4 Stars overall
This is a fairly well put together book. I like the size, though it must be hard to find space for it on some bookshelves. It’s height translates to large, detailed images that show off the illustrators’ excellent work while also making the text easy to read. The pages didn’t feel like they were going to fall out and the paperback cover seems rather sturdy. There are eight stories in here, most two parters that are given a chance to tell a good story. From here on, we will look at each one individually.
The Betrothal of Sontar:
Our old friends the Sontarans are back and the Doctor and Rose walk right into their hands. The leader of the soldiers on this ninth circle planet is…nuttier then a fruitcake and the Doctor is torn between helping the lunatic to save their lives and running as fast as he can the other way. We get to meet a ‘good’ Sontaran, predictably seen as a defect by the ‘normal’ ones, and together the three of them attempt to stop crazy potato head from destroying not only the planet but other parts of the galaxy as well.
My one problem with this particular story, which is well written and well-drawn (give up all thoughts that ANYONE can illustrate the female characters like Jackie and Rose well), is some of the images are…disturbing. The end one is particularly brutal and there are a couple others that are a bit…much. That is more of a personal issue, so I’m sure most will have no problem but I feel I should mention it.
Ah, Mickey. A character that was often sadly underused. Here he is front and center as he narrates a weekend from Hell with the Doctor as his temporary lodger until Rose and the TARDIS return from a mistaken time sojourn. This is rather familiar to Matt Smith’s episode with from the fifth season called…well would you look at that, by timey-whimey coincidence it’s called the Lodger too. They even have a football game in this and he talks Mickey’s current girl into making something of herself too. Wow. I’m suddenly really underwhelmed.
The best part is the end when the Doctor sets up Rose to spend time with just Mickey after the guy blows up at him. I will admit, it’s rather cute.
FYI, I just found out that the episode was based on this comic script that was written by the same guy. He basically wanted to see the Doctor live a day as a ‘normal’. I feel a bit better now.
This has to be one of my favs of this book, though it becomes rather disturbing after a while. We see two teens arguing over non-copyright but obviously supposed to be pop culture references. As they do so, rather strange things wander in and out of the ‘normal’ London street and though the boy makes mention of the…strangeness, he seems remarkably calm about it. Just as he talks about needing someone clever to explain it, we see the TARDIS appear. Rose and the Doctor quickly realize that all is not as it seems and they try to solve the problem.
This ends up being more complicated and involved then either could believe. The world around them is not as it seems and it is controlled by someone who either doesn’t acknowledge it or who then uses it for less than stellar means. The Doctor doesn’t have all the facts, will he figure it out in time?
My major problem with this, though again the story and illustrations are quite good, is that I had figured out the final big twist really early on. Also, I found the fact that the boy’s dead at birth twin would seek his death extremely dark and scary. I feel that this was almost treated flippantly and certainly not addressed as it should have been. Too, did anyone else think the teacher who helped Rose looked a lot like Wonder Woman or is it just me?
Now this is Doctor Who at his finest! My favorite type of Doctor Who story is where you learn something, particularly concerning history as he romps across time and space. Here we discover (at least I did because I’d never heard about this before) an art and design movement in Italy after WWI that morphed into Mussolini’s fascists. While the story takes precedence, the reader does learn a good bit as well as sees where many of their ideals would inevitably lead no matter if (spoiler: crazy time jellies) mess with ‘history’ or not. The author also touches on another historical incident, I think. I believe the Roman legion they meet in Britain might be the Ninth that supposedly mysteriously disappeared but when I looked back over it, I couldn’t find where I got that from. So, that might not be accurate. The illustrations are REALLY good in this story with Rose looking…close to how she should (closer than any other story here) and the scenery is PERFECT. When the Doctor, Rose, and their friend find themselves in an Italian landscape that has built up decades in seconds, the ghost citadel left is beautiful and haunting. The incidental characters really shine in this and the baddies are interesting and kind of scary. All in all, an A+ story.
Ok, this was just weird. Not bad, necessarily, though it didn’t do much for me personally but it was very crazy. The TARDIS arrives on a weird spaceship carrying an Interstellar rock band that has seen better days. Crazy shenanigans happened as well as timey-whimey stuff. There is a bit of a mystery, though not much, and things come out all right in the end.
Ok, my biggest issue was the Zombie/Bane stiff walking around saying basically prerecorded phrases. Their explanation was even worse ever heard of desecration of a corpse, future creepy people and, oh of course he’d play a major part! Why wouldn’t you want a walking corpse to be one of your main characters?! Seriously? .
All told, not my favorite story of the bunch.
Opera of Doom
A one part story that REALLY should have been longer. Rose and the Doctor arrive at a futuristic city where a strange opera house looms over large crowds of street musicians, trying to earn enough money to experience the Automatic Orchestra. Each night is a new production and is a must see. However, the Doctor recognizes the machine as something nefarious (doesn’t he always?) and with a local musician who can’t play but the Doctor knows as one of best musicians of all time aiding them, they discover the horrible truth about the Automatic Orchestra. And yes, I totally guessed that the bad musician would be magically gifted talents before the end of the story. A bit predictable but a fun read.
The Green-Eyed Monster
Sigh. Can we pretend this copy magically did not contain this story?
The story is not…bad. And yes, my biggest issue was the illustration style. I…dislike…cartoony comic figures of real people with enlarged teeth. The Japanese enlarged eyes of manga are okay but something about teeth…shudder. So I was already disposed to be less than pleased with this but then the story…it just wasn’t for me. The idea of jealousy eating bug in the ear while a bit creepy was actually interesting as was how they fix it but the scene where the Doctor kisses Jackie was not cool; sorry.
Just, all in all, this story didn’t do much for me. The best thing about it was that it was short.
The Warkeeper’s Crown
Wow. Just wow.
Okay, that sums that up.
Seriously, though this is easily the best story of the collection. The fact that the Brigadier makes a wonderful appearance is the tip of the iceberg in an epic yet sad story about an alien civilization that is trapped in a constant state of war. The old ‘warkeeper’ is dying and the Brigadier with his military knowledge is supposed to take his place with the Doctor as his companion (some irony there). Needless to say the Doctor is less than thrilled and his friend isn’t any keener on the whole situation. As one would expect, there is a lot more going on than at first meets the eye and the issue does spill over onto Earth. This is a must read for Tenth Doctor fans as well as fans of the original series as the Brigadier plays such a great role in this story.
Quite a good series of comics involving the 10th Doctor and Rose. Some are, in my opinion, better than others but all the stories are rather fun and many are very interesting and thought provoking. I'd recommend this for Doctor Who lovers who like comics and/or especially like the 10th Doctor and Rose.