Current Reviews


Doctor Who #13

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2010
By: Ray Tate

Tony Lee
Matthew Dow Smith, Charlie Kirchoff (c)
IDW Publishing
"Final Sacrifice" (part 1: Extraordinary Travellers)

The Torchwood Institute of the early 20th century is up to no good. They've hired a scientist at Oxford to cobble together a Stargate from leftover Cybermen and H.G. Wells Martian tech parts. The result is a working time-space machine. Unfortunately for Torchwood agents Robert and Eliza, they've unwittingly stepped into a trap set by the Doctor's archnemesis the Advocate. Can the Doctor free the Earth people and his erstwhile companion Matthew Finnegan from the Advocate's clutches? While there's a lot of continuity exposition in this issue of Doctor Who that could have been more elegantly related, there's as well a lot in the issue's favor.

Tony Lee and Matthew Dow Smith offer ample evidence that the Advocate is off her rocker. In previous issues, we learned that the good, pro-Doctor Advocate was teleported into the Time War by her future-self. Thus, she becomes an ouroborous. Still, in her evil form, she exhibited behavior that, while amoral, might still be considered by some sane.

The returning Matthew Dow Smith presents the Advocate as the queen of a miserable planet, its inhabitants caught in a civil war, that I have a sneaking suspicion will give rise to the Tef'aree, transdimensional spider people introduced in a previous issue. Anyways, maybe it's because I'm an American, but nothing represents insanity more than some nut wearing a crown. Brits however grew up with with the concept of royalty, and for them Dow Smith makes certain that every one of the Advocate's gestures and expressions witness madness.

In addition to the characterization of the Advocate, Lee and Dow Smith continue to replicate David Tenant's performance to the pages. The Doctor startles you with an undercurrent of anger in his sense of wonder antics. He acts childish, needling the enemy every chance he gets. He does not suffer fools. He exhibits compassion when faced with death, and through signature sparse linework, Dow Smith captures the essence of the Doctor. Charlie Kirchoff's coloring furthermore facilitates the illusion of a Doctor Who episode rather than a comic book based on the show.

Lee, Dow Smith and Kirchoff still aren't done with the reader. Emily, the Doctor's companion, in a standout scene confronts Matthew and reveals a smart off panel plot twist. Two old enemies become allies and the Advocate is just getting started in her pathological quest to extinguish the Last of the Time Lords.

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