Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 8

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 8
"Official Secrets" - Part 3 (of 3)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Adriana Melo
Colours by: Marco Lesko

This issue sees the conclusion to the Ninth Doctor’s sojourn to the seventies (or eighties) for a bit of old-school UNIT action, and Cavan Scott does a brilliant job at tying up the loose ends over the past few storylines whilst setting up potential avenues to explore regarding Jack Harkness’ missing memories. Scott’s script is a delicious blend of classic and modern Doctor Who, meshing the gung-ho espionage elements of the Third Doctor’s era with the more modern sensibilities of the 2005 relaunch. Shadowy organisations such as Albion were commonplace during this period of the show, and I was half-expecting The Master to be involved somewhere down the line underneath a rubber mask. As someone who has a great deal of fondness for the UNIT-era of the series, it’s great to see Scott revisit iconic characters such as the Brigadier, Benton and Harry Sullivan and maintain a strong degree of authenticity in their voices. The scene where the Brigadier notes how the Doctor has changed and become more militaristic in his behaviour is a nicely realised character moment, referencing the Time War and how much it has affected the Doctor. While she is only briefly featured in this storyline, UNIT nurse Tara Mishra seems like a fascinating character and I’m very happy to see that she’ll be joining the TARDIS team in the future – I love the idea of characters from different time-zones travelling as companions and can’t wait to see the interactions between her, Rose and Jack.

Adriana Melo returns to art duties for this issue, and reminds me why I have fallen in love with her artwork. She has a great artistic style, which is made even better by Marco Lesko’s superb colouring. In an issue that features plenty of real-life likenesses from actors and actresses from the TV show, Melo manages to convey the essence of each character perfectly without needing to produce carbon-copies of the actor on the page. I also love the way she includes Manga-esque emotions in some of her panels, removing some of the finer details to showcase a more simplistic grin. It’s a wonderfully effective technique and one that further endears her work to me. Clearly, Melo is having a great time drawing these issues as there’s a lovely sense of joy to her artwork that radiates off the page. That sense of fun is also present in Scott’s writing as he continues to put the Ninth Doctor in strange and unusual circumstances, making the most of the unlimited possibilities that comes from writing for comics. There’s a chaotic energy to the Ninth Doctor series that is so infectious and really sets this series apart from the others produced by Titan Comics. Readers who may be put off by tales from past Doctors should really give the series a chance as Cavan Scott is creating some of the most imaginative and exciting Doctor Who stories in recent memory. Overall, this issue was a great conclusion to a solid story-arc, filled with plenty of promise that more fantastic adventures will follow soon.

Score - 9.7 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor # 8 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

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