This week brought us all kinds of Doctor Who action, at least as far as the pages of comic books are concerned. We saw The Eleventh Doctor, an uneven narrative experience to be sure, deliver what might be the strongest issue in its run, or at least a nice piece of the best arc they’ve explored thus far. Now Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, which has been the high point of the continuing titles published by Titan Comics, drop another new issue, number eight.
The Doctor, along with his latest travelling companion, Gabby Gonzales, is still stuck in the grim, desolate environs of no-man’s land at the Somme in World War I. As if that isn’t hazardous enough to give you pause, they’re still being pursued by a gaggle of Weeping Angels. Behaving contrary to their usual method of operation, the Doctor finally figures out why they’re acting like they do: they feed on potential energy, but in the slaughterhouse of this heretofore unimaginable conflict, their source of sustenance is being stolen and they’re starving, desperate.
This set up presents the Doctor ample opportunity to rail against the folly, waste, and travesty of war—as he says, he’s trying to save people while the human race seems more than intent on wiping itself out. Jamie, one of their new, time-specific friends, notes that he is the only soldier left of the group he arrived at the front with.
One of the most emotional moments is when the Doctor nosedives down a maudlin hole of regret and despair as he laments that he has put Gabby in danger. She initially thought she was going to embark on some grand, joyous adventure, not encounter monsters of all variety (though she’s already seem some serious shit by this point, and she’s still around). When she was just a browbeaten teen in New York, who would have thought she’d ever have a starring contest with an evil stone Angel on the battlefields of World War I?
This issue also jumps around in time, though not in the normal, expected manner. They still have no idea where the TARDIS went after it got blown up by an errant artillery shell, but as the Angels send their victims to other eras, one of the threads follows one of the soldiers sent back in time, only he isn’t killed and you see him live a full, rich life. The Doctor, of course, Macguyvers the situation, but in true fashion, the things go from bad to worse.
This is, as you’ve come to expect over the previous issues of The Tenth Doctor, but one part of a longer-form story, and as such, it does leave you in a bit of a lurch at the conclusion. It is, however, an end that makes you want to read on. You do have to hope they wrap up this World War I arc before too awful long, like maybe in the next issue, as you can feel it running its course. There is a hint at a potential love connection between Gabby and Jamie (who you already expect may stick around for some space time adventures in future issues) that is totally forced, not to mention bland and obvious, so let’s hope that’s just a bump. But all things considered, this is another solid chapter in what has been the strongest of the continuing Doctor titles.