Showing posts with label Weeping Angels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weeping Angels. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 9

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 9
"The Weeping Angels of Mons" - Part 4 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Daniel Indro
Colours by: Slamet Mujiono

While action and adventure pervades this concluding installment of “The Weeping Angels of Mons”, the emotional core of the story is the doomed romance between TARDIS companion, Gabriella Gonzalez and the Scottish soldier, Jamie Colquhoun. Robbie Morrison's script manages to tug on the heartstrings as the two star-crossed lovers are forced to separate at the close of the adventure, after only sharing one kiss. Despite only being developed over the past couple of issues, Morrison manages to craft a realistic and believable attraction between the two youngsters amidst the danger of the Weeping Angels.

While previous installments have alluded to the horrors of World War One, it is this concluding episode that really honours and pays reverence to the sacrifices those soldiers who died during the conflict. The sequence where Jamie makes his decision to stay in his own time zone rather than travelling with the Doctor and Gabby reminds me heavily of the closing scene of Blackadder Goes Forth, using the visual transition from the war-torn fields of World War One to a modern-day landscape filled with poppies. There's also a comparison to be made with the Doctor Who episode, “Family of Blood”, which also features the Doctor and his companion visiting a war veteran in his twilight years. Even though the World War One setting has been used to tell a science-fiction story, both writer and artist pay their respects to the sacrifices without seeming trite and insincere.

Morrison's script yet again manages to channel that same energy and tension found in Doctor Who TV episodes, with this whole subterranean sequence feeling as tightly plotted and rife with drama as any of the recent episodes. Splitting up the Doctor and Gabby adds a further layer of peril to the proceedings, and allows the Doctor to swoop in with a last-minute save. Congratulations must also be passed onto Daniel Indro who has delivered absolutely sterling work across this four-part storyline, really bringing out the grittiness of the trench warfare and capturing the melancholy of the war. I quite liked seeing the return of Gabby's sketchbook, along with artists Arianna Florean and Elena Casagrande, injecting a brief ray of sunshine into the dreary environment of the Somme.

As I've mentioned in my reviews for the previous installments, this has been one of the best storylines to appear in the Doctor Who comics, making fantastic use of a “famous” Doctor Who monster through an inspired choice of setting. While I would liked to have seen Jamie join the TARDIS crew, the bittersweet ending certainly gave the conclusion added pathos. Both Morrison and Indro have consistently delivered excellence over the course of the adventure, producing a practically flawless storyline. This is certainly the jewel in the Titan Comics' crown, although the Ninth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor series are pretty close behind in terms of quality. Fans of the TV show who aren't reading these comics are missing out on some absolutely amazing Doctor Who stories!

Score - 9.7 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor # 9 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, 4 March 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 8

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 8
"The Weeping Angels of Mons" - Part 3 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Daniel Indro
Colours by: Slamet Mujiono

Opening up with another glimpse into the after-effects of the Weeping Angels touch, we get a more pleasant fate for one of the time displaced soldiers who is sent back to 1892 and manages to live out his life in relative comfort, until he reaches past the point he was sent back and dies of a heart attack, devastated by the horrific aftermath of the Battle of the Somme and knowledge those he left behind were likely killed. When compared to the fate that befell the soldiers sent back to the Tay Bridge train crash, this alternate life seems a much nicer end, mirroring the fate of Sally Sparrow's friend seen in “Blink” and Amy and Rory's ultimate fate from “The Angels Take Manhattan”. It also adds credence to the theories by the soldiers that the Angels are 'saving' the poor soldiers from a lonely death on the battlefield, whilst subtly teasing the surprise return of the elderly Shuggy.

This episode felt like the most action-packed installment of the storyline yet, allowing Daniel Indro to show off his realistic representations of the Weeping Angels. I particularly liked his take on the “battle damaged” Angel, emerging from the explosion with pieces of its stone form blown away. Robbie Morrison's script manages to maintain a healthy pace, mixing the time-displaced soldiers' flashbacks in with the more action-orientated sequences, such as the Angels' siege of the makeshift hospital and Shuggy's last-minute rescue in a tank. Despite all of this action, Morrison also takes the time to develop an interesting romantic sub-plot between Gabby and Jamie. Could Jamie be joining the TARDIS crew at the end of this story? I certainly hope so, but considering the tone of this story and how death follows the Doctor around, it is equally possible that he might sacrifice himself to save his new friends.

There were some great moments in the script, such as the Doctor's outburst after Gabby's near miss with the Angel. This is a wonderful callback to the Doctor's current state of mind, following Donna Noble's mind wipe in “Journey's End” and his reluctance to take on another companion at this point in his tenth incarnation. It's clear that its actually himself that he's made at, rather than Gabby, but it will be interesting to see whether he returns her back to her own time following this adventure. I also liked the explanation behind where the TARDIS had disappeared to when it was hit by a mortar shell during the first installment – instead of the HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System) relocating it, it turns out that the blast caused it to fall through the mud into the underground tunnels that the Germans had been digging. It seems the TARDIS will be the key to the final episode, with the hungry Angels scavenging for time energy and stealing the TARDIS away from the Doctor.

Yet again, this was another strong showing for the Tenth Doctor series, with absolutely riveting artwork from Daniel Indro and a smart, action-packed script from Robbie Morrison. This truly feels like an adapted screenplay from the TV show and really deserved to have been an actual episode of the previous season to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War. This is easily the strongest storyline seen across all of Titan Comics' Doctor Who titles to date, and hopefully the eventual collected edition will draw more people towards the series. I can't wait to read the final installment as the Doctor and his friends descend beneath the trenches of Somme to retrieve the TARDIS from the desperate clutches of the Weeping Angels. It's going to be fantastic!

Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor # 8 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, 4 February 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 7

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 7
"The Weeping Angels of Mons" - Part 2 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Daniel Indro
Colours by: Slamet Mujiono

This issue opens up with the resolution of the previous instalment’s cliff-hanger, which sees Wullie sent back in time by the Weeping Angels to 1879 – only to die in the Tay Bridge disaster. This method of dispatching their victims is consistent with the Angel’s appearances in “Blink” and “The Angels Take Manhattan” rather than their more feral and physical methods observed in “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh & Stone”. Robbie Morrison also does a great job of recapping the Weeping Angels’ origins and their modus operandi for the characters within the story, as well as for any readers who may have forgotten the reasons behind the Weeping Angel’s behaviour.

In my review for the previous chapter, I commented on how the structure of this four part storyline reminded me of the classic era Doctor Who set-up, and that feeling continues with this issue, as the story moves away from its introductory tone and establishing the supporting characters, and begins to ramp up the action and develop the main threat of the Weeping Angels as they hunt soldiers amongst the trenches at Mons. Once again, Robbie Morrison delivers such a pitch-perfect cliff-hanger that you can almost hear Ron Grainer’s arrangement of the classic theme kicking in before turning the page to read the credits.

Daniel Indro’s artwork continues to capture the horrific nature of both the Weeping Angels and the time period in which they have chosen to invade. I love the way he uses detailed line work to emphasise the emotions in each scene, as well as creating highly detailed representations of the Weeping Angels. Somehow he also manages to recreate the jump-start movement of the creatures on the static page, which is quite some feat. Each page is rich with atmosphere, channeling the dour mood of the First World War and giving some genuine emotional impact to the sequences. One of my criticisms from the previous issues regarding the similarity between some of the soldiers and the Doctor himself has been addressed with clearer distinction between each of the supporting characters.

There are some wonderful touches in Robbie Morrison’s script, such as the Doctor’s passing reference to Jamie McCrimmon, one of his former companions who travelled with his second incarnation. Upon seeing the Scottish soldier, Jamie Colquhoun, in the previous issue, my mind instantly made the connection with the other Scottish Jamie in the Doctor’s life, so it was a nice touch to see the Tenth Doctor make the same connection. I also liked Gabby’s hastily constructed alias for the Doctor, forgoing the usual “John Smith” identity for Doctor Strange, a nice reference to the Marvel Comics sorcerer of the same name, as well as revealing a bit too much of her own viewpoint on the Doctor.

Tonally, this issue felt more like “The Angels Take Manhattan”, especially with the cliff-hanger ending that saw Gabby attacked by an Angel in a badly lit basement, mirroring a similar situation that Rory will end up facing. Both Robbie Morrison and Daniel Indro are delivering some stellar work here and this story might be the crowning glory of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who line thus far, telling a thrilling story using well-known monsters from the series’ canon. With the recent announcement that the Titan Comics range is to be repackaged in the UK and marketed at a younger audience, I’m sure this particular story will prove a hit with that demographic. Hopefully, the popularity of this adventure will mean that more monsters from the TV show will appear – the more obscure, the better!

Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor # 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!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 6

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor # 6
"The Weeping Angels of Mons" - Part 1 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Daniel Indro
Colours by: Slamet Mujiono

It’s all change for the Tenth Doctor series as it undergoes its own regeneration in both writer and artist as Robbie Morrison and Daniel Indro take over from the series’ launch team of Nick Abadzis and Elena Casagrande. Billed as a jumping-on point for new readers with a distinctive red banner emblazoned atop the beautiful cover art from Tommy Lee Edwards, this issue is clearly designed to grab the interest of the casual reader with the inclusion of the Weeping Angels, the first of the ‘New Who’ monsters to appear in the comics as an antagonist.

Ever since I saw the initial preview images for this storyline, I have been particularly excited to get my hands on it. Whilst the fresh and original creatures created by all of the Titan Comics’ creative teams have been interesting to read about, the familiarity of a monster from the TV show really brings a unique sense of excitement to the tale, elevating the story and making it feel more ‘canon’. However, it does bring its own set of risks, as the writer and artist have the added pressure of making sure the monsters feel authentic and in tone with their appearances in the show. In this instance, both Robbie Morrison and Daniel Indro perform the task flawlessly, with Morrison’s script and choice of time zone bringing forth a sense of horror and dread that matches the Weeping Angel’s appearances in ‘Blink’ and ‘The Angels take Manhattan’. Using them sparingly in this introductory chapter is a wise decision and helps create a sense of foreboding and menace as they are glimpsed in short bursts.

Daniel Indro’s darker and more detailed artwork suits the tone of this tale moreso than Elena Casagrande inherently light-hearted style, and shows Titan Comics’ editorial staff are wisely utilising a range of different artists in order to cultivate the right atmosphere for its stories. Indro manages to capture the horrific nature of the Weeping Angels onto the printed page as they attack unsuspecting soldiers on the battlefields of the First World War, bringing the sometimes inanimate objects to life with a fantastic level of detail that matches the creature’s appearance in the show. My one nit-pick would be the difficulty in identifying some of the supporting characters in the story, with several of the soldiers looking rather similar, including one resembles the Doctor. Hopefully, the characters will become more defined and easier to distinguish between as the story develops, but there were a few moments where it was hard to work out who was who.

As with his recent work on the Twelfth Doctor series, Morrison’s script manages to feel like an episode of the show itself, hitting the same tonal notes as previous Weeping Angel stories. From the fantastic cold open that delivers a pre-credits scare, the story feels so authentic that you would swear this was an adaptation of an episode you’d missed on-screen! I particularly liked the sequence in the hospital when the Doctor’s hearts were examined by the army medic, which felt reminiscent of a similar sequence in the Third Doctor’s debut adventure, ‘Spearhead from Space’. Morrison manages to inject some tension into the story by having the TARDIS seemingly destroyed by a mortar attack, although I suspect that the HADS (hostile action displacement system) kicked in and teleported the time machine to a safer environment.

Overall, this introductory chapter serves mainly to set up the atmosphere for the next three installments, which it does perfectly, having the Doctor arrive in the midst of the War and instantly accused of being a spy – something that seems to happen a lot! Unusually, this episode felt like a blend of the Classic and Modern eras of Doctor Who, with this opening chapter feeling very much most introductory episodes from the early Doctor stories, concentrating mainly on throwing the Doctor into the deep end as he tries to establish himself in the time zone, whilst setting up the threat for the serial. As a fan of both eras, I am always glad to see the old episodic narrative structure used in stories as I feel that the old-school cliff-hangers are one of the main things that the modern series lacks. This strong and intriguing introduction certainly met my expectations for this long-awaited storyline, and I look forward to seeing the adventure develop over the next three issues.

Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor # 6 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!
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