Or – “This Song Is Ending. But The Story Never Ends…”
“Nice to meet you, Rose! RUN for your life!” This is the main reason that I could never be a Time Lord. There’s no way I could take all the running and fleeing and basic “AIEEE!” I’m old, I’ve got bad knees…
Doctor Who #12
Writer: Tony Lee
Artist: Blair Shedd
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterist: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Previously, on Doctor Who: The last of the Time Lords, the Doctor travels space and time in the last remaining TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) righting wrongs and balancing the scales of good and evil. He has the ability to regenerate from seemingly fatal damages, but each regeneration leaves him a new man, with new habits and peccadilloes and a whole new face. In this incarnation, his 10th, the Doctor is a young-looking man with terrible hair, and love of the French language, and a tendency to brood a bit more than usual, while simultaneously experiencing outbreaks of joy and goofiness the likes of which haven’t been seen since his 4th life. In the recent past of this particular portion of his timeline, the Doctor spent some time in early 20th Century Hollywood (picking up two companions, Emily Winter (an aspiring actress whose dreams have been shattered) and Matthew Finnegan (who seems to be along to make sure Emily is okay.) With the alien known as The Advocate working against him, and a plot involving walking trees and clockwork angels, The Doctor has enough on his plate, but now the quasi-military group known as UNIT wants to take him into custody so that he won’t interfere with their plans to bomb the living crap out of their mutual foes…
Things are looking grim as we open our tale, with London in flames, aliens flying about blasting things with their death-rays, shouting ‘Resistance is futile…’ Meanwhile, The Doctor finds himself under military arrest by UNIT commander Brigadier Magambo, while the Advocate (a blue-skinned female with ill-intentions for the Doc) works with the Brig to stop the aliens with a bomb. The art of Blair Shedd is deceptibvely simple here, and the coloring adds to the overall effect, making this seem remarkably like a grown-up cartoon of Doctor Who, ala Justice League Unlimited. Martha Jones (former companion, and fabulous hair-haver) and Emily bust the Doctor out of his cell/broom closet just in time to realize that companion Matthew Finnegan has gone to be part of the bomb-delivery team. Martha, Emily and the UNIT soldiers take to the streets to fight the clockwork angels while the Doctor follows Matthew on board the alien ship. Fighty-fighty ensues, Matthew gets away, leaving the Doctor and the man who actually FREED the angels to find a way to stop them without ultra-violence.
The Advocate’s plan is a pretty clever one, having given Matthew a copy of what is purported to be the Journal of Vislor Turlough (a companion of the Fifth Doctor who initially was working for the Black Guardian to destroy the Doctor a couple of decades ago, back when MY doctor was in vogue) to sway him into distrust, and creating an even bigger wedge with the death of young Adric earlier in that same Doctor’s tenure. (Five bucks says writer Tony Lee and I are about the same age, and I’ll wager that #5 may be his favorite incarnation as well.) The Doctor saves the day, at the cost of the life of one not-so-innocent, and even flies back to earth using clockwork wings, a neat little visual that we couldn’t see in the show. (Or at least not one that the producers could do easily.) The Doctor leaves UNIT on bad terms, Martha on better ones, and is more than a bit stunned when Matthew reveals that he doesn’t trust him anymore and leaves to travel with the Advocate. Emily and the Doctor are left alone to travel the universe for the remainder of time they have left, but I suspect that it won’t end well…
Seeing as how we already know what happens to this incarnation (Time War thingy, Master with frap rays, falling from a jet, irradiated… Rasputin didn’t get it that bad…) and we’ve seen a fair bit of the next Doctor, it’s impressive to see how engaging these adventures have been. Tony Lee has the Tenth Doctor’s voice and mannerisms cold, and I can’t remember the last time I read this title and thought, “That doesn’t sound right…” Blair Shedd’s art is interesting, but keeps us in a realm realistic enough that the face of David Tennant is always recognizable, and even gets the complexities of the old TARDIS console room right, a difficult proposition in and of itself. If I have any complaint, it’s that the Doctor and Emily travelling alone have fallen once again into the pattern of impressionable young girl riding shotgun, possibly in love with the protagonist, while he does everything to impress her. It’s a pattern that I know ends up being changed at least somewhat with the Eleventh Doctor and Amelia, but I’d really want to see a Second Doctor/Jamie relationship or perhaps another Fifth Doctor/Tegan/Adric/Nyssa dynamic where there’s more than just two players in action. Still, it’s a minor concern, and really isn’t a complaint about this treatment of the character as it is the state of the BBC show itself. Doctor Who #12 is about to lead into the last Tenth Doctor story, but this has been a fun, fast-paced arc of quintessential Doctor, and earns 4 out of 5 stars overall.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Everybody has a favorite Doctor, but who is your favorite companion and why?