Monday, February 9, 2015

'Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor' Issue #7 Weeps With The Angels

The last issue of Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, introduced a new creative team and kicked off the most grim, desolate of these new adventures of David Tennant’s version of the venerable Time Lord. Now they’re back with Issue #7, “The Weeping Angels of Mons.” Trapped on the front lines of World War I, and if things weren’t bad enough, they go from bad to worse as one of the Doctor’s most sinister foes has tagged along for a ride.

After getting blown up by a mortar and imprisoned as German spies, it doesn’t get any easier for the Doctor and his latest travelling companion, Gabby Gonzalez. Not only do the British forces want to throw them in front of a firing squad—one officer in particular might just dispense with that formality in his office unless he can control his temper—but there are angles about. And these aren’t the kind of angles you want to be touched by, no, these are Weeping Angels, and they’ve come to hunt.

The bulk of the action of Issue #7 is spent dealing with these dual threats. First, they have to navigate an untrusting, hostile military authorities, which, as you can imagine, is no easy task. Then, after they have to deal with the Angels, which is quite harrowing as well, as they can send you back to random terrible points in history where you’re likely to be dismembered by gladiators, involved in an epic train crash, or maybe even burned at the stake as a witch. None of those sound like a particularly good time.

Like the previous creative team, the latest group—including writer Robbie Morrison and artist Daniel Indro—has broken their story down into smaller sections. In many other comics, this adventure would be one issue, but instead of one page worth of running, that’s basically the entire issue. This allows them to take their time and instead of simple action, you still get a lot of character work within the more up-tempo scenes. There’s not just war, but time for the Doctor to expound on his theories and ideas about war and the various problems and issues therein.

Both the story as well as the art bring a new level of grittiness. This is a Doctor Who story, and contains all of the various elements that you know and expect from such a tale, but it’s also about war. Terrible things happen in war, dark, brutal things, and the aesthetic and storytelling reflect this reality.  There’s a gravity to this particular adventure, and the installments that are to come—we’ll be getting at least one more issue from this particular arena, likely more.

This air of seriousness is a welcome contrast to the likes of The Eleventh Doctor, which is as bouncy and cartoony as Matt Smith’s run at the control of the TARDIS. You still get the sense of adventure and fun that you’re looking for out of a Doctor Who comic, but there’s more depth, both in the characters and story, and there’s just more to sink your teeth into. And that is why The Tenth Doctor has become, and remains, the best of Titan Comics’ continuing slate of Doctor Who comics.

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