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Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #2 has a lot to offer both new and long-term fans of the property, being as it is a story largely about the importance of memory in general and the Doctor’s in particular. Fans of the new series will enjoy glimpses of Rose Tyler and various villains, and will also enjoy a new and compelling take on new series baddie the Silence with the issue’s depiction of a rebellious member of that race known as the Scream. And fans of the old-school series will get a nostalgia fix via glimpses of familiar faces from the classic series as well. But, even with this grasp on the heights of the property, and an engagingly warm tone, the issue features a resolution that relies far too heavily on a whopping great deus ex machina, even for “Doctor Who.”
The previous issue’s cliffhanger saw the Doctor and Alice having their memories stolen by the Scream, a member of the Silence who can longer stand to be perpetually forgotten. The issue’s creators (writer Rob Williams and artists Leandro Casco & Wellington Diaz) have certainly crafted a compelling antagonist in the Scream, and given him a plan that is personal while satisfying the cosmically destructive scope a “Doctor Who” villain demands. And the method he’s using to achieve his goals is fittingly weird, spooky, yet imaginative, like all good science fiction requires. As the issue progresses, I found myself captivated by the predicament in which the Doctor finds himself, and was really enjoying the scope and scale.
It’s too bad, then, that the resolution comes so easily and in such a perfunctory way. I won’t spoil how the Doctor and Alice resolve the issue, but it’s not a heck of a lot more complex than calling 911 and then having Dumbledore show up. Things get resolved with little to no effort and without much explanation, relying upon a magical character with ill-defined powers and apparently no weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, I like the all the characters involved in this issue and the humor and deftness with which they’re handled, and I like the fact that the issue sets up what will no doubt be at least two arcs for this year of the series, but I wish the conflict of the issue had been resolved with more ingenuity and more stakes than the fairly lackadaisical ending we get here.
There is some tremendous art in Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #2, and there’s a boldness to the design of the story that uses visuals in an interesting way, particularly in how it depicts an instance of telepathy. Too often that’s shown as nothing more complex than thought balloons, so it’s great to see the more unusual way the creators handle it in this issue. The rest of the art boasts a bold and clean style that I enjoyed, with strong lines and a good sense of pace. There are a few panels where background details just kind of vanish, but it’s not too noticeable. Colorist Triona Farrell does a particularly nice job with a palette that echoes a kind of day-glo neon 1980s New Wave sort of vibe, which we really don’t get enough in comics these days. The issue pops, and settings like the TARDIS interior wind up looking as bold and eye-popping on the page as on the screen in the TV series’ best moments. By and large, it’s a really nice looking issue.
I did wind up liking Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #2, despite its storytelling issues. In the end, while I wish it had been more imaginative in its resolution, there’s certainly enough here to recommend it to any fan of the property. And the things that are well done are done well enough to demonstrate the imagination and strengths of the creators, which bodes well for the future. 6.5/10
Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #2 will be released on February 8, 2017.