Doctor Who #16

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
"Final Sacrifice" (End Game)

To save a planet, one of the characters in Doctor Who makes the final sacrifice.

I'm an expert on Doctor Who. I have seen every surviving episode from the first broadcast in 1963 through the final episode of the tenth Doctor. Because I'm an expert in Doctor Who, I've become an expert in time travel. I've grown accustomed to time loops, time eddies, and the ever popular tears in the fabric of the time/space continuum. So, normally I can dope out what's going to happen no matter how many Blinovitch Limitation Effects the writers decide to throw at me.

Tony Lee's story surprised me. Sure, I was correct in a very reduced sort of way, but the mechanics and the plot twists arrived unexpected. Every two pages I would say, "Oh, that's clever!" and/or, "Oooo, nice one. Didn't see that coming." I predicted very little of "Final Sacrifice" and that's a rarity for me.

In addition to watching the clock, Lee concentrates on the very core characters in his series of Doctor Who stories. He strengthens the relationship between Emily Winter, Matthew Finnegan, and the Doctor. The situations Lee orchestrates brings out the deep seated feelings of the companions. Faithful readers will remember that when the Doctor and Emily first met, Emily appeared to lose her emotions to an alien machine. We see in a moving scene at the end of the story, they were merely buried. Matthew has spent most of Lee's run being ineffectual or the Advocate's pawn, but as "Final Sacrifice" finishes we see the true nature of Matthew Finnegan.

Lee displays the differences between the Doctor and his whack-job arch-nemesis the Advocate. The blue-skinned alien stays insane to the very last. Her plan is complete lunacy. Even were the Doctor to acquiesce to her demands, the tragedies to come would not be his fault. Being the Doctor of course, he would blame himself, but even this could not be considered a pyrrhic victory for the Advocate, since a Dalek patrol needing expunged would eventually rear up to pull the Doctor out of his funk.

The Doctor is too busy to be introspective for long. He's a man of action, and Matthew Dow Smith, a real find, and Charlie Kirchoff never let you forget that. It's a real challenge for them because this is the explanation issue. This is where the magician reveals the secrets. Therefore, the Doctor isn't winding up clockwork mice, running down corridors or using aikido on a shocked guard. He's mostly subdued, yet the artists keep him animated. Dow Smith's Doctor is never a photorealistic stiff nor a talking head. He's full of life and David Tennant.

This is the last you will see of David Tennant's avatar in Doctor Who, but IDW's claim that this is the final issue of the series is a bit of a fib. Rather, it's the end of the tenth Doctor's reign in the comic books. Long Live the eleventh Doctor January next year.

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