The Doctor and Martha bounce the TARDIS to a planet governed by cat people. The government on this day according to treaty articles will join The Earth Empire. Not everybody's so keen on the transference, and they seem to express their objections violently, but there's a puppeteer behind the protest.
While the story offers a lot of field to play in, Russell strangely doesn't take full advantage of the opportunity that he creates. His normal concentration on the characterization occasionally feels disrupted and leaves the reader with a disjointed feel to an otherwise flowing story that mimics at least the pace of a Doctor Who episode.
Russell incorporates Doctor Who continuity cleverly in the dialogue, and he usually touches it lightly so as not hit the reader with an unnecessary infodump. An example of this occurs when Martha makes an off-the-cuff remark. The Doctor takes that comment naturally into his immediate past and his comedic encounter with Martha's mother. The Doctor doesn't have much luck when dealing with the mothers of his companions; it's a running joke in the series. On the flip-side, sometimes Russell dangerously approaches parody by playing up idiosyncrasies that David Tennant has imprinted to the role. Russell has dealt with Tennant's staccato delivery better in previous issues.
Doctor Who is a beautiful book to look at, especially during the cosmic scenes, but this story doesn't fit with the theme of heroism seen on the show. The Doctor is completely innocuous. He doesn't save the day. Events happen around him as they no doubt would have done had he not arrived. He identifies some things but alters very little from what would be the natural flow of history.
Now that the Time Lords no longer oversee history, time can change literally within an eye-blink. The show establishes this scary chaos. The Doctor changes history for the better. If I wanted to read about a time traveler that's incapable of changing epochs, I'd read the exploits of Booster Gold. I expect better from a book that's a tie-in to Doctor Who.
1000 Year Old Diary
Doctor Who--The longest running science fiction television show in the history of the medium. Doctor Who began in November 1963 continued until 1989, returned to television in 1996, went on hiatus then began anew in 2005.
The Doctor--Half-Human Time Lord. The Doctor always fights on behalf of the innocent and selflessly puts his potentially nigh eternal life at risk. The Time Lords were killed in the Time War. Only the Doctor survived and is often referred to as "The Last of the Time Lords."
TARDIS--Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Bigger on the inside than outside, gifted with chameleon properties, TARDISes were used by Time Lords to travel in time and space. All but three were decommissioned. One belonged to the Doctor, and his TARDIS is forever stuck in the shape of a police box; blue police telephone kiosks that were popular in England during the nineteen fifties. The Doctor however likes it that way.
Martha Jones--"The Doctor often travels with an entourage. Sometimes they're human. Sometimes they're alien. Sometimes they're tin-dogs."--Sarah Jane Smith, one of the Doctor's oldest and dearest companions. A medical student that will one day become a physician, Martha Jones is the Doctor's current companion.
The Sonic Screwdriver--The Doctor's jack of all trades device. It's been around since his second incarnation.
The Cat People--The Cat People were introduced in the episode "New Earth."
"The Great and Bountiful Human Empire!"--The Doctor talks a lot about this period of time in which humanity becomes the dominant species in the cosmos and mostly benevolent. He was instrumental in catalyzing the formation of the Empire through the defeat of the Daleks in the episode "Bad Wolf."
The Loch Ness Monster(s)--In the episode "Terror of the Zygons" we learn that Nessie is in fact the Skarasen of the Zygons. The Skarasen as the Doctor indicates in this story is a cyborg. Later in "Time Lash" the Doctor personally sends the lobotomized Borad, a mad scientist turned monster, into the Scottish lake.
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