Showing posts with label Comic Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comic Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14
"Invasion of the Mindmorphs" (Part 1 of 2)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Rod Fernandes

In a stark contrast to the high-stakes and cataclysmic endings seen in the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor series, Robbie Morrison opts for a surprisingly subdued and emotional two-parter for his Year Two finale - one that sees the Doctor playing matchmaker as he befriends two comic-book creators. The duo produce the Time Surgeon comic, a Doctor Who-inspired series that takes elements from the character’s lore and jumbles them together to produce an amusing parody of the real Doctor. It gets a bit Meta – a Doctor Who comic within a Doctor Who comic – but it is a fun insight into how normal people must deal with the urban myth of the Doctor. This isn’t the first time Morrison has tinkered with the idea, as he featured the Time Surgeon comic during his previous foray into meta-based storytelling, “The Fourth Wall”. In an effort to ‘get the story right’, the Doctor takes the bickering creators on a tour through time and space, introducing them to prehistoric dinosaurs and bizarre new worlds. It’s fun to see the pair gradually falling in love with each other, similar to how Ian and Barbara eventually became a couple after travelling together.

Rachael Stott returns to the series for its two-part season finale, and her artwork suits the more emotion-driven narrative of this adventure. Stott has a knack for channelling Peter Capaldi’s mannerisms onto the page, especially the maniacal glee with which he throws himself into adventures. I also liked her work on the opening pages of the Time Surgeon comic, creating a version of the Twelfth Doctor cobbled together from the rumours of others. Obviously, the fictional artist took the ‘punk rock’ aspect of the Twelfth Doctor’s personality a tad too literally as the Time Lord has a Mohawk, earrings and a neck tattoo. I also liked Stott’s take on the Master, known as the Minister in this fictional universe, and I would love to see her working on a Third Doctor series one day in the future.

This penultimate episode of the Twelfth Doctor’s second year of adventures offers a refreshingly different take on the ‘season finale’ with a relatively laid-back storyline that is a departure from the apocalyptic events of last year’s “The Hyperion Empire”. This story feels like a Christmas Special, minus all the seasonal trimmings that comes with that annual event, and it’s great to see Morrison focus squarely on the effect that the Doctor has on others, and their perception of him.

Score - 9.3 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 9

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 9
"Slaver's Song" - Part 1 (of 2)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Adriana Melo
Colours by: Marco Lesko

This issue of the Ninth Doctor comic series is different from previous instalments, in that series artist Adriana Melo helped plot the story alongside regular writer Cavan Scott. The story, which sees the Doctor travel back in time to 17th century Brazil to encounter slave traders and mystical water monsters. As a Brazilian herself, Melo adds a level of authenticity to the tale in the same way that Scott did when he featured his hometown of Bristol heavily in his UNIT arc. It’s great to see the Doctor thrust into different cultures and time zones, especially ones like this which are seldom explored in contemporary fiction. Against this Brazilian backdrop, Scott finally delves into the mysteries surrounding Jack Harkness’ missing memories, picking up a plot thread undeveloped from the TV series itself. The Brazilian jungle is an environment rich for storytelling, and both Scott and Melo capitalise on its potential with this fun adventure.

I’m a huge fan of Adriana Melo’s art on this title, and the energetic tone she brings to the series. It’s clear that she enjoys being part of the Doctor Who universe – an enthusiasm that is also seen in Tara Mishra’s own joy at being part of the TARDIS team. I love the way Melo captures the huge grin on Tara’s face as she walks within the jungle, and she also nails Rose’s jealousy in a way that very reminiscent of her behaviour in “School Reunion” when she discovers that the Doctor used to travel with Sarah-Jane Smith. I absolutely adore her interpretation of the main cast of characters, each of which emphasise the core qualities of the actors who portray them. Her take on Billie Piper is my favourite, bringing much of the character’s personality out onto the page. I also love the design of her monsters, especially the mermaid-inspired beauty who comes to the Doctor’s aid in the final pages.

Overall, this was a strong opening instalment to a fantastic storyline – one that could never be seen on television due to budget constraints. The infectious joy of both creators is more than evident and sure to raise a smile on the reader’s face. This series is fast becoming my favourite Doctor Who series from Titan Comics, taking the character off on unexpected journeys through time and space, and with a new companion in tow, things are looking all the more exciting and unpredictable.

Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor # 9 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 3 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Hernan Cabrera

The Twelfth Doctor’s sojourn into 17th Century France comes to a close in this issue as he finds himself up against creatures from the dark dimension attempting to use a total eclipse to gain entry into our world. While the plot is fairly straight-forward, the interplay between the Doctor and his latest temporary companion, Julie d’Aubigny, sparkles throughout the issue. Robbie Morrison weaves his story of dark matter creatures invading the Earth nicely around the real-life historical figures of La Maupin, Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV. I am a fan of this swashbuckling era and The Three Musketeers so it was great fun to see the Doctor running around in this era – while most writers would have gone for the musketeers as supporting characters, Morrison instead features d’Aubigny – a lesser-known but absolutely fascinating figure. The monsters at the heart of this storyline felt slightly underdeveloped, evoking memories of Nashta Verada and Morrison’s own creation – The Fractures. That said, they were brought to life on the page in brilliant fashion by Mariano Laclaustra with some truly haunting images, like the one below.

Laclaustra’s work on this story-arc, and this volume, has been absolutely out of this world, both figuratively and literally. It is always a pleasure to see an immense talent at work and Laclaustra is certainly that. I have to marvel at his ability able to recreate 17th Century France in intricate detail, transporting the reader there with a strong sense of authenticity. I’m a sucker for the historical stories in Doctor Who’s repertoire, and this creative team does a brilliant job at achieving the right balance of fact and fiction, educating whilst entertaining – which was Doctor Who’s original remit back in the early 1960s. I also like this concept of introducing temporary one-off companions to accompany the Doctor ahead of his Season Ten appearance later this year as it has allowed the writer’s to introduce some fun alternate takes on the female companion – making use of both the past and future to find potential candidates. Overall, this was a fun swashbuckler of a story-arc and I loved seeing the Doctor getting into sword fights and rubbing shoulders with iconic French historical figures. I wholeheartedly recommend this storyline to fans who loved Season Eight’sRobots of Sherwood” as it achieves that same balance of humour, action and history.

Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1
Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: INJ Culbard
Colours by: Triona Farrell

Rob Williams launches the third year of the Eleventh Doctor series with a bang, cramming plenty of action and adventure into a single issue as his script runs through the full gamut of emotions. Starting off with satirical comedy as multiple clones of Nigel Farage sprouting the familiar-sounding mantra of “Britzit” in a manner not entirely dissimilar to the Daleks, Williams then hits a more sombre note as he addresses David Bowie’s untimely death through the reintroduction of his in-universe analogue, Jones. Now that the long-form storytelling and operatic plotline of Year Two has come to a conclusion, Williams has the opportunity to reference current events through the prism of Doctor Who. The sequence set in a ‘post-Britzit’ London is hilarious, especially with the Boris Johnson cameo at the end – and while the sequence is a nice nod towards the political upsets of 2016, it also serves to showcase Alice’s increased confidence in her role as companion - something which may become a crucial part of this third year of stories.

After wowing the audience with his Time War sequences during the Year Two storyline, INJ Culbard returns to play in the Eleventh Doctor’s sandbox instead. His artwork suits the frenetic action of the series perfectly and I love his interpretation of Alice and the Doctor. I’ve been a fan of his work on 2000AD with series such as Brass Sun and Brink, where he conjures up some truly imaginative worlds that leap off of the page. I’m really looking forward to seeing Culbard’s world-building in this series as Williams takes the Doctor off on a journey through time and space. Another element I’d almost forgotten, which is ironic given the subject matter, was the surprise appearance of a familiar villain on the final page. I won’t spoil their identity, but it is a modern Doctor Who monster whose appearance here predates their debut in the series proper. Given this particular monster’s skillset, I am very interesting to see how Williams utilises them in the upcoming storyline. While I loved the dense novelistic storytelling of the second year of adventures, it seems that this third year will adopt a more accessible approach to storytelling that won’t require a flow chart to follow!

Overall, this was a very promising start to the third year of adventures, making use of topical jokes to catch up on real-world events and introducing a popular foe ahead of their initial televised appearance. Rob Williams and INJ Culbard have both proven themselves to be consummate storytellers, and I look forward to seeing what adventures they have in store for the Doctor over the next year…

Score - 9.7 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1
"Breakfast at Tyranny's" - Part 1 (of 2)
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Art by: Valeria Favoccia & Giorgia Sposito
Colours by: Hi-Fi & Arianna Florean

Nick Abadzis kicks off his third volume of Tenth Doctor stories with a bang, shaking up the status-quo by thrusting his lead characters in an alternate life. In a similar vein to The Matrix, The Doctor, Gabby and Cindy are wired into a virtual construct whilst their real bodies are held captive elsewhere. Abadzis’ script certainly raises plenty of questions and it is great fun to see the Doctor out of his depth and suffering from amnesia on the streets of New York. While there are some echoes of the “Arena of Fear” story-arc from the previous volume, Abadzis manages to keep the reader enthralled by introducing some surprising developments to his cast. The most notable change is seeing Cindy in a romantic relationship with Cleo, especially since the character had been portrayed as heterosexual. That said, there were some subtle hints of her sexuality mentioned in the final issues of Year Two. I’m intrigued to see how this plays out once Cindy finds herself out of the virtual world. Most of this first issue is focused on establishing this new reality, but Abadzis teases some answers behind the mystery at the end of this storyline. I have two theories as to who is behind this attack on the Doctor, given the abundance of Cindy ‘clones’ found in the real world, I suspect that it is either the Zygons or the Autons attempting to replicate our heroes whilst placing them in a form of stasis.

This issue sees the introduction of a new artist to the series as Valeria Favoccia joins the team, handling the Doctor’s sequences in the virtual world. I really like Favoccia’s take on the Doctor, portraying him in a dishevelled manner to fit alongside his new role as the homeless “Smithy”. While her art style differs from previous regular artists, Elena Casagrande and Giorgia Sposito, it still fits nicely with the series’ more light-hearted tone. Giorgia Sposito remains with the series, concentrating on the sequences with the two girls and filling the issue with her usual brand of gorgeous artwork and clear storytelling. Another addition to the crew, but on a fictional note, is Noobis – the new “rebooted” version of Anubis, who possesses a more innocent soul now that every trace of his father Sutekh has been removed from his personality. While he doesn’t get an opportunity to shine in this issue, his inclusion in the TARDIS team should provide a different tone for this third year of stories. After a prolonged conclusion to the Osirian storyline that closed out the second volume, it is refreshing to see the creative team tackling a brand-new story arc and the added mystery over the new status-quo will have readers gripped.

Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor (Vol. 3) # 1 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 4 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 4 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 4 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

After the shocking reveal that Ramon Salamander had appropriated the Second Doctor’s likeness in an effort to infiltrate UNIT, Paul Cornell uses the opening half of this fourth issue to fill in the blanks between adventures, providing a robust explanation for how the Second Doctor’s doppelganger survived his spell in the time-stream and somehow ended up in the 1970s alongside the Third Doctor. I loved that Cornell made use of aspects from “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” to root Salamander’s survival in fact, making it a credible addition to canon. Having him spy on the Doctor and learn more about regeneration and the Time Lords throughout “The Three Doctors” was another inspired decision, smoothing over any concerns about continuity. Cornell also drops hints about Mike Yates’ eventual betrayal in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”, setting up subplots for stories that took place forty-three years ago. This effort to recreate the Third Doctor’s era also extends to the characterisation of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and Roger Delgado’s Master, both of whom are brought together as ‘frenemies’ to fight against Salamander, accurately portraying the unique relationship between the two Time Lords.

This fourth issue continues to boast simply fantastic artwork from Christopher Jones, who manages to capture the nostalgia of the time period with his brilliantly detailed line work and photo-realistic interpretations of the main cast. The main highlight for me is the awe-inspiring double page spread that showcases the Doctor, the Master and the Brig engaging in combat with one of Salamander’s deadly machines. It’s simply stunning and executed perfectly. Jones adds some awesome visual flourishes into his artwork that heighten the connection to the Third Doctor’s era, such as using the red kaleidoscope background from the title sequence to depict the time vortex. This attention to detail extends to the 70s style grey warehouses and computers, which appear ripped straight from the screen and onto the page. Fans of the UNIT-era of Doctor Who will rejoice with joy at this carefully crafted slice of retrotastic awesomeness. Cornell and Jones manage to take all the best aspects of the Third Doctor’s tenure in the TARDIS and mix them together to produce the ultimate love letter to the Doctor’s time exiled on Earth.

Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Review - Torchwood # 4

Torchwood # 4
"World Without End" - Part 4 (of 4)
Written by: John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman
Art by: Antonio Fuso & Pasquale Qualano
Colours by: Marco Lusko

With the final issue of its first volume, the Torchwood comic finally aligns its seemingly disparate plot threads into something of a linear fashion. As a result, the narrative feels a lot smoother and concentrated on a singular storyline as opposed to the scattered approach seen in previous issues. In fact, re-reading the four issues of this volume in one go heavily reduces the staccato feel to the plot, and almost makes the awkward pacing bearable – clearly John and Carole Barrowman are writing for the trade paperback, which makes the individual issues frustrating at times. Despite its confusing narrative style, there is a really interesting story at the heart of this comic which makes it worthwhile preserving with the pacing. While some aspects of the plot are made clearer in this final installment of the volume – there are plenty of mysteries that are carried over such as what is going on with Rona the stowaway. While this issue shows definite improvements, it still doesn't feel like the Torchwood that fans may remember. That said, I am happy to see the Torchwood narrative move forward as many spin-off stories seem to revolve around the original team line-up from Seasons One and Two. There just needs to be more work on developing the new supporting cast-members into likeable characters.

The art continues to be handled by Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano, who manage to maintain a level of consistency between their differing art styles. At times it is noticeable when the two artists pass the baton to each other, but it isn't too disorientating – although, I do wonder why the series requires two artists on each issue. Fuso and Qualano do a great job at communicating that 'black-ops' tone that Torchwood fans will remember from the series, with an added nautical element that the Ice Maiden provides. There is definitely a darker feel to the art on this series compared to the various Doctor Who comic series, mirroring the more mature tone that Torchwood had in its televised form. I must admit that I'm not overly keen on restarting the series after four issues to signify a new story-arc, especially since the next story-arc seems to be a direct continuation to this one. With the Doctor Who comic series it makes sense as each 'year' is treated like a season of the television show, but here it doesn't make sense. Given the improvements to this series since its first issue, I am hopeful that when Torchwood returns with its “Station Zero” storyline that it will be adopting a more streamlined narrative that befits the monthly comic-book format. Despite all the problems, I am enjoying this series and am curious to find out more about the mysteries teased.

Score - 8.0 out of 10

Torchwood # 4 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 15

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 15
"Physician, Heal Thyself"
Written by: Si Spurrier & Rob Williams
Art by: Simon Fraser
Colours by: Gary Caldwell

There's a huge amount of satisfaction to this issue as writers Si Spurrier and Rob Williams wrap up their sprawling fifteen-issue epic with a healthy dose of timey-wimey goodness and some brilliant narrative gymnastics. There's no denying that this has been a densely plotted and sometimes confusing journey for both the Doctor and the reader to follow, but Spurrier and Williams do their best to pull back the curtain and explain the inner-workings of this time-loop of an adventure. There are some grey areas that I was unsure of, and I think the whole fifteen-issue saga would definitely benefit from a re-read with the added foresight of knowing the ending in advance. While this novel-style approach to the storytelling has resulted in a fantastically well-plotted adventure rife with lots of intricate details and wonderful narrative loops, it has also been very tough to keep up with at times, especially in monthly installments. I've really enjoyed this long-form approach to telling a Doctor Who comic story, and it reminds me of how Season Six revolved around River Song's back-story with most of the episode's tying into her origins and the apparent death of the Doctor at Lake Silencio. This was one of the most intellectually-demanding and time-bending Doctor Who stories I've ever encountered and I applaud both Mr. Spurrier and Mr. Williams for pulling it off with such self-assured confidence.

To say that I'm a fan of Simon Fraser's artwork would be an understatement, I love the raw emotion that he infuses into his panel and I've followed his work since the early days of Nikolai Dante in 2000AD. Echoes of his work on that strip can be seen in his panels for this issue, particularly the blood-red rage of Abslom Daak as he unleashes his pent-up anger on the Squire. Fraser's work on the Abslom Daak sequences of this issue were absolutely brilliant and a worthy tribute to the character's co-creator, Steve Dillon, who passed away in October. I'm very glad that Daak got his happy ending – and only he would see banishment to a time-locked Time War infested with Daleks as a happy ending! Fraser's artwork was such a natural pairing for Abslom Daak that I would love to see him working on an Abslom Daak mini-series set during the Time War - come on, Titan Comics, you can make this happen!

Overall, this was a solid conclusion to a year's worth of spectacular stories, tying up the loose ends in true Doctor Who hyper-exposition fashion. Spurrier and Williams should definitely take a bow after fifteen issues of the most well-choreographed scripting that I've ever seen in a comic. It is truly a talent to keep track of all those loose plot threads over fifteen issues whilst ensuring that the story remains engaging, coherent and above all else, fun. I'm looking forward to seeing what Year Three brings the Eleventh Doctor under this extremely capable creative team.

Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor (Vol. 2) # 15 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 17

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 17
"Old Girl: War of Gods" - Part 5 (of 5)
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Art by: Giorgia Sposito
Colours by: Hi-Fi

After an additional two issues added to the Tenth Doctor's second year of comic-book adventures, we finally reach the 'season finale' which addresses many of the plot threads that have been prevalent in the series since the Year One finale. With Sutekh increasing in power now that he has escaped from the void, the Doctor and his companions find themselves on the back foot as they attempt to discover a way to banish him back to the netherworld. Despite the high stakes involved in this storyline, Nick Abadzis continues to focus on his characters and the impact that events have on their relationship. There's a noble sacrifice at the end of this chapter that serves to remind the Doctor how his actions often leads others to their deaths, and while the character in question was a fun addition to the cast – her absence has little impact on the series, and in some ways, it was almost expected. It was also enjoyable to see Abadzis focus on the relationship between Gabby and Cindy, and how travelling with the Doctor has changed them both in dramatic ways. This is one of my favourite aspects of Abadzis' scripts and I hope Year Three will continue to develop these characters in unexpected ways.

Giorgia Sposito continues to provide some top-notch artwork for this final issue of the volume, making use of huge double-page spreads to emphasise the importance of these epic set-pieces. Sposito has done a fantastic job at carrying this series throughout the past year or so, working alongside a bevy of other artists to establish a strong sense of continuity in the artwork. There's a light-hearted mood to her artwork that suits the Tenth Doctor's era perfectly, and I love how she manages to capture that sense of wonder in all of the alien locales that she brings to life on the page. Overall, this has been a strong year of adventures for the Tenth Doctor and one that has seen series writer Nick Abadzis adopt a more serialised approach to the story-telling with the Osirian subplot bubbling away in the background throughout the majority of the issues. Personally, I was hoping that this season finale would spell the end of the Anubis / Sutekh storyline, but the blurb for Year Three seems to suggest that the memory-wiped “Noobis” will be joining the Doctor on his travels. While I welcome the addition of a different type of companion to the TARDIS, I do hope Abadzis is able to keep the same balance of shorter one-off adventures and more 'mythology'-based storylines that he maintained throughout this year.

Score - 8.9 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 17 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 series when you pick up your copy!

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.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review - Torchwood # 3

Torchwood # 3
"World Without End" - Part 3 (of 4)
Written by: John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman
Art by: Antonio Fuso & Pasquale Qualano
Colours by: Marco Lusko

This penultimate issue of Torchwood’s first volume suffers from many of the same problems that has plagued this series from the beginning – namely, the pacing. Having read most of Carole and John Barrowman’s book, “Exodus Code” – which this comic follows on from – I can see a lot of their novel writing style here in their comic book scripts, and unfortunately the two techniques don’t flow together well. In novel format, the constant scene changes adds an intriguing sense of pace with chapters dedicated to specific plot threads that come together to form a larger narrative – however, in a monthly comic book, it comes across as a muddied story with too much going on at once. I have to applaud the Barrowmans for creating multiple, engaging mysteries but it can be frustrating when the various storylines cannibalise each other for dominance in the issue. The main focal point of the issue should be on Captain Jack Harkness and the crew of the Ice Maiden, but they seem relegated to the back-burner in this issue for a focus on the events unfolding in Torchwood House and with Captain James. Rather annoyingly, both of those alternate story-arcs end with mysterious figures that aren’t revealed to the reader – it’s this staccato approach to the storytelling which weakens what could have been a thrilling adventure.

The art from Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano remains top-notch and despite the differences in style between the two artists, they are relatively compatible as they work together to produce the issue. Both artists make use thick dark lines, which helps emphasise the grittier tone of Torchwood compared to the more fairy-tale nature of Doctor Who. Fuso and Qualano manage to capture that “black ops” feel to the series, especially in the scenes set aboard the Ice Maiden – you can almost imagine the salty sea air and the rusting metal of the cabins when reading the page. The likenesses, whilst not photo-realistic, manage to evoke memories of Eve Myles and John Barrowman’s performances and unsurprisingly, Barrowman knows how to write Jack Harkness to a tee, having lived inside the characters head for over a decade through the various television and audio adventures. While this series does have its flaws, the compelling mysteries at the heart of the story ensure that it is worth persevering with the clunky narrative – after three issues, the story is becoming clearer and easier to follow as the three distinct storylines begin to coalesce. With one episode left, it seems highly likely that this will end up being a prelude to the next volume of adventures, and I think when it is all collected in graphic novel format, it’ll be a lot more coherent and enjoyable for Torchwood fans to get to grips with.

Score - 7.8 out of 10

Torchwood # 3 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 2 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

The Twelfth Doctor's adventures in 17th century France continue as he and new companion, Julie D'Aubigny, attempt to find out more about the sinister darkness consuming the high ranking officials in King Louis XIV's court. Robbie Morrison taps into a period of history that I was largely unfamiliar with, and creates a story so enthralling that it makes me hit Wikipedia to find out more about these real-life figures. If only my history teacher could have made learning this fun! My only experience with this era in French history is the equally fictional The Three Muskeeteers by Alexandre Dumas, and it's great fun to see the Doctor embroiled in this period of swashbuckling adventure, accompanied by a feisty female protagonist. Morrison does a great job at delivering the necessary exposition to explain how Cardinal Richelieu has tapped into the inter-dimensional energy that has extended his life beyond his original date of death – it never feels forced and flows naturally alongside the plot. Once again, Mariano Laclaustra switches art styles to depict the flashbacks, bringing an interesting 'sketchbook' narrative into play that helps distinguish the past from the present and injects a palpable feeling of 'storytelling' to events.

Laclaustra's artwork is simply breathtaking throughout this storyline, and every panel is rich with atmosphere, conjuring up the darkness and suspicion of the era. Even in the quieter moments within the TARDIS, Laclaustra experiments with his artwork adding visual effects such as blurring to remove the focus from the foreground when the Doctor and Julie examine the sliver of dark matter. Laclaustra does a great job with the interior of the TARDIS, using various light filters to exaggerate the gadgetry and illuminous nature of the time machine. It's a great juxtaposition to witness his artwork transition between these futuristic settings into the low-tech world of 17th Century Paris. His likeness of the Doctor is staggeringly realistic, and partnered with Morrison's authentic dialogue – this is the perfect antidote for those Doctor Who withdrawals since last Christmas. I'm a huge fan of the historical storylines in the Doctor Who universe, and I really admire the talent of writers who are able to weave a thrilling adventure in amongst the established lore of the time period. If you've been curious what the Doctor has been up to throughout 2016 whilst he has been off our TV screens, then this is the place to go to find out. Absolutely top-notch storytelling and one of those tales that you'd swear you'd seen on the TV before.

Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 3 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 3 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 3 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

Wow, I did not see that coming at all. Paul Cornell demonstrates his capacity to surprise as he reaches deep into Doctor Who's history for an obscure slice of continuity, revealing the architect of the Third Doctor's troubles to be Ramon Salamander – the Second Doctor's doppelganger from the serial, “The Enemy of the World”. It's a brilliantly bold choice of villain, and a lovely way to fool the readers into expecting a “The Three Doctors” reunion, but instead getting the return of Salamander instead. However, Salamander's appearance certainly leaves us with plenty of unanswered questions, such as how did he survive being expelled into the Time Vortex, and how does he know about the Second Doctor and the Time Lords? I'm sure Cornell will provide us with these much-needed answers in the remaining issues of the miniseries. Throughout the adventure, Cornell's script remains utterly authentic to the era – capturing the vocal stylings of all the main characters with ease, so much so that you can actually hear the likes of Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney and Roger Delgado reading the lines out loud in your head. With most of the cast from this era no longer with us, it is particularly special to be able to experience this 'untold story' with them.

Christopher Jones' amazing artwork is the perfect accompaniment to Paul Cornell's pitch-perfect recreation of the Third Doctor's era. Jones manages to evoke memories of that classic period in Doctor Who history with his startlingly accurate renderings of the various actors from that era. His take on Roger Delgado is simply amazing – capturing his micro-expressions and body language alongside his actual likeness. I'm a huge fan of the rivalry between his incarnation of the Master and Jon Pertwee's Doctor, so its great to see a double-page spread dedicated to the Doctor and the Master as they engage in a bit of Venusian Aikido, Martian Kendo and Mercurian Kung Fu. This miniseries is a wonderful trip down memory lane for fans of the Third Doctor era, and while Cavan Scott has been exploring this time period in his brilliant Ninth Doctor series, Cornell and Jones nail that real sense of nostalgia in a much more effective manner with their flawless blend of art and script. Throwing Salamander into the mix just sends this series up into the stratosphere – it has the perfect mix of UNIT espionage, classic monsters and flamboyant arch-villains. Three issues in, and this series has achieved 'Ten out of Ten' scores with every installment. This is the closest thing to perfection to come out of Titan Comics' Doctor Who line so far! No need to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow with this one, Doctor...

Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 16

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 16
"Old Girl: War of Gods" - Part 4 (of 5)
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Art by: Giorgia Sposito
Colours by: Hi-Fi

Nick Abadzis makes sure that the ‘drama dial is turned up to eleven’ on this penultimate issue of the Tenth Doctor’s second year of stories. With Sutekh free from his imprisonment in the void, he quickly puts the Doctor and his allies on the back foot as he begins his plans to take over the universe. Abadzis addresses one of the recurring plot threads of this ‘season’ by having the King Nocturne return to plague Cindy – a particularly heartless moment as he taunts her over her dead lover – only to have him destroyed at the hands of Sutekh. While this provides some resolution to the Nocturnes story-arc, it also provides a demonstration of Sutekh’s immense power. My only criticism is how ineffectual the Doctor seems in this episode as he fails to prevent Sutekh’s ascension and has to be saved countless times by his companions. I do like how Abadzis have developed both Gabby and Cindy into capable adventurers, with their own strengths and independence, but this also means the Doctor is diminished at times - much like how Clara’s “impossible girl” act reduced the Eleventh Doctor’s role at times.

The artwork from Giorgia Sposito remains as flawless as ever, lending a real mystical quality that befits the storyline. Her interpretation of Anubis and Sutekh is brilliant, adding a touch of regal elegance to the horse-faced Osirian ‘gods’ as they unleash disaster upon the universe. There’s even a nifty nod back to the “Pyramids of Mars” serial that allows Sposito to showcase her version of the Fourth Doctor and Sarah-Jane Smith. Based on this quick peek, I’d love to see her tackle the character on a more prolonged basis – perhaps for another miniseries one day in the future? Despite the epic nature of Abadzis’ scripting, Sposito’s art shines through with clear, concise storytelling that helps with the more complicated elements of the storyline. I love the way that Sposito captures the tone of Abadzis’ script, bringing to life on the page without fault and maintaining the fine balance between light and darkness, even when things seem at their most dire. Abadzis and Sposito have done a damn fine job at establishing excitement and dramatic tension for the final installment of “Old Girl” – although I do hope that the Doctor will have a more active role in resolving the threat. Hopefully the conclusion of this storyline will close the book on the Anubis / Osirian storyline so that Abadzis can focus on the goings-on with Ancient Gallifrey and the Untempered Schism.

Score - 9.1 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 16 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 series when you pick up your copy!

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.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 5 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Even though it was obvious that this series would need to hit the reset button to restore events to normal, Cavan Scott and George Mann manage to make this final chapter engaging and utterly thrilling throughout. Focused firmly on the Twelfth Doctor and Rassilon, this issue sees these two characters working together to use the Cybermen’s Cyberiad against them and restore the original timeline, thus undoing the death and destruction caused by the Cybermen. The grandiose nature of this reset button feels very Russell T. Davies in nature, mirroring similar unlikely deus-ex-machinas seen in previous season finales “Last of the Time Lords” and “Journey’s End”. Sure, it gets a bit timey-wimey and convenient, but the sheer emotional impact of the moment ensures that the somewhat shaky logic of the reboot is overlooked. The epilogue, which shows the Twelfth Doctor maintaining memories of the death and destruction, is rather poignant and reminds me of “Heaven Sent” and the internal and private torment that the Doctor carries about inside of him. Even though the events of this miniseries are undone by the end, it leaves an indelible mark on Gallifrey’s rebel time-lord.

With the heavy focus on the Twelfth Doctor story segments, Ivan Rodriguez handles the reins for this final issue and his art style is perfect for the dark and bleak future that the Cybermen have created. He puts in an incredible amount of detail and emotion into the panels where the Doctor is becoming incorporated into the Cyberiad, particularly the Tenth Doctor’s conversion into the Cyber-king, which is quite chilling to see. It’s quite unnerving to see the Doctor broken and beaten across these various timelines, so once the reset occurs, it is a relief to see the Cybermen’s work being undone across a series of panels spanning multiple timelines. Overall, this has been a great little miniseries which took the concept of a multi-Doctor storyline but added the unique twist of keeping each incarnation of the Doctor separate and encountering the same threat. While some readers might be angry that the story hinged on a ‘cosmic reset’, it should be noted that many televised Doctor Who stories do the same, so it’s not unfamiliar territory for the franchise.

Scott and Mann definitely should be applauded for creating a brilliant adventure that ties deeply into the events of “Hell Bent” and providing a worthy ‘sequel’ to that chapter. I’m sure it was tremendous fun for the writers to unleash the Cybermen against all the different eras of the Doctor, and part of me was disappointed that we didn’t see more from the first eight Doctors in this storyline, although given the limited space available, it makes total sense why the comic was restricted to the most recent four. With the bar set so high for its Doctor Who event series, Titan Comics will have a hard time beating “Four Doctors” and “Supremacy of the Cybermen” next year!

Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 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 mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 1 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

While I love the science-fiction and interplanetary adventures commonly seen in Doctor Who, I also have a soft spot for the historical fantasy epics that the series occasionally delves into, so it was particularly exciting for me to see this latest Twelfth Doctor adventure delving into 17th Century France for a bit of a swash-buckle. Making use of real-life historical figures from the era, Robbie Morrison crafts an authentic historic tale that feels like quintessential Alexandre Dumas, but with the addition of shadowy creatures that reduce men to bones. That’s what The Three Musketeers was missing all this time! Morrison takes his time to establish the time period and the threat facing the Doctor, before delving into the history of his new companion. Even though the Doctor only appears in the final few pages, Morrison makes this an immensely readable tale with a charismatic leading lady in Julie d'Aubigny aka La Maupin. I have to confess I was ignorant of La Maupin and her role in 17th Century France, but Morrison’s flashback sequence and the brief biography in the back pages helped get me up to date, and actually taught me something about history – which ironically was part of the initial remit of Doctor Who.

After wowing me with the three-part storyline “The Twist” earlier in the year, the dream-team of Mariano Laclaustra and Carlos Cabrera return for another story-arc, bringing their beautiful vision of 17th Century Paris to life onto the page. Laclaustra’s art is simply amazing and the colours by Cabrera just bring out the very best in his work – as with their work on “The Twist”, the background scenery is so evocative and immersive. The pair are fantastic at conveying the horror of the situation too, from the creepy opening sequence in Notre Dame Cathedral to the unnerving moment when La Maupin sticks her blade into Captain Verlock and he pulls it out of his chest, revealing his possession. Part of me wonders whether the creatures lurking in the shadows and inside the bodies of the Cabinet Noir are related to the Nashta Verada from “Silence in the Library” or perhaps the Fractures from Morrison’s earlier Twelfth Doctor storyline “The Fractures”. The creative team do an absolutely fantastic job at cultivating the tone and mood to this storyline and as with Morrison’s work on “The Weeping Angels of Mons”, it feels like a historical serial that should have appeared in the show itself. It’s a great idea, wonderfully atmospheric and perfectly scripted. This is how you do a Doctor Who historical storyline, no doubt about it!

Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14
"Gently Pulls the Strings"
Written by: Si Spurrier
Art by: Simon Fraser
Colours by: Gary Caldwell

Things get bloody and brutal with this penultimate issue of the Eleventh Doctor’s second year of stories as Si Spurrier returns to writing duties alongside Simon Fraser’s gorgeous artwork. Not content with the cliff-hanger ending which saw Absalom Daak shot in the back by a Dalek-infested Squire, Spurrier repeats the trick by having the self-proclaimed Dalek Killer shot again in the mid-riff. Simon Fraser’s artwork really emphasises the brutality of this sequence, much like with his work in the absolutely epic Nikolai Dante for 2000AD. Despite the apparent fatal injuries, I suspect that Daak might pull through this one as one panel shows the Doctor tinkering with one of the medical machines whilst the Squire-Dalek isn’t looking. I’m guessing that once they left the TARDIS, Daak was placed into medical stasis alongside River Song. The carnage doesn’t end there as Squire-Dalek summons the Malignant and begins to wipe out the Overcaste in an attempt to usher in a new era of Dalek supremacy with the Volatix Cabal. Things look pretty damn dire and Spurrier does a fantastic job at tying the entire year-long arc together as his antagonist fills in the blanks from the past few issues.

Fraser’s artwork is absolutely fantastic at crafting a grim, downbeat atmosphere and that talent is put to great use in this chapter of the story as the Doctor and Alice face death and defeat. I love the way that Fraser captures the manner in which the Squire’s body is reacting to the Dalek buried underneath her flesh as recognisable elements of the creature poke themselves out of her face. It’s a truly horrific image – way scarier than the Human/Dalek hybrids introduced in “Asylum of the Daleks” and Fraser’s artwork communicates the gruesome nature of such a creation. My favourite panel is where the Squire’s mouth is wide open – red raw at the edges – to reveal the familiar trim of the Dalek’s “neck”. It’s the closest that Titan Comics have ever gotten to showing a Dalek on-panel, and while I’m not sure why the comic has restricted its appearances of the infamous monsters, the restraint certainly paid off as it ensured that the reveal of the Squire-Dalek was something truly horrendous. Fraser’s artwork has a haunting quality to it, and ensures that this epic conclusion with linger in the minds of its readers for some time to come.

Even though the central mystery has been revealed, Spurrier and Fraser managed to keep the penultimate episode of this year-long story arc wholly engaging and filled to the brim with tension and horror. This has been a wonderful display of densely plotted comic-book narrative, masterfully telling the story across fifteen issues with twists and turns aplenty. This isn’t just a great Doctor Who story, it’s a great story period - do yourself a favour and pick up the trade-paperbacks.

Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review - Torchwood # 2

Torchwood # 2
"World Without End" - Part 2 (of 4)
Written by: John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman
Art by: Antonio Fuso & Pasquale Qualano
Colours by: Marco Lusko

In an attempt to better understand the story being told in this comic, I purchased “Exodus Code” - the novel from Carole and John Barrowman which introduces the Ice Maiden and its crew into the Torchwood universe. I'm only three-quarters of the way through the book, but it has definitely made it easier to follow the plot and connect with these new characters – although it shouldn't have been necessary. Possibly as a reaction to the criticism of the first issue, Titan Comics provides a lengthy recap page at the front of this issue, complete with plenty of character biographies to help acquaint readers with this new cast of characters. While the opening issue of this series felt overwhelmed with constant scene changes and multiple narratives, this second issue slows the pace down considerably and focuses on the core Torchwood group on the Ice Maiden and the murder mystery occurring at Torchwood House, with the possibility of the pair connecting together in the next issue. Things even slow down long enough for the team to enjoy a cup of tea!

Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano continue to capture the dark, brooding nature of Torchwood with their artwork, although sometimes the action set-pieces feel a bit stilted and hard to follow. During the quieter scenes, the artists do much better and as mentioned before, the thicker lines on their art style reminds me of 2000AD artist, Dom Reardon and his wonderful work on Caballistics Inc. Definitely worth a read if you're a fan of Torchwood! This issue also introduces Vlad - a character I've been reading about in “Exodus Code” - and it's interesting to see the artists model him on Sean Bean, giving him a gruff and dangerous personality. It's quite a departure from the version I had built up in my mind's eye whilst reading, but I do like this interpretation of the character.

While this series is still rough around the edges in places, this second outing is a strong improvement on the first issue as Carole and John Barrowman streamline the narrative and spent a bit more time developing the characters. It seems the transition from novel-writing to comic-writing hasn't been an entirely smooth process, but this second issue definitely shows promise and I look forward to seeing this new team of Torchwood operatives being fleshed out and put through their paces in future episodes.

Score - 7.7 out of 10

Torchwood # 2 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 series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 4 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Things take a deadly turn for the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors as their various timelines begin to crumble around them and each incarnation finds themselves assimilated into the Cybermen’s hive-mind. With a reset button no doubt waiting in the wings, Cavan Scott and George Mann have some fun with the ‘doomed’ timelines featuring the earlier incarnations of the Doctor, testing each of them to limit. Even though these tragic events are destined to be undone, there is something chilling about seeing the Ninth Doctor blowing up the Earth to prevent the Cybermen from accessing it, or the Tenth Doctor merging with a Cyber-King to prevent it from attacking the Sontarans. I suspect that somehow the actions of these Doctors will somehow have some ripple effect that will allow the Twelfth Doctor to succeed against his foes – or perhaps the technology that Rassilon has implemented in the Eye of Harmony may provide the solution to undoing all of the Cybermen’s work.

Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Geovanni do a superb job of capturing the desperation and emotion in each section of this multi-layered story, particularly in the Tenth Doctor’s chapter. The pained and determined expression on his face after he thinks Gabby and Cindy have died feels utterly authentic to the character and David Tennant’s portrayal of him. There’s plenty going on in this penultimate issue and both artists rise to the challenge with confidence. While the multi-narrative structure of this event has slowed the pace down at times, it remains an effective and innovative way to tell a multi-Doctor storyline without having the characters meet. Evoking memories of the universe-ending climax to “The Pandorica Opens”, this penultimate episode certainly increases the tension to unbearable levels and I cannot wait to see how Scott and Mann intend to resolve this truly epic cliff-hanger in the space of one issue. It’s a tall task, but I have every faith in the two writers after their amazing work in their individual Doctor Who titles.

Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 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 mini-series when you pick up your copy!
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