Written by: Si Spurrier
Art by: Warren Pleece
Publisher: Titan Comics
The cast of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor has seen quite a few changes in its second year. Jones and Arc are out, replaced with the mysterious Squire and the heavily violent Abslom Daak. Writer Al Ewing too has been replaced by Si Spurrier as one of the writers of the series. Despite this however, the series has managed to maintain its impressive level of quality and has so far added a bunch of new wrinkles to the Doctor Who mythos, while still remain a fantastic story in its own right.
During their escape from the here and now and their own pursuit of the master, the doctor runs into a group of sontarans in the middle of a war over beards. He takes the opputunity to crush a few birds with one stone while also clearing up a few of the current arc’s mysterious with Alice. This is a much slower issue than I anticipated, after the reveal of the master at the end of the last issue, I was expecting some sort of conflict or a faster paced story, instead, this issue feels more like a breather, clearing up some questions and setting up dominos before the big confrontation. It’s not necessairily a bad thing, just a little unexpected, given how fast the pace of this series has been so far. While I was disappointed the Master didn’t appear in the issue, his impact on the story is far better than an appearance itself. You can see his machinations behind the scenes in a few clever nods to the classic Delegado master, something that pleased the fanboy in me and also suited the character’s acts of manipulations. While he never appears, his presence is definitely felt, making for a very cleverly written issue.
Since there’s a little bit more breathing room this issue, some of the new cast also get a nice bit of development. Abslom Daak gets the best of the benefits, serving so far as a nice tie to the original comics of Doctor Who Magazine, he gets a little bit more depth granted to him this issue than chainsword wielding maniac (even if really that’s all it took to make me love the character). What’s a little uncomfortable is his potential romantic interests with longtime companion Alice, originally it’s played as a joke which works quite well, but by the end it almost seems like there’s genuine affection. It just feels a little out of character for the two and I’m hoping nothing serious comes of it. On the plus side, the surprise ending of the comic was certainly eyebrow raising. It’s something that’ll either make you cheer or groan based on your personal opinion, but it certainly promises to make the next issue very exciting indeed.
Overall, The Eleventh Doctor is still continuing to be one of the best avenues for Doctor Who fans. There’s a fantastic understanding of the material and they’re not afraid to play with some of the more interesting elements of the lore in order to tell a good story. While this issue wasn’t really what I expected, it is still a great read that keeps the momentum of the series going. If you haven’t been reading this series and are a Doctor Who fan then you’re missing out on some of the best stories being told in this universe.