Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Publisher: Titan Comics
Page Count: 32 PP
On Sale: January 27, 2016
In part 2 of Titan’s Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor ‘Medicine Man’, the Doctor and Gabby find themselves separated in ancient prehistory! Gabby awakes to find herself captured by a Guardians of the Galaxy-esqe rag tag group of bounty hunters led by a human named Effrid Blunk, while the doctor, with the help of Munmeth the story-singer of the Wolf Tree Clan, unite the Neanderthals and Sapiens to fight together against their common disc shaped foe, the Monaxi. But just who are these antagonists really working for…?
The story in this issue focuses less on character in favour of plot this time around, as part 1 centred on Munmeth’s story with a long and expressive introduction in the character’s own voice rather than through the doctor’s. We still get a lot of the excellent character though; he proves once again to be a fantastic and lovingly simple contrast to the doctor’s constant technobabble throughout the issue! The stand-out characters in this comic have to be the eclectic group of freedom-fighting bounty hunters though; comprised of leader/human Effrid Blunk, Mem-brain (liberated from a Monaxi circus), Unta Mathos (a Jeridian), Sunzberro (from Terileptus) and my personal favourite, Tony (not too sure where he’s from!). I really do hope they pop up in future issues as I’d love for the doctor and Gabby to have a couple more adventures with them! However I was somewhat disappointed by the baddies of the week in this issue after the great build up, for example by stating how they’ve affected the whole galactic sector and by Tony comparing the race to a plague and suggesting they’d need an army just to drive them back did raise my expectations a little too high! But when the doctor finally capture one I couldn’t help but think they were a little bit of a rip off of the aliens in War of the Worlds…Still, capturing and enslaving large groups of different races to fight each other, resulting in decimating populations is pretty diabolical!
The story in this second part combines a sprinkle of The Hunger Games (disguising animals as cameras), with a pinch of Gladiator (there’s even a futuristic amphitheatre!) topped off with a dollop of Planet of the Apes (that ending!). ‘Medicine Man’ references and embraces popular and current themes that include; dystopian realities, enslaved races forced to combat each other and in particular how messing with time isn’t always a good thing…
Considering this was supposedly part 2 of 2 the ending did significantly infuriate me; much like the previous Dr Who television episode ‘Hell Bent’, the ending wasn’t really an ending at all! Is Abadzis going to directly complete this story (unlikely) or come back to it down the line in a few issues time? I much prefer linear storytelling to dividing up longer story arcs and dabbling back into them in future stories; ending a concluding second part with a cliffhanger, to me, doesn’t count!
However the art in this issue was fantastic, I particularly enjoyed the pearlescent effect of the floor in Effrid Blunk’s vessel, the mixture of the colours was pretty impressive! I also very much liked how the colours used aboard the vessel cleverly contrasted with the basic and primal brown and green colours used when following the doctor and Munmeth’s storyline. Casagrande’s illustrations of the Monaxi, although much like the War of the World’s aliens, were pretty creepy with their many glowing eyes and terrifying teeth, I would not like to meet these guys down a dark alley! I also particularly liked the detailed ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics inscribed on their outer discs.
Overall I found the story intriguing, but felt like the cliffhanger ending was very much a cop out as there were so many questions left unanswered! Who exactly do these Monaxi work for? What’s going to happen to the space-time continuum? However I really enjoyed the supporting characters and really look forward to seeing Munmeth and Effrid Blunk and Co. again, so this issue is definitely worth getting for them.