Titan Comics: Doctor Who MISSY #2 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Titan Comics: Doctor Who MISSY #2 Review

Tony’s a fly on the wall as Missy faces her past – and possibly her future.
The opening issue of the Missy comic-book from Titan Comics made a few things clear about the tone of the piece. From Missy’s perspective, it’s set during Series 10 of Doctor Who, when she’s supposed to be – and might even actually be – clawing her way back towards what the Doctor would call redemption. Somewhere during that time, she steals the Tardis and runs off to have an adventure of her own.

While having it, if we can believe a word she says, she comes across an unbreakable, unpickable, uncrackable lock for which she used to have a key, with an interesting cosmic treasure on the other side. She no longer has the key, or the memories of where it is. And so she stages a jailbreak to release an accomplice from an increasingly familiar space prison.

Things go…less well than might be expected. The jailbreak itself is fine, until banter and swordplay get in the way.

It’s probably worth revealing at this point that Missy is busily doing that World Enough And Time…thing, where she swans into places, announcing herself to be “Doctor Who.” If it grated on you on-screen, there’s no reason to think it won’t do the same here, especially because her genuine grasp of why the Doctor does what they do frequently plays hopscotch back and forth between alarmingly insightful and plain lazy, as if, in and of itself, the name of the Doctor should be enough to make the little creatures of the universe scurry off about their business and leave her to her machinations. That’s a very Missy perspective.

It’s also worth mentioning that for the vast majority of issue #2, progress towards the achievement of Missy’s goals continues to be hampered by the need, if we’re to believe in her, for almost endless banter. There’s a little more swordplay, a teensy recapture, a tiny bit of shooting people in the back, and a cameo from someone who has no reason to recognise Missy as Missy, and so lends credence to her lie that she’s the Doctor. There’s very little reason for this cameo (at least very little reason of which we’re currently aware), but it does make a certain sense, for all its briefness. And the fan-fiction boards will go wild if and when they read it.

Here’s the thing. We’re absolutely certain, beyond any doubt, that Jody Houser’s story will go somewhere interesting. It’s already seeded the idea that it will be big and bold and ultimately spectacular, and besides, it’s Jody Houser, which is a pretty solid guarantee of greatness.
It is taking its own sweet time to get somewhere though – most of issue #1 was banter and swordplay, and most of issue #2, for that matter, is banter, swordplay, an unexpected cameo and some walking about. Now, the cameo may well return as something interesting later in the story, or it may not, and simply stand as bait for all the fan-fiction writers. Either way, it’s not until the end of this issue that we leave the space prison and get the premise of the next issue delivered to us on a plate – Missy and the supervillain she broke out of space jail are going to go back through her timeline to find the key to the uncrackable lock.

It’s a very Time Lord solution to having lost and forgotten where you put your keys, and the joy of it of course is that it promises extreme temporal danger, handfuls of shenanigans, and a Kind of Back to the Future II of Missy’s accepted past which can only make us salivate.

But it also makes us wonder, because of where Missy is in her life at this point. Kept under lock and key by the Doctor, seemingly determined to ‘turn good,’ it raises questions of how she will react to any glimpses back along her timeline. Will they, like Scrooge’s ghosts, convince her of the errors of her past ways? Or will they, more like Blackadder’s ghosts, convince her that goodness is overrated and she should stick to what she’s always known?

It will be interesting to find out in issue #3. The content of issue #2 though is more about getting us to the point of launch for that investigation than about delivering swathes of extra plotting. That means the lion’s share of the saleability of this issue falls on artist Roberta Ingranata and colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini to give us something cool to look at while Missy and Co are breaking out of space jail, bantering their faces off, fencing, shooting and eventually deciding on a course of action.

Fortunately, the news is good there – Ingranata and Angiolini give us backgrounds that live and breathe, and characterisations that are familiar. That’s especially important in an issue where apart from the prison staff, almost everyone and everything in the issue has an iconic or signature look. That’s a high-stakes game where you have to deliver, and Ingranata and Angiolini do.
If anyone’s, it’s Angiolini whose work shines through here, the colorwork on many panels giving an almost instant atmosphere to the scene, balancing the the notion of Missy as an as-yet-unseen version of the Doctor with a colour palette which, if we knew she were the Doctor could be warming and comforting, but because we know who she really is comes off as playfully sinister, and even as a warning of what’s to come.

Missy #, issue #2, delivers a lot of characterisation through banter, a little forward momentum, a cameo which as yet is mostly cheer-worthy in its own right, rather than adding to the development of the story, and a destination from which we expect great things in the next instalment. Overall, if you’re expecting rip-roaring adventure, you might feel slightly short-changed from this issue in terms of hardcore story progression. But it looks beautiful, boosts the sense of being rewarded for the ticket price by some believable character dialogue, and does manage to deliver us at the launchpad for bigger strides of adventure in the next issue.

It’s an issue that does crucial things, but does them quietly in the background while we’re busy watching the swordplay and the equally important verbal fencing between some characters we know well – though never in this particular combination or setting. It’s an issue that’s character-and-visual forward, and it rewards you on those levels while the plotting happens – like all the best plotting – under the surface.

Let Missy #2 break you out of your daily routine and set you wondering what she’s really up to, today.

Doctor Who: Missy #2 is available to purchase now.

Tony 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 day, he 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

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