A lost and powerless cargo ship, trapped in a decaying orbit above a blazing sun. A crew slowly disappearing one by one. Numerous signs pointing to someone who shouldn’t be there living in the cargo bay.
Someone… or something?
It’s a typical mystery by The Doctor’s standards. The sort of thing he might knock-off as a warm-up before saving a planet or two. What makes this mystery unusual, however, is the wide number of potential suspects. The ship’s cargo includes 500 Heavenly Hosts – the angelic but easily corrupted service robots The Doctor once fought on the Starship Titanic. They aren’t the only angels on board, however, as the cargo bay is also hiding at least one Weeping Angel – the lonely assassins whose touch can send a target back in time!
As if things couldn’t get worse, The Doctor fell victim to the Weeping Angel and is now somewhere and somewhen else. Missy – the current female incarnation of The Doctor’s greatest enemy The Master – has stolen The TARDIS. And now Blon Fel-Fotch – a former enemy of The Doctor’s from Raxacoricofallapatorius – has arrived leading a platoon of the rhino-like mercenaries known as The Judoon. She claims to be working for The Shadow Proclamation now, but can she be trusted? And do Bill and Nardole really have a choice with at least one Weeping Angel still on the loose?
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Generally, I’ve enjoyed Titan Comics’ Doctor Who books and The Twelfth Doctor title in particular. Unfortunately, the quality took a recent nosedive in the wake of the current story arc, A Confusion of Angels. The first two parts of this storyline were plagued by artwork that seemed to be half-finished, with differing levels of detail and different thicknesses of inks used to depict characters in the same panel.
Artist Pasquale Qualano takes over with this issue, but proves to be equally lackluster in different ways. Most famous for his work on various titles in the Grimm Fairy Tales line, the only thing stopping Qualano from indulging in gratuitous cheesecake is the fact that there’s only one character (the ship’s engineer, who looks oddly like Zero Suit Samus) who has the proper proportions for such a thing and she’s barely in the issue. Mind you, that doesn’t stop Qualano from depicting Missy (of all people) in a suggestive pose!
This is small potatoes compared to Qualano’s other artistic failings. Panels are obviously and lazily recycled, with only a twitch of the lip distinguishing them. There are numerous perspective gaffes and oddly rendered panels where two scenes are separated by a close-up on a character’s face. There are dozens of just plain odd expressions that don’t match the action of the scene or the emotion indicated by the dialogue. Worst of all are the eyes, which seem to have been randomly drawn onto the characters without any sense of proportion to the rest of their faces!
This doesn’t do Richard Dinnick’s script any favors, but he’s far from delivering his best work either. The story here is far too busy, with too many threats to keep track of and the supporting characters largely having the personality of cardboard cut-outs even by the standards of the classic Doctor Who “base under siege” story. There’s too much peril in the plot to allow for time for establishing the cliche “trigger happy soldier” or “generic tough chick” personalities one would expect in this sort of story.
The only thing that makes this comic worth reading is the fact that Dinnick’s script has just enough clever ideas to make it worth muddling through the action sequences, despite the confusion generated by Qualano’s poor sense of blocking. Even then, only the most devout of Doctor Who fans who wanted to learn the fate of Blon Fel-Fotch after Boom Town will want to bother with this book.
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #12 releases February 14, 2018.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.