Showing posts with label Celestial Toymaker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celestial Toymaker. Show all posts

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor Christmas Special 2015

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor Christmas Special 2015
"Relative Dimensions"
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

George Mann and Cavan Scott dig deep into the Doctor Who archives for this Christmas-themed adventure which sees the Doctor lured to a Christmas party thrown by his grand-daughter, Susan Foreman. However, it soon transpires that this is a trap from one of the Doctor’s oldest and most powerful foes – the Celestial Toymaker, who debuted in the First Doctor adventure “The Celestial Toymaker”. Unfortunately, three of the four episodes are lost to the sands of times, but the fourth one was included in the “Lost in Time” DVD box set. The Toymaker has only made a single televised appearance, but the character has been used in expanded universe materials such as Doctor Who comics, novels and audio adventures, although this is his first time against the Twelfth Doctor. Much like the Great Intelligence’s reappearance in “The Snowmen”, it’s great to see these classic “lost” Doctor Who villains return to menace the character in a new era for the series.

Along with the reappearance of the Toymaker, Mann and Scott throw in some cameos from classic monsters and companions, giving the Christmas Special a real sense of history that rivals the wonderfully nostalgic “The Day of the Doctor”. Even though she only appears as bait to lure the Doctor into a trap, it would be fantastic to see the character of Susan Foreman explored more – although I guess this is a risky venture for the comic series as it may interfere with future plans in the television show. Perhaps a First Doctor adventure would be a way to explore the character deeper, without contradicting future continuity. Throughout its many comic series', Titan Comics have done a great job at respecting the essence of Doctor Who, and this issue certainly captures that quintessential Doctor Who Christmas Special feeling – minus the sensation of being stuffed up with Christmas Pud and wanting a nap afterwards!

Mariano Laclaustra does an incredibly festive job with the artwork, channelling the seasonal vibes onto the page. I particularly liked the experimental elements of the art – jumping in and out of photographs, or making use of a Snakes and Ladders board to tell the story. This certainly helped convey the unpredictable nature of the Celestial Toymaker’s Toyroom in the comic book format. At times it reminded me of the Land of Fiction from “The Mind Robber” with its fantasy setting and chaotic elements. I love the clarity that Laclaustra brings to his artwork, with wonderful line-work that captures the likenesses of its lead characters with ease. I was struck by how similar his style is to Rachael Stott, who will be taking over on the Twelfth Doctor series in the New Year – both of whom manage to bring the characters to life with a deceptive ease. Hopefully, we will see more of Laclaustra’s work in future Doctor Who stories.

Overall, this was a terrifically festive adventure in true Doctor Who style. Mann and Scott work well together as a writing team, bringing a clear love for the character and his lengthy history into their stories. While some of the more escapist elements of the story didn’t quite work for me, I loved the fact that a classic, and criminally under-used, Doctor Who villain got a chance to shine in the spotlight. My only other criticism was the length of the issue – given that it was a Christmas Special, it would have been nice to see an extended page count, or even an anthology of stories in the vein of those classic Christmas annuals! As it is, this was a brilliant way to kick off a new yearly tradition and I certainly hope that Titan Comics continue to bring out Christmas Specials in the years to come!

Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Holiday Special 2015 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the main series when you pick up your copy!
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