The fun continues for the Tenth Doctor and Gabby as the two head back to prehistoric Earth to visit Gabby’s ancestors, specifically Neanderthal man.
With the Doctor injured from an attack by an unspecified source, Gabby finds help in the form of Munmeth, a man ahead of his time and fiercely intelligent. Before anyone has a chance to catch their breath, the trio of new friends are attacked by what can initially only be described as flying saucers, and the Doctor and Munmeth are taken away. Gabby, on the other hand, is rescued by a rag tag bunch of space travellers, hell bent on taking out the perpetrators of all the problems, the ruthless Monaxi…
After the whirlwind of the first three issues, 2.4 and 2.5 take the pace decidedly slower, giving the Doctor and Gabby some further time to cement their friendship as well as question one another’s motivations and convictions. There are moments with some excellent writing (from Nick Abadzis), Gabby and the Doctor discussing the evolution of man over millions of years is a particular highlight in this story. Munmeth, the titular ‘Local Doctor’, as he’s termed, is a great character whose wonder and joy in light of the Doctor’s presence helps to showcase his higher creativity; he certainly gives number Ten a run for his money in terms, especially, of emotional intelligence.
The villains of the piece, the Monaxi, are horribly ruthless. Devoid of any likeable character traits or redeeming features, they’re the perfect villains. The fact that even the Time Lords deemed them too nasty helps to entrench a somewhat ghastly set of aliens, ones that let the Doctor access his more angry side to deal with, without looking as if he’s taking things too far. Some beings are just vile and have to be dealt with. The Monaxi are such beings.
This adventure is set very firmly in the Earth’s early age, something that Doctor Who doesn’t dwell on for very long these days. It’s refreshing for regular characters to look back at how it all began, especially for the Doctor’s companions as it raises interesting moral dilemmas for them, and the audience, to ponder. It also can provide wonderful comic relief, watching Munmeth trying to decode some of Gabby’s colloquialisms when the TARDIS translator is malfunctioning is a neat trick embellishing on what Russell T Davies introduced on television.
Although events are tied up at the end, this story leads on to a bigger arc that seems to have far more to come. But forget the cliff-hanger for now: this is a wonderful story and highlights a series going from strength to strength with its diverse tales.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.4 & 2.5 are out now, $3.99 each.