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The Crimson Hand

di Dan McDaid, Mike Collins (Illustratore), Martin Geraghty (Illustratore)

Altri autori: I.N.J Culbard (Illustratore), Russell T. Davies (Prefazione), Rob Davis (Illustratore), Paul Grist (Illustratore), Sean Longcroft (Illustratore)2 altro, Jonathan Morris (Collaboratore), David A. Roach (Illustratore)

Serie: Collected Tenth Doctor Comic Strips (3), Doctor Who Magazine Graphic Novels (#13), DWM Comic Strips - Original Publication Order (issues 400-420), Doctor Who {non-TV} (Comic Strips)

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In this third volume of comic strips collecting the Tenth Doctor'sadventures in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, the famous Time Lordjoins forces with his newest companion, Majenta Pryce, and embarks on his mostremarkable series of adventures yet! Collecting her first appearance in "HotelHistoria," her return in "Thinktwice," and then the adventures that she and theDoctor share that bring them into a terrifying encounter with the Crimson Hand,this volume concludes the Tenth Doctor's comic strip era. Features an Introduction by Russell T. Davies.… (altro)
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Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

With issue #400 we enter the period where I haven't reread any of the strips. Prior to this project, my last DWM graphic novel was The Widow's Curse in April 2010, so from this point on, I might have read every strip before, but only in the context of reading ten pages a month. Kind of. As an American, DWM has never been easy to get ahold of. Issues could be late, out of order, or just skipped when arriving at an American comic shop. So even though I've read most of this material in theory, it feels new to me. And even if I got it all in order and on time, it's different to read a twenty-one-issue story in three days than in twenty months! By the time I got to The Crimson Hand on the original read, did I even remember details seeded in Mortal Beloved or The Age of Ice? Seems doubtful.

So anyway: The Crimson Hand. This marks a return the "old" way of doing DWM—original companion, linked storytelling—that went away when Paul McGann did. On top of that, Dan McDaid writes twenty-one strips in a row, the first writer to rack up a run more than five strips long since Scott Gray's run from #333 to 353 (The Power of Thoeuris! to The Flood). This basically covers the whole Tennant specials year, from just after the broadcast of "Journey's End" up to just before the broadcast of "The Eleventh Hour," an enormous canvas for DWM to once again draw its own destiny.

Hotel Historia
This is a nice little one-parter that sets the stage for the whole run, though that wasn't its intention at the time; Dan McDaid makes his DWM debut as an artist for a story he also writes, and really, McDaid's expressive, dynamic, cartoony style is what makes this story stand out so much. Lots of great panels and great dynamic colors and strong sense of characterization for both the Doctor and Majenta Pryce. You can see why they wanted to bring her back—if they hadn't made her into a companion, surely she would have become a Dogbolter if nothing else! My only complaint is the fact the Majenta is running a time-travel hotel almost feels incidental; that idea seems like it could have some fun implications, but the story's just not long enough to do anything with them. It's a shame McDaid didn't have the time to do any more double-duty stories in this volume, though he would return as an artist during the Matt Smith run.

Space Vikings!
This is the volume's only story with no Dan McDaid and no Majenta. It's a bit of a goof but fun enough, and of course Rob Davis is one of those artists who can only enhance such a story with his dynamic storytelling style.

And Majenta debuts as a companion. This story is mostly here to make that work, and to set up the story arc, but it's all very well done. There are some good jokes, the characters are strongly done (the Doctor pretending to be a doctor is great), and the part two cliffhanger—where Majenta uses her last breath to complain that the Doctor's ruined her life—is excellent. I found the villain a bit perfunctory, but he's not really the point.

The Stockbridge Child
It seems to be a DWM tradition at this point. When the strip begins having story-to-story continuity again, you also need to explicitly link back into the early days of the strip, making clear that not only is it a big story, but it's just one big story. When The Mark of Mandragora pulled together threads from the preceding year or so, it also included a cameo from an Iron Legion villain; when End Game began a new ongoing era, it went back to Stockbridge and Maxwell Edison from the Steve Parkhouse–Dave Gibbons days. So too does The Stockbridge Child: aliens are up to no good in Stockbridge, and the Doctor needs the help of Maxwell Edison to stop them.

It doesn't quite have the weirdness of Parkhouse's own Stockbridge stories, and I got a bit lost with some aspects (what were the parents up to exactly?), but this is an effective use of Maxwell Edison as a character. McDaid complains in the commentary that he gave Max too much angst, but I disagree; this builds on aspects of the character we saw in Stars Fell on Stockbridge and End Game, and also "new series"-ifies him. That is to say, this story treats him the same way "School Reunion" did Sarah Jane. It's got good callbacks without being nostalgic, and it looks forward to the future. Good stuff.

Mortal Beloved
I thought this was a delightful story, sort of off-kilter and unhinged in only the way a Doctor Who comic can be. The Doctor and Majenta end up at the mansion of Majenta's fiancé—whom she doesn't remember. The mansion is built on an asteroid adjacent to a massive space storm. In parallel stories, the Doctor interacts with a self-aware hologram of the dead fiancé, while Majenta finds out he kind of hangs on to life. There's ghosts and monster cyborgs wearing bowties and corpses on a corporate board of directors. Sean Longcroft had drawn two previous strips, but this is his first "serious" one, and he knocks it out of the park with atmosphere, as does James Offredi on colours. Surprising pathos here, to be honest.

The Age of Ice
I remembered not liking this one. I never like those kind of stories that basically come down to "whoa, dinos in the modern age!" Well, that was only a small part of this highly effective contemporary UNIT story. I wouldn't mark this as my favorite strip of the run, but it's perfectly done: good dialogue, good jokes, good characterization, especially for Majenta, some nice twists. It's a good riff on "The Sontaran Stratagem"-style storytelling, except that I thought McDaid managed to create some instantly likable UNIT characters in Colonel McCay and Captain Braxton. Seems a shame neither popped up again; they would have made good recurring characters for the strip. Majenta makes some interesting but very plausible moves here. And Martin Geraghty always excels that kind of high-energy stuff, whilst never losing the characters' essential humanity. My only real complaint is that derived of their drive to be "the first," returning aliens the Skith come across as kind of generic, but McDaid does eventually link them into the ongoing "Crimson Hand" plot in an effective way.

The Deep Hereafter
Now this is my favorite comic of the run, a madcap, hilarious riff on Golden Age detective comics. A dying private eye passes his hat and his charge onto the Doctor, who slips right into the role of investigating a list of bizarre characters, all suspects in a planet's greatest-ever crime, the theft of a world bomb. The Doctor hams it up in the part; Majenta, delightfully, disdains all of it: "If you're going to talk like that the whole time we're here, then I want nothing more to do with you." All the characters are great: the femme fatale who turns out to be a robot driven by "Tiny Danza," Half-Nelson the man where half of him got away in a transmat.. and half didn't, a beleaguered Centaurian lawyer who just wants to retire. Tremendous fun from writing to Rob Davis's pitch-perfect art to the colours that add so much to the atmosphere. Alpha Centauri was made for comics (there's a pinch of Zoidberg there, I feel), and the best part—other than the resolution—has got to be when Majenta threatens to drown Tiny Danza in whisky. Oh, and when he makes his surprise reappearance!

Onomatopoeia / Ghosts of the Northern Line
Onomatopoeia is one of those stories I admire more than enjoy; maybe I am a philistine, but I always struggle with comics where it's all about the images, not the words! That the characters lose their voices is a neat idea, but I struggled with the action a bit. Mike Collins is good at conventional tv tie-in comics, but I wonder if he was the right choice here, and if someone with a more fluid style might have done better. But I have to give kudos to this era's experimental run, which began in Deep Hereafter and continues into Ghosts of the Northern Line, a delightfully grounded (undergrounded?) ghost story with atmospheric art by Paul Grist. You can see that by this point, McDaid has got the tenth Doctor/Majenta partnership down to an art. They have great banter and Majenta some genuine character moments; the tenth Doctor gets in a nice bit of late-period self-loathing. The stuff about the ghosts is all so well done. Unfortunately, this is it, but thankfully it went out on a high...

The Crimson Hand
In his many years on the strip, Scott Gray raised the "season finale" to an art form with stories like Ground Zero, Wormwood, The Glorious Dead, Oblivion, and The Flood. Dan McDaid revives that tradition and does it proud with Gray's consistent collaborator Martin Geraghty back yet again. Lots of drama here, good surprises (I did not expect the return of a character from Thinktwice), nice explanation of the backstory, and a climax that really works, plot-wise and emotion-wise. One last double-cross from Majenta is the perfect way to wrap the whole thing up! My favorite part is the bit where Majenta and the Crimson Hand have won, and the Doctor is trapped in a pocket universe. It's sort of cribbing from those bits of The Glorious Dead where the Doctor is missing and Izzy is all alone... except in this case, it's the companion's own fault! A solid conclusion to a solid run.

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume. Even if there wasn't an ongoing story to hold everything together, it would still be a strong run for showing off the versatility of the strip at its best. Add Majenta—the kind of companion character who plays to the strengths of comics and adds something to every story in which she appears—and you get what is certainly the best run since the Scott Gray years, even if Rose/Martha/Donna years were solid too.

Stray Observations:
  • I usually reorder these volumes by publication order as I read, but I kept Space Vikings! where the book had it, even though it's way off; it would have come out around the time of The Crimson Hand. But collection editors Tom Spilsbury and Scott Gray knew what they were doing; you wouldn't want to go from Hotel Historia to Thinktwice any more than you'd want to go straight from "The Runaway Bride" to "Partners in Crime"; vital to the latter story is a sense that time has passed. Plugging in a one-off standalone adventure creates that impression.
  • Space Vikings! is I. N. J. Culbard's only contribution to the DWM universe, but he would go on to be one of the best artistic contributors to Titan's excellent Eleventh Doctor ongoing.
  • The ending of Stockbridge Child kind of implies that Max dies! Seven years later we would find out, thankfully, that he was still alive.
  • I was kind of disappointed to realize the Worldsmiths in The Deep Hereafter were not the World Shapers.
  • Ghost of the Northern Line is Paul Grist's only DWM contribution, but he would also do a couple stories for IDW, including a fun wordless one with the eleventh Doctor and Santa Claus.
  • "YOU'RE JUST A TRACER" WATCH: The new collections design only put three or four names on the cover, so omitting inker David A. Roach is less of a snub, but he inks sixteen of this volume's twenty-three strips. Mike Collins gets cover credit for working on four!
Doctor Who Magazine and Marvel UK: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Feb 8, 2023 |
10th Doctor, vol. 3 (of 3)
  hapaxes | Apr 5, 2013 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (3 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Dan McDaidautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Collins, MikeIllustratoreautore principaletutte le edizioniconfermato
Geraghty, MartinIllustratoreautore principaletutte le edizioniconfermato
Culbard, I.N.JIllustratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Davies, Russell T.Prefazioneautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Davis, RobIllustratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Grist, PaulIllustratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Longcroft, SeanIllustratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Morris, JonathanCollaboratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Roach, David A.Illustratoreautore secondariotutte le edizioniconfermato
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In this third volume of comic strips collecting the Tenth Doctor'sadventures in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, the famous Time Lordjoins forces with his newest companion, Majenta Pryce, and embarks on his mostremarkable series of adventures yet! Collecting her first appearance in "HotelHistoria," her return in "Thinktwice," and then the adventures that she and theDoctor share that bring them into a terrifying encounter with the Crimson Hand,this volume concludes the Tenth Doctor's comic strip era. Features an Introduction by Russell T. Davies.

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