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

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 3

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 3
"Doctormania" - Part 3 (of 3)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Adriana Melo
Colours by: Matheus Lopes

Cavan Scott and Adriana Melo bring the opening story-arc to the Ninth Doctor comic series to a dramatic close, as the Season One TARDIS team of Jack, Rose and the Doctor attempt to prevent a Raxacoricofallapatorian Civil War from taking place. Taking cues from The Hunger Games, Scott has Rose and her Slitheen captor, Slist, on the run from a group of dangerous hunters in the jungles of the planet Clix, part of the Raxacoricofallapatorian Empire. Rose is definitely the focus of this concluding installment of the storyline as Scott goes to great lengths to showcase her idealistic nature and innocence – key traits of hers seen during those Season One years. I really enjoyed her interactions with Slist as she attempted to help him, despite his mistreatment of her earlier in the tale. I was really impressed with how Scott took Billie Piper’s performance in the show and recreated it onto the page, ensuring Rose’s ‘voice’ remained strong throughout. While the Doctor and Jack were vital elements, this was definitely Rose’s issue!

Adriana Melo continues to sprinkle her artistic magic over this issue as her grittier style lends itself well to this storyline, especially when it comes to displaying the gruesome consequences of the acidic rain on the skin of the Slitheen. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Melo and Scott have taken the goofy, fart monsters and made them into truly terrifying threats. Melo establishes a ferocity to the creatures that was lacking in their televised appearances, and I absolutely adore her designs of the other Raxacoricofallapatorians, such as the Jinglatheen. Aside from making the Slitheen seem cool, Melo does a tremendous job at capturing the likenesses of John Barrowman, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, but without being a slave to realism. Her art is dynamic and flows with ease on the page, ensuring that the story moves with a rapid pace.


With this issue, Cavan Scott has demonstrated his innate ability to write thrilling Doctor Who stories that dovetail nicely into the established continuity of the television show, enhancing the experience and offering essential information. I’ll be honest, I could have quite happily gone the rest of my life without seeing another Slitheen, but this storyline actually has me enthused about the creatures and interested in future instalments featuring the complex Raxacoricofallapatorian hierarchy. Keen to play with his reading audience, Scott introduces a humdinger of a cliff-hanger in the final page, which is sure to get heads scratching. I love the fact that he is clearly having a great time playing about in the Ninth Doctor era, expanding that initially short period of the Doctor’s life with some excellent adventures, making use of events from later episodes to inform his plots.

Doctormania” has been a promising start for the Ninth Doctor series, fully justifying the decision to move from a mini-series format to a fully-fledged ongoing title. Scott and Melo prove themselves to be highly capable team, and on the basis of this inaugural adventure, I hope to see plenty more stories from the pair exploring the hidden secrets of the Ninth Doctor’s era. Scott’s love for the character and this particular era is evident from his work on the page, and that surprise cliff-hanger demonstrates his willingness to shake up continuity and offer readers some genuinely exciting stories that take the Ninth Doctor into brand-new territories. Even though the Ninth Doctor’s time on the show was over ten years ago, Scott and Melo have done a fantastic job in making the character still relevant and exciting all these years later. As with all of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who output, this is essential reading for fans of the show – old or new.


Score - 10 out of 10

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

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 2

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 2
"Doctormania" - Part 2 (of 3)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Adriana Melo
Colours by: Matheus Lopes

I’ll be honest – I hate the Slitheen. I get that they were created during the early days of the Doctor Who relaunch when Russell T Davies wasn't entirely certain of the tone to take the series, and he introduced these funny, farting monsters with child-like faces to appeal to a younger audience, but they seemed to reek of the more ridiculous elements of classic Doctor Who. While there were sinister elements are work with the characters – they wear the skin of dead men to sneak into positions of power – they were played as laughs with fart jokes and pantomime performances. Here, Cavan Scott, takes the Slitheen and makes them into genuine threats once more, expanding more on the monsters’ backstory and providing a glimpse into the complicated civil war encompassing Raxacoricofallapatorius’ inhabitants. There’s even a spot of sympathy for the creatures as one of their skin suits rupture, resulting in sudden decompression which kills them in a particularly brutal fashion.

Adriana Melo continues to deliver some wildly impressive artwork in this issue, developing the Slitheen into a truly menacing monster, replete with razor-sharp teeth and claws. I also loved her designs for the other Raxacoricofallapatorian families which took the Slitheen design but changed it slightly, resembling the differences between frogs and toads. Melo ensures that the issue is well-paced and her art style is wonderfully clear and cinematic at times. There’s a grittiness to her work on the page which suits the Ninth Doctor’s era of the show and I love the way she brings the series’ cast to life but without being a slave to the actor’s likenesses. Her Rose Tyler looks like a real character rather than Billie Piper running around fighting rubber-suited aliens – she’s a fantastic fit for the series and I hope she sticks around beyond this opening three part story-arc.


The script crackles along with such energy and excitement, it’s clear that Cavan Scott is a massive fan of the source material and is enjoying every moment he gets to write for his favourite character. While I might not be the biggest Slitheen fan in the world, the monsters rightfully belong in a Ninth Doctor story and Scott’s storyline fleshes them out (pardon the pun!) and fixes many of the problems with the creatures. While taking the Ninth Doctor into outer space may be a departure from the tone of his earth-based stories seen in Season One of the television show, bringing in the Slitheen ensures that the story maintains that Ninth Doctor feel. Adding to that nostalgia factor is Scott’s keen grasp on the character’s voices and personalities – the story feels so authentic, you’d swear it had been written way back in 2005, rather than eleven years after the Ninth Doctor last appeared.

As surprised as I am to say this, Cavan Scott and Adriana Melo have actually made the Slitheen cool, transforming the fat farting monsters from “Aliens of London”, “World War Three” and “Boom Town” into something genuinely creepy. With the addition of synthetic skin suits, the Slitheen can now take the form of anybody – which immediately makes them a more dangerous threat – and Melo’s more ferocious take on the creatures makes them appear more violent and deadly. I wonder if Scott can give Peter Kay's atrocious Abzorbaloff from “Love and Monsters” a make-over, but I suspect that job may be impossible! Overall, this was a fabulous second issue to the series and with a sterling creative team at the helm, I'm predicting big things for the Ninth Doctor in the future.


Score - 9.8 out of 10

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

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 1

Doctor Who: The 9th Doctor # 1
"Doctormania" - Part 1 (of 3)
Written by: Cavan Scott
Art by: Adriana Melo
Colours by: Matheus Lopes

After the phenomenal success of the Ninth Doctor mini-series, Titan Comics has wisely commissioned an ongoing series featuring Christopher Eccleston's incarnation of the Time Lord, meaning that all four Doctors since the 2005 relaunch have now got their own comic book series. Cavan Scott returns to the scripting duties, bringing with him Brazilian comic book artist, Adriana Melo, famous for her work on Star Wars: Empire, Witchblade and Ms. Marvel. Taking place shortly after “Weapons of Past Destruction”, Scott continues to make use of the Season One TARDIS team of Rose, Jack and the Doctor – providing fans of that era with more un-televised adventures to slot in-between “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town”. Free from the budget restraints that forced most of Season One to take place on Earth, Scott is able to think big and create sprawling space dramas that take the Doctor and his crew to far-flung planets and alien civilisations, adding a whole new dimension to the Ninth Doctor's era that was missing from the show. Throwing the reader and the TARDIS team into the thick of things, he has the Doctor come face to face with...The Doctor?!

The Doctor meeting his doppelgänger is a reoccurring plot device which has been used for almost all the Doctors, starting from the First Doctor adventure “The Massacre” and including such adventures as, “The Enemy of the World”, “Meglos”, “Journey's End”, “The Rebel Flesh” and “The Wedding of River Song”, so it is nice to see it used for the Ninth Doctor. It also puts the Doctor in the uncomfortable situation of being a celebrity, as the faux-Doctor achieves a cult-like status on Gharusa Prime with a television series entitled “Doctor Who?”. In a nice slice of meta-commentary, Cavan Scott affectionately pokes fun at the Doctor Who fan-base through the obsessive alien fan. Before the Doctor can get any real answers, the group are attacked by the Chumblies, or rather what someone thinks the Chumblies looks like, as the Doctor is immediately suspicious. I must admit that, real or not, I quite liked seeing the Chumblies returning to Doctor Who mythology, following their one and only appearance in the First Doctor serial, “Galaxy 4” - Cavan Scott is clearly a man who knows his Doctor Who history.


From the very first panel, Adriana Melo makes this comic her own, capturing the likenesses of the three main actors, but without being a slave to detail. As such, there's a wonderful fluidity to her work as she creates dynamic panels that showcase the action from the start. I really like her take on the Ninth Doctor, which uses Christopher Eccleston's likeness as a base to build upon the character. She also does a fantastic job with Rose and Jack, channelling the essence of the characters onto the page with remarkable ease. Also impressive are her alien designs, such as the cute purple-faced 'Doctorian' who greets the TARDIS team upon their arrival. While her style occasionally fluctuates between panels, I really am enjoying this new addition to Titan Comics' roster of Doctor Who artists and immediately think she'll be a perfect fit for the Ninth Doctor series. I mean, anyone who can make the Slitheen actually look scary must be something special!

Overall, this was a fantastic re-debut for the Ninth Doctor. With an ongoing series to work with, Cavan Scott seems to be planning for the long haul, briefly touching upon the sub-plot of Captain Jack's missing memories, for what I'm assuming will be the main thrust of this series. As with his work on the miniseries, Scott has the Ninth Doctor's voice down perfectly and genuinely seems to love Doctor Who history, both old and new, as he blends monsters such as the Slitheen and the Chumblies together in a wonderful stew of narrative goodness. In the space of a single issue, Adriana Melo has quickly proven herself to be a worthy addition to the Doctor Who family, capturing the mood of the Ninth Doctor's era and its characters but also adding in her own visual flourishes. Once again, Titan Comics has struck gold with yet another excellent ongoing series and I'm genuinely excited to see what this creative team has up their sleeve, as I'm sure it will be absolutely “fan-tas-tic”!


Score - 10 out of 10

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