when it comes to his companions as we first thought, as adventures end shows.

This was a fine conclusion to the arc, and one in which Nick Abadzis has clearly put a lot of thought into. The Doctor and companion relationship has been the theme of the arc, and nicely explored. The Doctor can be both hero and villain at times, but he always does the tough stuff. Sarah Jane’s extended cameo was also a nice touch, and the perfect companion for the theme. The art again was nicely laid out, nice clean lines and panels, but as always for me with Giorgia Sposito’s art there is a lack of depth, a lack of substance, and a consistent weakness with action and motion scenes. Good art for light, fluffy adventures, not for anything with real emotional depth.

I am guessing the ramifications of this issue will continue for a while yet, but as a wrap up for now this was all we could hope for. Great stuff.

**** 4/5

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