18th Jan2018

‘Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.13′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alex Paknadel, Rob Williams | Art by JB Bastos, Luiz Campello | Published by Titan Comics

Eleventh_Doctor_3_13_Cover-A

So here we are, the last issue of Year Three of The Eleventh Doctor. The year has been dominated mostly by the ongoing saga of The Sapling, and the pursuit by The Scream. It’s been a fun ride for sure, but the build-up is nothing if the ending can’t deliver. Can The Sapling resist it’s biological imperative to become a weapon of mass destruction, or will it fall to its dark urges. Perhaps The Sapling will sacrifice itself (himself?) to save everyone else. Can The Doctor and Alice regain their memories, and defeat an enemy they forget as soon as soon as he is gone? Time to find out.

Last issue was something of a humdinger of course, as The Sapling engulfed the TARDIS to save it, but the TARDIS treated this as a threat. The Doctor had to blow up and reform the TARDIS, and themselves, but this went badly wrong. The Scream merged with The Sapling (The Scrapling?), and Alice and The Doctor were left with no memories at all. Not good at all. Good for The Scream though, as he has manipulated both Alice and The Doctor into his own version of reality. Alice is living in an idealistic world created by The Scream and peopled with characters from The Doctor’s memories, with just a hint in the back of her mind of a lost friend, and a sense this is all wrong. The Doctor, now a bearded and confused homeless man, is being watched and guided by The Scream masquerading as his friend, and assuring The Doctor he suffers from delusions, not genuine memories.

Via complete coincidence, or conventional plot device, Alice and The Doctor run into each other, the act of which starts to trigger suppressed memories and feelings. The Scream decides to kill them both, which he starts to do, but the act of doing so returns their memories to them. As they are slowly suffocated The Doctor both passes a secret plan to Alice and laughs at The Scream, reminding him that this mindscape is entirely peopled by memories from The Doctor and Alice. Kill them, and it will be an empty shell of a place. With no-one to remember him, The Scream will have no reason to exist, his greatest fear.

Cut to white, and The Scream is alone. Alice appears, and tells him to create multiple versions of himself, then he will never be lonely. This he does, but rather than be content, plane to invade and take over the universe with billions of copies of himself. The Doctor stops him in the most ironic of ways. He makes him forget himself. Literally. Fade to black. With The Scream gone, The Sapling frees The Doctor and Alice, now a matured Sapling who has aged to adulthood. Seems well balanced, too, which is a relief.

A nice issue to end with, though a case could be made that it finished a little too pat, and wrapped up a little too easily. I still get a kick though from the fact The Doctor always wins with his mind rather his fists, and this adventure made that more obvious than ever before. The story was nicely told, the characters had their spotlights, and are ready to go for Year Four. I especially enjoyed the art and colouring, which really added to the story. The Scream especially was drawn very nicely. Hats off to JB Bastos and Luiz Campello for solid work, and Paknadel and Williams for their affectionate take on these characters.

I always like a story that ends in such a way that it doesn’t feel like an ending, but rather a new beginning, and that’s how we leave The Eleventh Doctor. For him, it’s the road ahead, not the one behind, that matters. For me, I’m happy to loiter on the road a little longer and reflect on a good year of stories. As a wise Doctor once said:

‘We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one…’

****½  4.5/5

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