If you’ve been reading Titan’s Tenth Doctor comic since Year One, the return of a major villain from the Fourth Doctor’s tenure should come as no surprise.
Spoiler alert: it’s only Sutekh the Destroyer!
It shows on every page that writer, Nick Abadzis is a fan of the Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes era: this is a love letter to childhood memories of that wonderful pyramid of Mars – but crucially, he moves the story forward and does something smart with it. Old Girl: The Return of Sutekh Part 3 finds the Tenth Doctor and his companions, Gabby Gonzalez and Cindy Wu, on the verge of the apocalypse, as a being with God-like powers begins to manifest itself through his son, Anubis.
Throughout his appearances in the comic, Anubis has been an interesting character, more nuanced than his angry father – struggling to align his inheritance with his desire to know and understand the universe and its peoples. To see him struggling as he’s possessed by fragments of his overbearing (to say the least) father is nicely realised… and you actually feel yourself caring for this troubled young God-in-the-making.
Abadzis sets this tale in surroundings far removed from the classical setting of Pyramids of Mars, instead having the Osirans in the technologically-advanced but tranquil Shining Horizon. Appropriately, it’s a golden pyramid – the last Osiran mothership – drifting in space and soon aligning with the Circle of Transcendence. Here, Sutekh hopes to escape his imprisonment, as well as freeing some of his allies.
And this is where artist, Giorgia Sposito really proves what an incredible talent she is. You can tell she’s having great fun depicting the vastness of space, creating gorgeous celestial objects, and drawing baddies from various eras of the Doctor’s adventures.
Aside from Sutekh, we see glimpses of the King Nocturne (which will be familiar to regular readers of this comic series), the Destroyer from Battlefield, the Beast from The Satan Pit, and a God of Ragnarok, circa The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.
Furthermore, Sposito has even created a stunning design based on those iconic mummy robots, this time a sleek female version, in the Seeker.
To top it all off, the colour palette used by Arianna Florean and Adele Matera is rich, bright, and balances pages perfectly.
Needless to say, this is one lovely-looking comic.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise either: the Tenth Doctor creative team has been knocking it out of the park since Issue 1. Yet Year Two really has taken it to another level. The way Abadzis has brought together seemingly disparate strands to form an engaging and enjoyable finale should be a lesson to all writers.
There is, however, one disappointing thing about this comic: the fact I have to wait to find out how it concludes!
The Tenth Doctor #2.15 is out now, with a $3.99 RRP.