My occasional dip into the Titan Comics collected trade paperbacks resumes after taking a break from the end of “Year 1”. The Endless Song contains three stories across five issues of the original 10th Doctor comics, and things take a while to get going, but at least manages to find its feet at the end of the volume…
A bold new season begins for the Tenth Doctor and companion Gabby Gonzalez! Whether facing down an evil corruption of sentient music on a gas giant, catching up on unseen trips with Gabby’s best friend Cindy Wu, or journeying back to the dawn of humankind to witness the clash between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, there are no limits to the adventure – or the danger!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
I love who Saturday morning cartoony Mr. Ebonite is…
The Doctor (David Tennant) – Having recently had his death foretold, The Doctor has began to forget about it, at least as much as one can, and has been enjoying his time with new companion Gabby… that is, apart from the Osiran God Anubis stalking his every move…
Gabby Gonzalez – Although originally only promised one trip in the TARDIS, Gabby has been accompanying The Doctor on multiple adventures, and has been recording the events in her sketchbook, complete with pictures drawn by the aspiring artist.
Cindy Wu – Gabby’s friend who is already regretting her decision not to join her in the TARDIS. She has possession of Gabby’s sketchbook, which is constantly changing due to the nature of time travel…
Smokey – A being of pure sound who, along with the rest of its kind, are starting to become more sentient as the human colonists begin to communicate with them more.
Mr. Ebonite – A dark agent who trades in alien technology. He has his eye on Gabby’s notebook, currently in the hands of Cindy Wu…
Munmeth – A Neanderthal who helps Gabby and The Doctor during their battle with the Monaxi. He’s a good healer… for his time period, obviously!
The Monaxi – An alien race who specialise in capturing “lesser” species and selling them onto more advance civilizations as slaves. Nice guys!
Nothing worse than a city getting Chommm’d.
The first story, “The Singer, Not The Song”, was a bit slow in places, but did have a great alien setting. The gas giant with a floating city isn’t a new concept, but the beings of pure sound and the floating, bubble-like creatures that graze on the clouds are all really interesting, and visually well realised (which is what you want for a comic!).
“Cindy, Cleo and the Magic Sketchbook” was actually an enjoyable single-issue story. I’ll admit it had been a while since I read the previous TPB so I kind of forgot who Cleo was for a few pages, but nonetheless it had an enjoyable villain in Mr. Ebonite, and an unnecessary but at least surprising cameo by Captain Jack Harkness. I didn’t like the first third of the story, however…
Finally, “Medicine Man” had some good and bad points, much like the first story, but was a fun read overall. The setting was at least pretty unique, though Gabby feeling guilty for the early human Cro-Magnons wiping out the Neanderthals because Munmeth was such a nice guy was a little silly… talk about not your fault! I also enjoyed the idea that the Monaxi weren’t controlling classic flying saucer type ships, but were in fact the ships themselves. Generally, it was a fun run-around with a good cliffhanger ending.
I’m not sure which is funnier, the song he chose to play, or the bizarre look on his face that is apparently supposed to be David Tennant singing…
As I said, the first and third stories did have quite a few pages where I just wasn’t interested in what I was reading. The extra characters in “The Singer, Not The Song” were all pretty stock and uninteresting, and whole body-shock element wasn’t very exciting due to that. Plus the ending was a bit… uninvolving, with The Doctor pretty much having figured it out off-panel.
“Cindy, Cleo and the Magic Sketchbook” opens up with a bunch of pages from the sketchbook itself, all done like it was hand written with funny little sketches. It would have been fine for a page or two, but it kept going on and on, and I didn’t like the presentation of it at all. It was hard to read, for a start…
One last thing is that a lot of the artwork was a bit… rushed, particularly getting the likeness of David Tennant down. Some panels he looked … well, not right, let’s put it that way.
You know, with the flying saucer heads, they kind of look like their wearing the old stereotypical Chinese hats…
In the previous Volume The Doctor, Gabby, Cindy and a bunch of other people ended up meeting Anubis, one of the last Osirans, who The Doctor then promised to find a way to bring back to this world. This is followed up, not just in the story with Cindy and Cleo set right after those events, but Anubis appears at the end of “The Singer…” to remind The Doctor of his promise.
Also during the first story, The Doctor notes how he “doesn’t like the metaphor of songs ending”, which is a reference to the TV story “Planet of the Dead”, the last TV story before this run of comics, where The Doctor is foretold of his “song ending soon”.
During “Medicine Man” The Doctor mentions how early human history is influenced by alien races, naming the Jagaroth (Fourth Doctor TV Serial “City of Death”), the Fendahl (Fourth Doctor TV serial again, this time “Image of the Fendahl”) and the Osirans (first appeared in… Fourth Doctor TV serial “The Pyramids of Mars”, though have made other appearances over the decades…)
While it felt slow in places, this volume was overall an entertaining one. I think my memory of the previous volume’s big ending may hurt what was essentially a reset to a more … plain series of adventures, at least until the big cliffhanger at the end of this volume. The art was a bit wonky, but other than that, it was fine. The definition of average Who.