I had a bit of a thought to do these for the comic book trades by storyline instead of by trade. There were actually two stories here, but I figured it would be less confusing to do it by trade.
For now at least.
But hey, this one was much improved on the first. The artwork was better, the writing worked better, and the story took advantage of the fact that it came out long after the Ninth Doctor’s TV run ended, so that means there’s some knowledge of events no one had written yet when the Ninth Doctor was doing his thing.
That comes more into play in the second storyline, so I suppose I’ll say something about that one first: the TARDIS gets a phone call, and the Doctor drops it down in San Francisco to see who called. It’s someone the Doctor doesn’t want to see at all, namely Mickey “the Idiot” Smith. But this is an older Mickey, one who more than redeemed himself in the Doctor’s eyes and married former companion Martha Jones. She’s also hanging around…sort of. The Mickey reveal leads to a rather fun scene where Mickey, knowing there’s a regeneration ahead for this Doctor, basically says that when he made the call to the TARDIS, he was hoping for the “other one,” not the one that always called him an idiot. Of course, this Mickey knows just enough about time travel to know he can’t tell the Doctor too much despite the Doctor’s questioning, and that Mickey can’t let Rose or Jack see him. Little nods go from there. Martha has been half-transformed into a gargoyle-like creature, and though she can’t speak, the Doctor tells Mickey he can explain how the TARDIS works to her at one point, only for Mickey to more or less say she already knows in a way that the Doctor might not catch.
Oh, and the gargoyle thing: some sort of radiation is giving people superpowers, but then other people keep disappearing. It turns out that the gargoyles are the last step in the mutation, and Jack and the Doctor both realize someone is using a very crude form of teleportation in the area, and that if something isn’t done soon, the process will spread. Plus, going full gargoyle is permanent. Oh, and Rose is flying now.
But the first story actually does something the TV show often had trouble with: told a good Slitheen story. The Slitheen worked much better as adversaries to Sarah Jane Smith on her show for younger viewers, but this one has the Doctor land on a planet where he’s a celebrated TV star. Some Slitheen stole his image and made a TV show about the adventures of the Doctor. There’s some talk there about how the Slitheen perfected a method to use a skinny person’s skin without killing anyone, so the Doctor won’t be skinned in the future, and the rest of the Slitheen’s kind show up. Turns out the one posing as the Doctor wasn’t looking for trouble, just a place to hide, and other members of her race are far more treacherous and looking to pin a crime on this last Slitheen. Really, this works much better than, say, all the fart jokes that the Slitheen normally generate when this Doctor is hanging around.
Ultimately, this volume gets the Ninth Doctor right. His high-handedness is more on display (how he always calls Mickey an idiot for example) while also taking advantage of the whole of Doctor Who history to tell stories that, for a wide variety of reasons, couldn’t have been told before.
I mean, it looks like the next trade has the Doctor going back in time to the early days of UNIT to, among other things, meet the Brigadier.
Weekend Trek “Ship In A Bottle”
Vikings: Valhalla “Pieces Of The Gods”
Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #52 (September, 1967)