Tony Fyler says ‘Place Your Bets…’
Weapons of Past Destruction, Part 3.
So let’s see – when we last checked in with the Ninth Doctor, Jack and Rose, they were in an inter-temporal arms fair.
This is not a good time or place to be.
It only existed because of a time bubble protecting the traders from a massive supernova that could, without its protection, go kablooey and kill them all. Depending on how you look at it, this is either really really not a good time or place to be, or it’s a spectacularly excellent time and place to be. Certainly better than being not protected by a time bubble this close to a supernova, in any case.
There were two warring factions, the Unon (think cyber-centaur and you’re pretty much there) and the Lect (think big metal Kinder Surprise on legs). There were also Gallifreyan weapons for sale that shouldn’t be on sale and our friend the Ninth Doctor just gave a big ‘roll up, roll up’ speech, offering his brain and its lovely juicy Time Lord secrets to the highest bidder.
Let’s play a game of ‘How Bad Can Things Possibly Get?’ shall we?
Who wants to put 20 bucks on ‘Significantly Worse Than This’?
Issue #3 of the Ninth Doctor comic, written by long-time comic nerd and frequent audio and book-writer Cavan Scott, and drawn by the fabulously-named and also, as it turns out, fabulously talented Blair Shedd, ups the ante almost immediately when it all kicks off between the Kinder boys and the cyber-cavalry as they each try to get at the creamy Time Lordy goodness in the Doctor’s head. Also, you remember how good it was to be behind a time bubble this close to a supernova?
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…
Then of course the Doctor gets killed. As usual.
Jack faffs about with his vortex manipulator – and yes, that’s what the cool kids are calling it these days – so that, for one awful, joyful moment…ahhh, but no, that would be a spoiler.
Lots of treats for the reference-hunter are crammed into this issue – time tots, the Rani, the Corsair, they’re all here. What’s much more important are the voices of the main characters, which get better issue by issue – the Doctor gives a speech here that could only be delivered by the Eccleston Doctor, Jack is jusssst about on the right side of annoying with his aphorisms and smartassery, and Rose is all spunk and gumption, like she was in the time of the Ninth Doctor, so the character feels authentic.
The plot moves along smartly too – particularly once the Doctor’s been shot dead. As it turns out, being dead’s a great way to move the story along. We discover a Big Bad, uncover what they want and why they want it, have a good deal of sassy Ninth Doctor fun and, along the way, get an excuse for a piece of artwork from Shedd that you’re going to want to blow up to poster size and slap right on your wall. Page 18, if you’re interested. Pure class.
Shedd’s work throughout has a kind of digital crispness and clarity – it’s almost like a Blu-Ray comic-book, which means much of the imaginative work is done for you, and you can just revel. So enjoy – revel all you like. Scott’s handle on the characters is assured, Shedd delivers the imagery to bring scope and power to the story – there are a number of great page-panels here, besides Page 18. Just saying – 18’s the one to skip ahead to. And the storyline, which began with a first issue relying heavily on the artwork and the novelty of the Ninth Doctor in comic-books, is becoming something really interesting in its own right the more layers are peeled off it – there are at least a couple that go in this issue, meaning the action advances enough to satisfy the plot-junkies.
But one word of warning: if you’re going to bail on the Ninth Doctor in comic books, don’t pick up this issue. If you do, you’re lost – the hooks that were in the last issue go in much deeper here, meaning if you get this one, you’re probably stuck following this particular adventure all the way to its end. So choose wisely.
Actually yes – choose wisely. Pick it up, surrender yourself to the return of the Ninth Doctor and remember – Page 18.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk