Showing posts with label The Master. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Master. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

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, 30 November 2016

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, 19 October 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 2 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 2 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 2 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

With the surprise appearance of the Second Doctor at the end of the first issue, this Third Doctor miniseries shifts in tone to mirror the classic multi-doctor episode “The Three Doctors” as ‘The Dandy’ and ‘The Clown’ interact with each other. The interplay between the two Doctors is absolutely perfect and Paul Cornell has a firm handle on the ‘voice’ of both Doctors and the unique relationship between them. My initial suspicion was the Second Doctor would be The Master in disguise, but thankfully it appears to be the real deal, which livens up the storyline and adds a whole new dimension to the storyline. The Master does make an appearance, and Cornell allows Lethbridge-Stewart the opportunity to shine, portraying the Brigadier as fully capable and a strong match for the devious Time Lord. Clearly, Cornell is having great fun playing about with the core relationships that made the Third Doctor and UNIT era so different from other periods in Doctor Who history. The storyline feels so authentic to the era that you’d swear you’d seen this one on TV!


Christopher Jones continues to deliver some absolutely stunning artwork on this series, and I particularly love his take on Roger Delgado’s Master. It is uncannily close to the late actor’s likeness and captures his essence entirely onto the page – you can almost imagine him delivering the lines with a sneer as he dives off the helicopter with his makeshift parachute. Throughout most of the issue, Jones’ art has a militaristic feel that suits the tone of the series perfectly, but the artist gets the opportunity to break loose from the late 70’s realism when he has to interpret Jo Grant’s mindscape onto the page. With bright colours and psychedelic visuals, Jones crafts an excellent sequence that stands out from his normal style. Jones’ art is the ideal complement to Cornell’s pitch-perfect script, resulting in a nostalgic blast to the past that will have you reaching for your sonic screwdriver in an effort to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!

Two issues in, and this series is shaping up to be the new jewel in the Titan Comics crown. With two creators utterly invested in recreating the Third Doctor era, the story is definitely in safe hands and I look forward to seeing this adventure unfold over the remaining three issues. If you’re a fan of the UNIT era of Doctor Who, you need to invest in this miniseries now!


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 2 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13
"Fast Asleep"
Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: INJ Culbard & Simon Fraser
Colours by: Gary Caldwell

After a year of fake-outs and dead-ends, this issue of the Eleventh Doctor series from Titan Comics finally reveals who was responsible for the creation of the Malignant, and it looks like a bit of a group effort to be honest. These past three issues set deep within the Time War have been utterly enthralling from start to finish, providing some of the best Doctor Who sequences ever committed to the page. It has been such an engaging interlude that I could easily read an ongoing series focused on the War Doctor, The Master and The Squire as they traverse the battlefields of the Time War battling allies of the Daleks. Williams has the unenviable task of explaining the complicated origin of the Malignant and the Then and the Now, and despite paradoxes aplenty and enough timey-wimey goodness to feed a Weeping Angel for eternity, it remains a fantastic and easy to follow read. Never losing sight of the human element of this story (Alice), Williams crafts a cataclysmic universe-ending set piece that rivals the scale of ending of “The Pandorica Opens”. Not content with the rather clever revelations within his story, he caps it off with a humdinger of a cliff-hanger involving the Squire and Absalom Daak. Obviously, there’s no way this issue couldn’t earn any less than a 10 out of 10 score!


Artists INJ Culbard and Simon Fraser work together on this issue as each artist handles a different Doctor’s timeline and the result is a wonderful visual treat for the readers. The two artists’ styles gel rather nicely together and it’s a lovely directorial device to showcase the two different eras in play throughout this adventure. Given the whole whodunnit nature of this second year, the success of this storyline ultimately hinged on this reveal and I have to say that Williams (and Spurrier) have done an absolutely fantastic job on nailing that landing. While some elements of the big reveal were telegraphed, there were some lovely additions that I didn’t see coming. I particularly liked how Williams incorporated The Master’s regeneration into Derek Jacobi’s Doctor Yana from “Utopia” into his plot, providing an in-continuity explanation behind his memory loss in that episode. I’m a sucker for a bit of pre-destination in time-travel stories and this ‘time loop’ and the way that the Then and the Now was responsible for its own creation in a Dave Lister-sort of way was an inspired decision. This whole year of adventures has been fantastically plotted from the outset and the attention to detail and continuity has been utterly flawless. While I enjoyed the intricate narrative of the Eleventh Doctor’s Year One adventures, this mega-epic has surpassed it entirely. The Doctor better watch his back because he has two rival time-lords in Williams and Spurrier.


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh 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!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 1 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 1 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 1 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

The Third Doctor's era of Doctor Who is a particularly iconic one for multiple reasons – firstly, the series made its first shift into full-colour adventures with “Spearhead from Space” and Jon Pertwee's younger, more flamboyant Doctor was more of an action hero, exiled to Earth and fighting alien invasions alongside the military task-force of UNIT. It remains a distinctive part of the Doctor Who mythology, removing the key element of time travel from the series and replacing it with a strong 1970s (or is that 80s) feel. I am quite fond of these 'UNIT years' and the excellent supporting cast that the Doctor accrued during these years, even if the series had diverted from its main concept somewhat during those serials. Taking place after the landmark first multi-Doctor episode “The Three Doctors”, this miniseries hits the reader with a tidal wave of nostalgia as Paul Cornell and Christopher Jones conjure up a “lost adventure” that feels authentic to the time period and tonally perfect in every way.

Writer Paul Cornell is no stranger to the Doctor Who universe, having written episodes for the television show, last year's event miniseries “The Four Doctors” and numerous novels featuring the various incarnations of the Doctor. In this inaugural issue he instantly captures the vocal tics of all the lead characters, to the point where you can almost hear the actors delivering the lines in your head. The Doctor, The Brigadier, Jo Grant and even Mike Yates all sound exactly how you'd expect as Cornell demonstrates his passion for the UNIT years by making use of the series' supporting cast. Not content with nailing the voices of the characters, he also manages to accurately recreate the same atmosphere seen in the stories from that time. Sleepy English villages invaded by aliens, Bessie racing to the rescue, clashing with the Brig over his military eagerness – it's all there and it feels utterly authentic and a joy to see on the printed page. It's literally like stepping back in time and watching un-aired episodes from the 1970s.


Christopher Jones is a complete revelation here, pairing with Cornell's pitch-perfect writing to produce some utterly amazing pieces of artwork. There is no denying his skill as an artist, and his clear line work definitely feels ripped from the same era, offering a straight-forward yet effective approach. Jones accurately reproduces the likenesses of all those classic characters, especially the Third Doctor, who displays some of Jon Pertwee's unique facial expressions at times. I was utterly bowled away by the artwork on display here and Jones' strong sense of storytelling, working effortlessly alongside Cornell's script to produce something wonderful. Titan Comics has been extremely lucky with its choice of artists for its Doctor Who comic series, and Christopher Jones is no exception to this rule. He is the perfect fit for the Third Doctor era of the series, bringing a wonderful sense of realism and nostalgia to the miniseries.

Riffing on all the things that made the Third Doctor period of the show so great, Paul Cornell has done a fantastic job with this miniseries. The brief cameo of Roger Delgado's Master is a wonderful addition to the plot, pitting the Third Doctor up against his greatest nemesis and revisiting the wonderful chemistry between Pertwee and Delgado during that period of the show's history. The end of issue cliff-hanger will bring a smile to the faces of every reader, but I suspect that there will be some misdirection there and not everything is as it initially seems. As with the Ninth, Eighth and Fourth Doctor miniseries before it, the Third Doctor miniseries is a brilliant summation of everything that made that particular era so fun. For those unwilling to commit to an ongoing series, these Classic Doctor miniseries are brilliant, offering a bite-size slice of past eras. I cannot praise this series enough – it's a wonderful recreation of those good ol' UNIT days.


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 1 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

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

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12
"Kill God"
Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: INJ Culbard
Colours by: Marcio Menys

Taking the narrative baton from his co-writer, Rob Williams returns to the Eleventh Doctor comic series to continue the flashback tale from the Time War started by Si Spurrier last issue. INJ Culbard's beautiful artwork remains the backbone to this story-arc, offering a visual 'breath of fresh air' that suits this change to the series' timeline. The decision to send Alice back to the Time War to learn about (and potentially influence) the events that led to the Cylors becoming the Malignant has been an inspired one, riffing on Back to the Future by having Alice interacting with the past. Rather than a staid 'two-dimensional' flashback, the inclusion of a present day Alice adds a whole new element to proceedings and a touch of the 'timey wimey'. Williams' script maintains the pace set in Spurrier's initial installment, and he captures the world-weary nature of the War Doctor and the craftiness of the Master – even though these two are working together, the Master remains out for himself and quick to cause havoc. The sequence where the Master summons the Time Lord army, only for them to be wiped out by the Cylors, is a perfect example of his duplicity and is subtly showcased in the episode by Williams and Culbard.


There's some really great moments in this issue, especially the sequence that sees Alice pitted against one of the Volatix Cabal. Williams and Spurrier have created a really menacing set of creatures here, taking the genocidal efficiency of the Daleks and adding a dash of 'mad scientist' to the mix to create something truly ungodly. Given how the Daleks themselves have yet to be seen in a Titan Comics' comic, I'm guessing there's a rights-issue that prevents them from being shown. If this is true, then it may be a blessing in disguise as it has allowed Williams and Spurrier to create this wonderful subversion on the traditional Dalek. The highlight of this issue for me was the mischievous nature of the Master, and how his actions seemed to have caused some sort of paradox which presumably leads to the creation of the Malignant. As this series hurtles to its conclusion there's still plenty of unanswered questions left to go and I am hungry for answers! I've loved every moment of this dense narrative that refuses to compromise and instead has delivered a solid, twisty-turny plot rewarding those loyal readers who've stuck with it. While it might be a tough task for new readers to jump in at this climactic stage, I strongly urge any Whovians suffering from the Doctor Who drought to go back and pick up the collected editions to catch up. Doctor Who or not, this is some of the best science-fiction storytelling in comics today!


Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh 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!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

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

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11
"The Organ Grinder"
Written by: Si Spurrier
Art by: INJ Culbard
Colours by: Marcio Menys

Taking place during the Time War, this issue of the Eleventh Doctor comic series is a highly unusual departure from the series in that it doesn’t contain the Eleventh Doctor in it at all, instead Si Spurrier focuses on John Hurt’s War Doctor as the lead protagonist. With Alice trapped in the time-locked paradox, she is able to provide a first-hand look at the events of the Time War which led to the Eleventh Doctor’s current situation. Despite the absence of the series’ titular character, this issue loses none of its pace and in fact, it benefits from the sudden momentum in narrative as the readers are finally given answers to the mysteries that have ran deep throughout the past ten issues. I was quite pleased with the reveal of the Doctor’s young boy companion, which offers a surprising new addition to Doctor Who lore – adding a bonus incarnation of The Master in the Time War – presumably taking place between Alex MacQueen’s current incarnation in the Big Finish audios and Derek Jacobi’s Professor Yana who appeared in “Utopia”. It’s great to see the Doctor’s age-old nemesis inhabiting the body of a young boy, showcasing the unpredictability of Time Lord regeneration and even foreshadowing his eventual appearance as a female in Season Eight.

One of the highlights of this issue is the fabulously freaky Volatix Cabal – a group of deformed Daleks who are only allowed to exist because their madness allows them to create deadly weapons and creatures for use in the Time War. Spurrier captures the madness of these monsters perfectly during their interrogation scene with Alice, making use of different fonts to emphasise their craziness. Some of their bizarre non-sequiturs and creepy statements are quite disturbing and makes them much more scary than their Extermination-focused counterparts. They are a great twist on the Dalek concept, and a worthy enemy for the War Doctor to face during the Time War – interestingly, this issue seems to debut the concept of the Daleks hiding in Human skins, first seen in the TV episode “Asylum of the Daleks”, implying that the Volatix Cabal designed this ingenious weapon. Alongside this fantastic portrayal of the Daleks, Spurrier also strikes gold with his representation of the War Doctor. With scant appearances in the television show proper, the War Doctor is something of a blank slate and Spurrier captures the driven nature of this war-weary soldier perfectly, partnering him with his arch-nemesis in a desperate effort to end the Time War.


Making his debut on the Eleventh Doctor series is INJ Culbard, an artist who I've discovered through his absolutely beautiful work in 2000AD on series' such as Brass Sun and Brink. Unsurprisingly, his artwork here is truly brilliant too and within seconds, he makes the series his own. His interpretation of John Hurt's War Doctor is amazing, capturing both the actor's likeness and the inherent 'soul' of the character. One of Culbard's strengths is his ability to effortlessly convey the emotions of the characters through facial expressions, using subtle changes to communicate the thoughts and feelings going through their head. The sequence where Alice is being interrogated by the Volatix Cabal is a particular highlight, not only for Spurrier's creepy dialogue but also for the raw emotion that Culbard brings out in his artwork as a terrified Alice deals with some unbalanced Daleks.

After a slower pace in the past few issues, this Time War-centric installment has reinvigorated this already great series and propelled the narrative into a whole new direction. Ironically, this issue has benefitted from the removal of its lead character as the spotlight is shone firmly onto a new set of protagonists. Presumably, the next issue will continue to reveal the secrets of the Time War, leaving the final three episodes to bring this epic year-long adventure to a close. This second volume has been an ambitious Doctor Who story, and for the most part, Rob Williams and Si Spurrier have delivered a wonderfully epic adventure that scratches that Time War itch that many long-time fans of the series have. While it has been more dense and focused than its fellow Titan Comics series, I have loved the 'whodunnit' approach to this storyline and the twists and turns that Williams and Spurrier have dragged the reader through. Once completed, I have no doubt whatsoever that this storyline will be regarded as one of the high points in Doctor Who's comic-book history - It's just that good!


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh 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, 23 March 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7
"The One" - Part 2 (of 2)
Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: Leandro Casco & Simon Fraser
Colours by: Gary Caldwell

After last issue’s surprise reveal that the Doctor and his merry band of companions had broken through the time barrier and entered Shada, the prison planet of the Time Lords, Rob Williams takes time to have fun with the ambiguity over the canonicity of the legendary unfinished adventure by having the Doctor unable to remember his previous time on the planet. Williams also provides a subtle nod to the serial’s writer, Douglas Adams of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, with a rather depressive AI system that bears similarities with Marvin the Paranoid Android. Williams’ script manages to be very accessible and requires no real background knowledge of “Shada” and its complicated history, but rewards those hard-core Whovians who do know about it. There’s a fabulous pace and momentum to this story as the Doctor, River and the others attempt to break through the prison security to find out whether the Master was involved in the war-crimes that the Doctor has been accused of.

Unfortunately, this issue features two artists working together and while their styles do contrast against each other – the point at which the ‘switch-over’ occurs allows the transition to occur relatively seamlessly minimising disruption to the narrative. I really enjoyed Leandro Casco’s art in this issue, which offered a distinctive take on the Eleventh Doctor and his many companions. There’s a smoothness to Casco’s style that adds a minimalist flavour to his artwork and gives it an animated style – unfortunately, this does contrast against Simon Fraser’s more detail-laden style, which makes use of shading and intricate line-work. Both art styles are great and would have worked perfectly on their own, but blending the two together in one issue is slightly problematic. However, as I’ve said before, the editors picked the perfect transition moment to switch between the artists as the companions find themselves placed in stasis. I really enjoyed the sequence from Simon Fraser where the Squire uses her sword to prevent the Doctor from being placed into stasis for one thousand years. It’s full of dramatic tension and the emotion of the scene leapt out of the page – it was definitely the highlight of the issue for me.


Ultimately, this issue offered little in the way of answers, choosing instead to bombard the reader with more questions than before. For example, what was on the photo that the Doctor printed out of the Master’s TARDIS – was it something incriminating himself in the genocide of the Cylors? Also, what exactly is going on with Alice – the Shada AI made a blink and you’ll miss it reference to “fluctuating Tachyon technology in her neck”, further building up the mystery about her visions of the future. Obviously, the Squire remains a conundrum for both the Doctor and the readers, revealed her to be a being with no history – which suggests that she might be some kind of artificial construct? Interestingly, the Shada AI asks if she is the owner of the Master’s TARDIS – a question that goes unanswered, meaning that my theory that she is a hidden incarnation of the Master remains open, ready to be disproved at a later date! I’m really enjoying the multiple layers of mystery that Rob Williams and Si Spurrier have piled onto this storyline, crafting a “whodunit” that continues to confuse the reader and take them on a journey of twists and turns.

Despite the inconsistencies between the two artists, this was a strong issue of the Eleventh Doctor comic series which pulled the rug out from under the reader’s feet by dismissing the Master as the master-mind behind this storyline. Of course, it’s possible that he is still involved further down the line, but I’m intrigued to see where Spurrier and Williams intend to take this storyline over the coming months. With such a firm grasp on Doctor Who mythology, it feels like they have fifty-plus years of material at their hands. Forget “hiding behind the sofa”, the compelling mysteries of this storyline will have you shouting at the TV for answers, thanks to some absolutely brilliant storytelling from Spurrier and Williams. I can't recommend this series enough to fans of Doctor Who - go buy it now!


Score - 9.2 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7 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!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...