September 26, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Official Secrets”

The Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack help out the Brigadier in the 70s...or the 80s.

One of the many advantages of comics over live action is, for something working on any kind of fixed budget, drawings are cheap.  Want to do something well outside the budget of even modern-day Doctor Who?  No problem!  Just draw it instead.

So, that leads to this trade that features characters played by actors who are either dead or much older than they used to be, giant kaiju monsters, and alien mermaids.

Once again, there are two stories here, and rather than cover them individually, I’ll cover both in one entry since they came from a common trade.  Of the two, I preferred the first since it did allow a time and set of characters that are just plain impossible right now.  This book came out in 2017, and two of the actors associated with certain roles had since passed away.  Sure, recasting is always possible, and I doubt anyone would get too upset to see someone else play Harry Sullivan given how short his time on the TARDIS was, but the Brigadier is one of the series’s more beloved supporting characters, the no-nonsense military man who eventually earns the Doctor’s respect, and it’s a mutual feeling.

So, really, the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack are back in the 70s.  Or maybe the 80s.  No one is entirely sure, and that’s a continuity joke for this franchise since they didn’t pay much attention to it as they were making it.  Regardless, the TARDIS appears then, and the once-human gargoyle Dean flies off only to have UNIT show up to shoot him…with a tranquilizer.  He’ll be fine in the end.  Mostly, the problem is kaiju keep popping up all over the place, and Harry is temporarily in charge of UNIT when the Doctor goes to talk to him.

It’s probably worth noting the Ninth Doctor is one of the more abrasive Doctors in many respects, quick to call names to people whose intelligence isn’t on display enough for his liking.  Harry was famously called an imbecile by the Fourth Doctor, so the Ninth will crank that up to eleven, though he will compliment a psychic gun device that Harry developed when the time is right.  Plus, the Brigadier does show up, and he takes much of the fact the Doctor once again has a new face in stride, but the Brigadier generally took everything in stride to one degree or another.  Jack can and will flirt with an otherwise oblivious Sergeant Benton, and in the end, the Doctor will realize the shifty owner of that defense company was using a man with some minor psychic powers to conjure the monsters, but the monsters were really movie monsters conjured by the man’s son.

So, aside from some weird art, where the Doctor in the background of one panel makes it look like he has a smiley face for a head, this was the better story.  The second, where the trio plus a UNIT stowaway go back to what looks like a pre-colonial or colonial-era Brazil and deal with slavers both from Portugal and an alien society of mermaids and fish people…well, that was less so.  The main story was fine.  Sure, the art is still only so-so in places, but the bigger issue is the Jack subplot where he and Rose find one of his Time Bureau safehouses with evidence that Jack may have executed a criminal once.  Rose finds this unlikely and unacceptable.


Seriously, why?

Jack, in these comics, is constantly being told to lose whatever weapons he pulls out in front of the Doctor.  He’s quick to pull them out too.  What part of Jack’s doing so is a shock to Rose?  He’s not the Doctor.  He has no problem with violence.  He’s some kind of law enforcement type.  I don’t see why he wouldn’t have killed someone before.

But that’s probably for the next trade, the last one according to Goodreads…and I don’t have that one.  So, for the next of these interludes, I’ll be pulling out something for a different Doctor.  Or Doctors…