Doctor Who: The Immortal Emperor

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Andrew East heads East...

In The Immortal Emperor, the Doctor and Donna arrive in ancient China at the time of the first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They discover he's part terracotta automaton and being controlled by an alien, defeat the alien, Meng, and leave.

This was the first time I had read this short comic strip from the Doctor Who 2009 Storybook, and like many of these one shot strips, the substance is fairly shallow. However, the backdrop of ancient China and the familiar terracotta army immediately provide a vibrant and exciting tone.

The plot device of using Donna's phone (presumably ramped up Time Lord style ala Rose's and Martha's) to phone Wilf and block the signal controlling the terracotta robots is a little too simple, but in a short story like this, it probably needed to be.

Historically we see the Great Wall of China (which is not finished much to Donna's chagrin) and the Emperor's palace, although I'm not sure whether it's particularly accurate to portray the first Emperor as half terracotta robot! However, a bit of wikipedia reveals that the Emperor's references to assassination attempts and his desire to discover the Elixir of Life are historical facts. Oddly, though, the Doctor's comment about his unexplained disappearance doesn't seem to be supported by the same article.

This strip was a fun little diversion. The artwork is not great in capturing the likenesses of Tennant or Tate, but depicts Ancient China believably, particularly the massive terracotta army. It's a shame that the intriguing image of the terracotta army is slightly squandered on a short comic strip like this, as it's a subject which is surely worthy of a full length novel or audio, but then previously used ideas have never been off limits to future writers, so who knows.

A primary school teacher and father of two, Andrew finds respite in the worlds of Doctor Who, Disney and general geekiness. Unhealthily obsessed with Lance Parkin’s A History, his Doctor Who viewing marathon is slowly following Earth history from the Dawn of Time to the End of the World. He would live in a Disney theme park if given half the chance.

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