THESE STORIES ALL
FINISH AUDIO "THE
COMPANY OF FRIENDS:
ADRIAN SALMON &
Adrian Salmon &
OFFICIAL PANINI BOOKS
GRAPHIC NOVEL (ISBN 1-
IN OCTOBER 2006.
THIS IS A GRAPHIC
NOVEL FEATURING THE
ADVENTURES OF THE
EIGHTH DOCTOR FROM
the pages of Doctor
The Glorious Dead
The Glorious Dead continues the eighth Doctor’s comic strip tales, building on
the success and quality of End Game. Featuring eight Doctor Who adventures, including
the whopping ten-parter title story and two back-up strips, this is a considerably thicker volume and could make something of an offensive weapon in wielded with a little force (thankfully it’s not hardback).
The Fallen kicks off the collection, launching a new direction for the strips, and introducing several elements that are followed up later in the book. Martin Geraghty is on call for the artwork, once again shouldering the burden of the majority of the book, and continues to produce clear, effective work that tells the story well. His look for the Doctor and Izzy has been developed into something distinctly recognisable as DWM’s signature style for this period. However, it’s Scott Gray’s writing that’s the real star here. Responsible for almost
the whole of this volume, Gray takes the Doctor’s story where he wants it, doesn’t let up for
a moment, and expects the reader to keep up.
The Fallen is a direct sequel to the TV Movie, featuring the Doctor’s one-time squeeze Dr Grace Holloway in a starring role. This strip sees Gray set up a recurring theme of exploring the consequences of the Doctor’s actions – here Grace’s life has been totally diverted by the Doctor’s appearance in her life. Having left several bizarre hints to her future in their previous meeting, Grace believes that the Doctor was informing her of a new path in her life. With this in mind, she has been using the Master’s tissue to try and develop regeneration for humans. It’s a fascinating idea; however, it’s not explored far as the Master’s tissue was tainted by the morphant creature that he used to escape his death and steal a body.
Yes, it’s just as batty and contrived as the movie was. The monster of the piece, a giant glob created when Grace’s associate, Professor Stark, injected himself with the tissue, is some-thing of a failure. It’s in the interaction between the principle characters that the story shines; Grace and the Doctor have some terrific scenes together, exploring their unique (for Doctor Who) relationship. Izzy and intelligence agent Woodrow, a new character, are both also well characterised. However, it’s in the final page of the story that the real villain is revealed. The Master is back, and the excitement comes from knowing that he’s out there, while the Doctor remains blissfully unaware.
Unnatural Born Killers is a brief jaunt that introduces another player into the continuing plot. Both written and drawn by Adrian Salmon, the adventure is essentially an extended action sequence designed to bring in Kroton, the Cyberman with a soul. Kroton dates back to the days of Doctor Who Weekly, and his two back-up strips, as they are known, Throwback
and Ship of Fools are included at the end of the volume. Unnatural Born Killers plays to Salmon’s strengths, with highly-stylised artwork that suits the frenetic pace; the spuds-on-legs Sontarans are fantastic.
The Road to Hell sets us back on track with the Doctor and Izzy, while also introducing
the final player – Samurai Katsura Sato. Set in ancient, isolationist Japan, the story is an intriguing one, as aliens known as the Gaijin (simply Japanese for foreigner) are influencing the nation’s destiny. The Gaijin are excellently portrayed by Geraghty, appearing classically-stylised but genuinely alien. Sato is a fascinating character, torn between his own desires and his honour, and strikes up an interesting relationship with Izzy (or Iji, as he calls her).
Things get a bit odd as the Gaijin’s power bring Japan’s future to life, with Godzilla storming the imperial palace, but the powerful final scene rectifies this. The Doctor saves Sato’s life using nanotechnology. Predating Torchwood by a decade, this leaves us with a character who cannot die, only for Sato, nothing can be worse, as it leaves him without the possibility of dying with honour. Thus, events are set in motion that will one day be very costly to the Doctor.
The Company of Thieves brings back both Kroton and Salmon’s artwork, as well as a ship load of space pirates. While the Doctor initially assumes that Kroton is hostile – understan-dable, as every Cyberman he’s ever faced has been – and almost kills him, the jive-talking cyborg wins him over, joining him and Izzy to defeat the pirates. The three characters make
a fine team, and it’s just wonderful to see the Doctor invite a Cyberman – a Cyberman! –
on board the TARDIS. The story is slight but fun; again, it’s the characters that are important here, not the plot.
Onwards to The Glorious Dead itself, where we are bombarded with images of an alien world. Paradost is a planet dedicated to preserving information about all the worlds of the universe, and is home to thousands of species, including free-floating manta-like creatures that hire themselves out as taxis. The three travellers are getting along just fine when The Church of the Glorious Dead, a fanatical religious cult from planet Dhakan, arrive headed
by Cardinal Morningstar. Events run thick and fast as the Church’s numerous acolytes start laying waste to the planet – believing they are dead already, they have no fear, and when they are killed, they burn up, transforming into unstoppable energy beings. The TARDIS vanishes and the Doctor starts plans to repel the jihad – then he wakes up in bed with
So, Part 4 of the story enters into
a territory of extremes. Half of the
story is told from Izzy’s point of view,
as she and Kroton join the resist-
ance as Paradost I occupied.
These sequences are particularly
effective, told as they are using
Izzy’s letters home to Max – even
though she knows he’ll never read
them. Less effective, but certainly
striking, are the sequences in which the Doctor bounces around possible realities – married to Grace, living in the Wild West, existing as a cartoon cat, or in the Peanuts comic strip, to give just a few examples. The whole thing is a bit bewildering, to be honest, but the scenes where the Doctor is finally confronted by Esterath, the ruler of this domain, are a visual treat.
Back on Paradost, Izzy is confronted by Morningstar. Naturally, the reader is supposed to think that this is the Master, notable by his absence for much of the volume. But Morningstar, the Rising Sun, is Sato – still alive after centuries, commanding his insane jihad. Desperate for something to replace his honour, he has fallen under the spell of a wandering preacher… the same man who showed up on Earth in The Fallen. Yes, swooping down from on high, dressed in immaculate robes and riding the stolen TARDIS, it’s the Master – bald, black
“No longer am I the man you knew, Doctor.
He is gone, swept away on a tide of revelation.
Our time as equals is over. I have walked in the infinite wasteland.
I have heard whispers that would deafen your soul.
You remain only an apprentice… while I am finally the Master.”
Oh, yes – and he’s found religion. Terrifyingly powerful and truly unhinged, the Master is
a potent force again, fighting the Doctor for the right to control the Glory – the key that will make him God. In an astonishing sword fight across dimensions of space, time, reality and imagination, the Doctor is cut down; it looks like he has finally been defeated. However, at the same time, another battle is being fought – Sato, the man who longs for death, pitted against Kroton, the man who fought to regain his life. It’s all deeply symbolic, but who cares - it’s a Samurai-fighting a Cyberman! Esterath shatters the Master’s dreams of victory when he reveals that he only brought him back as a distraction – the real battle for the Glory was between Sato and Kroton – and Kroton has won. Reluctantly, Kroton takes his place with
the Glory, healing the Doctor, reversing the conquest of Paradost and banishing the Master into oblivion (while he vows that he will survive…)
And so, the most ambitious story that DWM ever attempted is concluded. In all, it’s a stunning piece of work, ripping along a path of twists and turns. However, it must have dragged in the original publication - it would have been ten months between the first and
Finally, we are treated to three single-part stories, all illustrated by Roger Langridge. The man has a unique style; an exaggerated, cartoony vision that is endlessly charming. In The Autonomy Bug, we enter a bizarre sort of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for robots. It’s an utterly charming tale of the rights of individuals and the indomitable nature of our spirit; and the last page is a corker.
Happy Deathday, the thirty-fifth anniversary story, is an absolute joy. An all-out comedy, it’s up there with The Curse of Fatal Death in my estimation. The first eight Doctors are lifted out of time by the Beige Guardian – hilariously modelled on David Hyde-Pearce – and
pitted against all the foes they have already defeated. “Do you see a flaw in this chap’s logic?” asks the second Doctor. Paired off (first with eighth; second with sixth; third with
fifth; and fourth with seventh) the Doctors face such villains as Davros, Broton, the Wildean Wit Enforcer (like a Raston Warrior Robot, except it only kills those who make really awful puns) and Dot Cotton. The Doctors are each brilliantly caricatured, and the whole thing’s an absolute hoot.
TV Action named after one of the Doctor’s old comic book hosts, is a similarly ridiculous affair. Played again for laughs, the Doctor and Izzy try to stop Beep the Meep from taking over TV Centre, while his army of zombified 1970s sitcom stars are trying to capture them. Thankfully, Tom Baker is on hand to save the day…
All in all, The Glorious Dead is another winner in the graphic novel range. Complete with the commentary that featured in the previous volume, and the aforementioned Kroton strips, it’s a packed read that provides non-stop entertainment.
Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2008
Daniel Tessier has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Whether or not the Master is truly destroyed during these events is clear. However, a version of the Master makes a brief appearance in the novel The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, implying that the Master did in fact survive the events of this volume. It seems that he does eventually die, however, and is later resurrected by the Time Lords for use as a warrior in the Time War, as we learn in the episode Utopia.
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