This is the final volume of Doctor Who Magazine's run of Eighth Doctor stories featuring the Paul McGann incarnation of everyone's favourite Time Lord and it's safe to say that he goes out with a bang!
As with Oblivion, the previous volume, the strips are in colour. It's a very rich colour that's sometimes a little strong but still quite well done and the art, which is by a diverse number of hands including Roger Langridge, Mike Collins, Antony Williams, John Ross and Martin Geraghy is generally high quality that convinces you you are in a real world and not in a world of exaggerated bodies as super hero books generally do.
The writing is also a little more diverse in terms of authors, with Gareth Roberts, writer of tv episode, the Shakespeare Code, turning in a story of football in the 70s and intergalactic amoebae. The majority of stories however are in the safe hands of Scott Gray, who guides the Doctor through some companionless adventures at a space bar, in Ancient Egypt in a story with links to the TV story Pyramids of Mars, an encounter with Springheeled Jack, a pulp character of Victorian London, a meeting with his "grandchildren", an encounter in the Wild West with werewolves and an old acquaintance from the earlier volumes who becomes his new companion, a visit to a space hospital to fight alien monkeys and an epic battle with the Cybermen. Cybermen from the future, all powered up. There's also at least one cameo appearance from an old friend of the Doctor's (in his sixth incarnation) which will be fun for diehard fans, but which may confuse or just have no impact on newer readers.
The stories are breathless fun and the characterisation of the Doctor deepens. The title story, the Flood, is a big, end of season story with story elements that duplicate but actually predate story elements from one of the endings of the new show.
As usual the "extras", the author's notes on the stories, are almost as much fun as the stories themselves, this time especially as we learn that the comic strip had been offered the chance to regenerate McGann into Eccleston but in the end turned the opportunity down. We even get a glimpse of how it would have been done. (Interestingly, it would have made those parallels with a certain season finale even more apparent.) Ultimately they turned it down, and we're told why, so to find out you need to buy this book.
Really, I can't recommend this or the previous books enough. They have the same energy as the new TV series with two advantages, these stories can go anywhere and they can take as long as they need to tell the story. The tics of the Doctor aren't so well pronounced that you can hear McGann saying the lines, but the character is recognisable in shorthand with a nice sense of humour apparent.
on 12 January 2011
This final instalment of the eighth Doctor's comic adventures leaves nothing to be desired. A thoroughly enjoyable read which picks up where the last issue left off and finishes with a well-thought-out ending for Paul McGann's Doctor. I, for one, will miss him.