Collects Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #6-10
Synopsis: The Doctor takes his newest companion, Gabby Gonzalez to Paradise. Or at least he wanted to before the TARDIS decides to take a little detour and spits them out on the muddy battlefield that is World War I. As if the trenches of the Western Front weren’t dangerous enough already, they discover that it’s not just humans that are taking lives. With the TARDIS lost during a bombardment the Doctor and Gabby face the Weeping Angels with a classic tactic: running.
What a dragon thinks: After loving the first volume I immediately had to get my greedy hands on the second one. Again there are two separate stories. The Angel-Arc and a sort of minisode back in New York. The writers and artists were different for each arc and I’m going to talk about that in a minute. All in all, I wasn’t as happy with this collection for a number of reasons but the story wasn’t one of them.
The Doctor and Gabby find themselves in no-man’s-land and have just enough time to realise where and when they are before bombs start to drop. Gabby drags an injured Doctor to the nearest trench which had just moments before been taken by British soldiers. In the nearby town of St. Michel all that is left of the German soldiers are the men in the lazaret. At first I didn’t understand why they would have withdrawn without their injured until it hit me that the Germans hadn’t retreated at all …
They call them the Weeping Angels, except they don’t so much weep as snarl psychotically … and there’s nothing angelic about them.
Oh, and never, ever take your eyes off them!
As usual, the Doctor quickly takes command of the situation when one of the wounded Germans starts to scream at them not to blink. Realising who they’re up against, the Doctor does everything he can to keep Gabby and a last handful of soldiers alive. Don’t blink.
Let’s talk about the Lonely Assassins. I love the Weeping Angels, they are fantastically creepy and I really loved them in this comic. They were really well-drawn and while the overly detailed art style didn’t do much for the humans, the angels seemed to come right off the page. Now, wouldn’t that be scary? Some of the panels were truly terrifying! The Angels fit into WWI as if they had never been anywhere else. A few (hundred? thousand? million? billion?) statues covering their eyes in apparent mourning at the loss of so many lives but actually taking them.
Where for four years, four months and four days, millions of people – men, women and children – lost their lives, many of the bodies never found? Where else would the Angels be?
It’s the perfect hunting ground …
Now, I’ve mentioned it already but I wasn’t overwhelmed by this collection. My biggest problem with the Angel-Arc was the art style. It’s heavy and gritty and overly detailed. There are too many lines in people’s faces and for my taste there is too much cross-hatching on the clothes and in the background. The Doctor’s face is not really recognisable – he is an entirely different man. Grimmer and angrier and he looks a lot older. It got me wondering if he had been like that during the Time War.
I think that the art style fits the story perfectly, though. I know, I know. First she doesn’t like it then she says it’s great. She should make up her mind. But listen. War isn’t clean or light or heroic. It’s messy and heavy and gritty. I understand you couldn’t use a light-hearted style in this case because that would be ridiculous and in my opinion distort the horrors of war. It’s perfect – unfortunately not really what I like.
While I didn’t like the down-to-every-crease-style I also wasn’t fond of how Gabby lacks exactly that. She and the other women who briefly appear have glossy, perfect faces with no creases as well as the same mouth, nose and eyes. I was not happy with how Gabby was drawn in general. She doesn’t resemble the Gabby I got to know in the first volume. Why is she drawn in overly feminine poses that make her boobs and butt stick out – literally? It’s a rhetorical question, no need to answer it. I admit it is not as bad as in a lot of other comics and I understand that everyone has their own style but after seeing what Elena Casagrande managed in the first volume, ‘Revolutions of Terror’, I am a bit disappointed.
The ending of the Angel-Arc reminded me of the episode ‘Family of Blood’ but I liked it. It evoked a nice feeling of nostalgia.
The tenth issue of this collection is as I have already announced sort of a minisode written by Robbie Morrison who is also responsible for the story in the Angel-Arc. However, ‘Echo’ is drawn by Eleonora Carlini and I was very relieved to have left the cross-hatching behind. I really liked how she drew Gabby! You guessed it – no curves sticking out.
The Doctor and Gabby have just returned from World War I when New York is invaded by aliens again. Seriously, they are so punctual! I won’t say much because the issue is only a few pages long and I don’t want to spoil anything. The story was okay-ish as it had really silly aliens and reminded me too much of the very first adventure the Doctor and Gabby experienced together. However, it was really nice to have a filler such as this one right after the brutal and horrifying trip to the trenches of WWI. Gabby was awesome in this one and I liked how she took control of the situation.
Favourite characters: The Doctor, Gabby
Conclusion: Two very fast-paced adventures: one gritty and drawn in an art style I wasn’t overly enjoying but with a really great story, the other with a more light-hearted style and okay-ish story. Has this discouraged me? Absolutely not! There are episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ I don’t enjoy as much as others and here it’s just the same. The third volume is already ordered and under way!
Details about the book:
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Illustrators: Daniel Indro & Eleonora Carlini /Echo: Eleonora Carlini
Colorists: Slamet Mujiono & Hi-Fi/ Echo: Hi-Fi
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Publishing House: Titan Comics
Date of publication: September 1st 2015