By Rob Williams, Warren Pleece, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt, Hi-Fi, Amoona Saohin, Marc Ellerby
The Doctor is on trial for war crimes, which he probably committed. The story is actually not as dark as it should be with a premise like that.
During the Last Great Time War, the Doctor caused trillions of deaths. However, he’s almost certain that he didn’t cause the deaths of a particular species whose last collective action is to kill him, or at least try to put his War Doctor incarnation on trial.
The (11th) Doctor takes a group of companions on a trip to one of his past battles, looking for clues as to how the events in the present were caused by the past.
Rob Williams uses this issue to flesh out the ‘timey-whimy’ aspects of the show like the Time-Lock that exists around the entirety of the events of the Time War, preventing anything from getting into it. While the show has proven that you can in fact get in and out of it, Williams plays up the mystery of how a companion of the War Doctor could be interacting with the current Doctor. He also plays up the Doctor’s anxiety and guilt over his past actions in how he treats his companions, even Alice whom he has recently invited to travel with him. Alice, to her credit, calls the Doctor out on his poor treatment of her. It feels as though Williams is conscious of the criticisms the show is facing right now and adapting them to his own take on the Time Lord.
The art by Warren Pleece starts off well enough, with a rough and sketchy style helping to illustrate the kinetic movement of the story. However, as he goes on he makes some odd anatomy choices such as human heads that are perfect circles or the Doctor’s head being so big it looks like his skull is the height of two human sized ones stacked on top of each other. Its only made more jarring as the beginning of the story Pleece illustrates the human form, while imitating the facial appearance of the actors who played the previous Doctors, in a very faithful manner. Aside from that, he manages to make the backgrounds very detailed and full of objects that look like they were props stolen from the show. The old-school Cyberman is a nice easter egg for the story.
Overall, a nice 11th Doctor story with some spotty art in places, a cliffhanger with real promise and a dream of mine to see realized. The back-up story by Marc Ellerby is a cheeky short about the Christmas Specials that by their nature feel sometimes tired. Combined with the main story, this issue satisfies most of the itches a Whoivan has for the Doctor in comic form.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent