Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 7

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 7
"Official Secrets" - Part 2 (of 3)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Cris Bolson
Colours by: Marco Lesko

With giant Kaiju rampaging around Bristol and a trigger-happy Brigadier racing around with a psionic laser cannon, Cavan Scott manages to tap into that UNIT era with ease – although unlike Paul Cornell’s fabulous Third Doctor limited series, Scott has the opportunity to subvert those classic stories by introducing a modern element into the mix. It was a great tragedy that Nicholas Courtney died before his character could be featured on Doctor Who and this storyline attempts to right that wrong by having the Ninth Doctor encounter the Brig back in his heyday. As fun as it was to see Harry Sullivan interacting with the Ninth Doctor, Scott raises it another level with the inclusion of the Brigadier. Interestingly, there’s still a bit of friction between the Doctor and the Brigadier about the use of military action against alien threats, although it would be interesting to see if the Doctor’s experiences during the Time War would make him understand the Brigadier’s perspective some more. The actual plot of giant Kaiju appearing out of nowhere feels very reminiscent of the classic “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” serial, even down to their sudden disappearing act. Scott drip-feeds the reader with clues as to the true origin of these monsters, hinting that the captive Agent Yaxley is responsible although there is also the suggestion that Yaxley’s son may also be influencing things – which itself is reminiscent of the aborted Walt plot thread from LOST.

Cris Bolson once again takes over from Adriana Melo, and whilst the two artists share somewhat different art styles, he manages to maintain a level of consistency with Melo’s work in the first installment whilst remaining true to his own style. The pair worked well together in the previous storyline “The Transformed”, so it isn’t overly jarring to see them collaborate here. Bolson does a great job at creating tension in his artwork, especially with that awe-inspiring double page spread of a Kaiju coming out of the water to attack the Clifton Suspension Bridge. I was seriously impressed by the level of detail and the scale of the image – it was truly a thing of beauty and Bolson clearly put a lot of effort into that blockbuster moment. Cavan Scott has done a great job at striking the perfect balance between the old and the new, creating a distinctive story that is rich with nostalgia on two levels - nostalgia for the classic UNIT team and nostalgia for the Ninth Doctor, Jack and Rose. Not afraid to tear up the rulebook in order to tell a good story, Scott has had the Ninth Doctor interacting with characters he would never have been able to meet in the television show and has firmly entrenched that Season One cast of characters into the deeper mythology of the show. Back when Doctor Who relaunched itself in 2005, it was specifically designed to be as accessible as possible but now it has become increasingly trendy to revisit the past and make use of continuity – something that Scott does impeccably with this issue. Quite simply, you cannot call yourself a Doctor Who fan if you are not reading this series!

Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor # 7 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

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