Tony’s searching for a word…
That’s the word for this issue.
Bear with us, we’re not being pervy.
When you’ve been waiting for something, and waiting, and waiting, and then you get it, that’s orgasmic. Like waking up on Christmas morning after waiting for it all year, or arriving at the Doctor Who Experience having asked at least a hundred times ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ – orgasmic. Conclusive. Satisfactory.
This issue is the culmination of an awful lot of teasing, and sub-plots, and build-up. The thing you’ve been waiting for since the enormous slab of Toblerone appeared in the skies above New York? It’s here. It’s now.
The trouble with trying to write spoiler-free reviews of course is that there’s every chance you won’t know what it is that you’re missing unless we spell it right out for you.
Listen. If you’ve bought no other issue of the Tenth Doctor comic-books this year, BUY THIS ONE.
Once you’ve bought this one, you can go back and fill yourself in with alllllll the build-up, the what-now?, the ‘we’re just going to tease you by going on an entirely sideways adventure that has nothing to do with what you’re really interested in. There’s plenty of that spread across the second year of the Tenth Doctor’s adventures. But there’s some meat too, with which you’ll need to acquaint yourself in order to fully understand what’s going on in this issue. But notwithstanding that, BUY THIS ISSUE ANYWAY.
How to sum up all the build-up for you if you’re just joining us: there’s an ancient, Classic villain, and that villain had a son. For the longest time, the son has been trying to disavow his father’s legacy and reputation, and the Doctor, Cindy and Gabby have been helping him with a plan to join the rest of his people, who are, shall we say, somewhat radically out of town.
How to sum up the action of this issue, whether you’re just joining us or not: DADDY’S HOME.
The full on, full cream, unpasteurised, raw red meat return of this Classic villain in comic-book form, steeped in its own sociology, rather than what it left behind it, is a cause for jumping up and down and hugging a Whovian. The villain always had enormous potential for further exploration, but it needed a bit of a five yard bodyswerve or an example of deus ex machina malarkey to make such further exploration work, given how they were finished off the last time the Doctor encountered them.
Step forward Nick Abadzis with a combination of both – a literal sidestep out of an unbreakable plotting prison, and a solution borrowed somewhat wholeheartedly from the likes of JK Rowling and on-screen Who itself. It’s a solution that’s almost mumbled in among the action, so as to minimise the time we spend scrutinising it, but there are two ways of looking at this – we can either accept that DADDY’S HOME and rejoice in the hominess of him, and the freedom that gives us to have new adventures trying to defeat him, or we can stare at the reasons WHY he’s home and go ‘Well, how does that work, then?’, robbing ourselves of the pleasure of the return and making everybody’s lives just that little bit poorer and more sad in the process.
The story of this issue is high on technobabble – there are MacGuffins of Ultimate Wossnameness from the dawn of time and through an available black hole, there’s a lot of Tenth Doctor running, but really, the highlights of this issue belong to the bad guys.
Yes, guys, plural, because in a bold storytelling move, Abadzis has had Ye Olde Classic Ultimate Evil team up with new baddies on the block from both the on-screen show (Classic and New), and the more recent comic-book past, and you’ll have a fanboy fit or a geekgirl giggle when you spot them all – and yes, before they arrive, you’ll get a shudder at the mention of where they’re coming from, because it too has roots in the on-screen show, and you’ll know immediately who you THINK is trapped in there.
Daddy Badness though has one of those City of Deathlike plots to make himself whole again, after having to resort to some Scaroth tactics to survive the bind the Doctor put him into. And as we run towards the cliff-hanger of this issue, that’s where we are, in what feels like solid episode 3 cliff-hanger territory, the big trick achieved, the big trap sprung, and Daddy Badness marching on to see the madness of his plan completed.
While the main triumph of this issue belongs to Abadzis, simply by virtue of finally giving us what we’ve been waiting for for so many issues, let’s by no means underestimate the contribution Giorgia Sposito makes to the thrills this time round – both in terms of delivering a faithful version of Daddy Madness that makes your fingers itch, on top of all the character and background richness that keeps the world of this story alive and vibrant, and also in terms of the Allies of Badness as they stream into view, giving that shiver of anticipation and thrill as we understand who MIGHT be coming, and who we see turning up to give the Doctor and his gang a hard time while the Plan of Ultimate Badness is prosecuted.
All in all, in case you didn’t read the early paragraphs of this review, BUY THIS ISSUE. Even if you don’t generally like the Tenth Doctor comics. Even if you hate the Tennant incarnation. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. Buy this one for the rock and roll thrill of seeing the full-on return of one of Classic Who’s finest – and what he does when he gets here.
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