I have basically given up on the current Doctor Who comics. They really just did not hold my interest and the stories tended to drag on ad nauseam. But I picked this one up as part of the recent Free Comic Day event because, why not. It was free. And surprisingly, it was much better than any Doctor Who comic I had read in a long time.
This issue is comprised of four short vignettes, each one featuring a different Doctor. The tales were fun, quirky, and a little bit thought provoking too. Basically, everything you would expect from Doctor Who.
The story featuring the eleventh Doctor, entitled “Obsessions,” was my favorite. We all have obsessions, and they can be motivating. But obsession is a proverbial double-edged sword. Obsessions can block personal advancement just as effectively as it can foster it.
Obsessions are all very well to keep one going—but they’re also rather nifty at bringing you to a skidding halt.
I’m glad I picked this up and read it. It was good, but not good enough to entice me to start reading Doctor Who on a regular basis again. There is way too much other stuff vying for the attention of my reading obsession.
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While I’ve been following this arc since the beginning, I have not written about any installments in a while. That’s because, while entertaining, there hasn’t been anything that has jumped out at me as being worth expounding on. But this issue addresses a topic that interests me, which is fanaticism.
The problem, you see, is that mindless devotion to a cause is… well… it’s actually repulsively common. Sontarans… Cybermen… Daleks. The loss of the self, faceless efficiency, blah blah blah. Rank and file, back-and-forth, endless attrition. Potato people. That’s how wars are fought. But they’re won by madmen. Those happy to do the unthinkable in pursuit of victory—even if it means their own death.
As I read this, I could not help but think of fanatics in bellicose situations. Whether these individuals are labeled as heroes or terrorists really depends on which side of the conflict you are on. But the sad fact is the same—some people are so driven by the cause they believe in that they are willing to give their life or take the lives of others for an idea or a cause.
I’ve wondered, on occasion, whether there was a cause that I would be willing to sacrifice my life for. It’s a difficult question to answer honestly. I would like to say that for the greater good of humanity, I would sacrifice myself. But would I? I really can’t answer that, because I don’t know. Right now, there is no ideology that I feel so strongly about.
This arc is winding down. I believe there is one more issue scheduled (though I may be mistaken). This issue wraps up the main story nicely and is frankly one of the better issues in this series. There is one quote from this installment that I want to share.
But we make new family. And everywhere we’ve been, and everywhere we’re going, there’s new family waiting. We can’t go backwards. We can’t be defined by where we came from. We go forward.
I liked this quote a lot because I related to it deeply. For a long time, I was tormented by the past, and as a result, was unable to move forward with my life. But once I learned that the past does not dictate my future, I was able to move forward and create a new and wonderful life for myself.
The past is valuable as a series of lessons, but the future holds infinite opportunity limited only by the restrictions we place upon ourselves. Don’t be afraid to face the future.
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I just finished reading Doctor Who: New Adventures of the Eleventh Doctor – Issue 14. While this arc has been mostly silly and mildly entertaining, I came upon a quote in this installment that really struck a chord with me.
Doctor: Jones, Look at you! All grown up! Is it bigger on the inside, Jones?
Jones: We all are, Doctor.
Anyone who knows anything about Doctor Who knows that the TARDIS, the Doctor’s phone booth time machine, is bigger on the inside. But I had never considered the TARDIS as a symbol for the human psyche until now. Our psyches, which are within us and part of us, are much larger than we are. Our psyches enable us to travel into the past through memory and to visit the future through our imagination and visions. Our consciousness allows us to visit other realms and dimensions. We can recreate ourselves through our psyches. Our consciousness, within each of us, is our own personal TARDIS.
I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was a kid, but from now on, I suspect I will be thinking about the Doctor and his mysterious blue box in a different manner.
In this issue, the Doctor, Alice, Jones, and the ARC travel to SERVEYOUinc where they discover that the Talent Scout and the ARC were once one: ARC being the mind of the Talent Scout. Things go from bad to worse as the scout takes control of the Doctor. We are left with quite the cliffhanger.
This issue provides some of the strongest criticism against corporations that we seen so far in this series. Early on, the Doctor states:
A corporation is a very special kind of monster.
As they storm the corporate office, the criticism gets even stronger.
Doesn’t matter, whatever’s up there, whatever they’ve done, they’re just… monsters, that’s all. Because they don’t have the imagination not to be monsters. They can’t think of any way than cruel and cowardly.
While the writers are certainly tapping into the anti-corporate sentiment that seems to be growing, my personal feeling is that a corporation is only as ethical as the individuals who are running the corporation. There are ethical corporations out there that are the result of leaders who possess values. Conversely, there are unethical corporations out there that are the result of leaders who do not have a strong moral sense. I do not think it is right to make a blanket statement against all corporations based upon the actions of some. It’s the same as making blanket statements against a group of people based upon the actions of a few individuals who fall into that category.
Frankly, the more I think about this, the more disappointed I am with the writers here. I am getting tired of this mentality where we label entire groups based upon the actions of a few. This is yet another example of that tendency. I will have to consider whether or not to continue reading this series.
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This is one of the better issues in this series. It ties up a lot of loose ends that have been bothering me for the last several installments, and it deals with three topics that fascinate me: hope, fear, and God.
In issue 7, Alice’s mother reappears, seemingly to have returned from the dead. The Doctor expresses his views on the impossibility of this occurring, which angers Alice. She confronts the Doctor, questioning how in a universe of infinite possibility that one can claim there is no hope of something deemed impossible happening.
Are you seriously going to stand there and tell me there’s no way? Not in all of time and space? We see miracles every single day, but not today? Is that what you’re saying? This time there is no hope?
While Alice is arguing the validity of her mother’s return, Jones and ARC are suffering from a fit of paralyzing fear. The Doctor makes an astute observation on the frequent human response to fear.
Fear, is it? That what came over you before? Does tend to make people violent.
Finally, what I found most intriguing about this issue is the debate about God’s existence and the definition of God. It is discovered that the two warring alien races began their war over a dispute about God. They each sent an explorer through a wormhole and they radioed back that they saw “the face of the creator,” and then never returned. Each race developed their own theory about the creator, and their disparate views resulted in the prolonged war.
As I read this, I could not help thinking how it is an accurate portrayal of our world. Fear causes us to act violently towards other. Ethnocentric views of what defines God have fueled wars for generations. In spite of this, hope for peaceful coexistence and enlightenment still continues. I must admit, I was impressed on how the creative team was able to express all this in a small comic.
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I have mixed feelings about this issue. There are some things I like and some things that just didn’t work for me. The storyline is interesting enough: the Doctor and his companions return to Earth in 2015 in order to allow Alice to take care of personal business. When they arrive, they discover that two warring alien civilizations have taken their battle in the skies above Earth. Humans, as is their usual modus operandi, enjoyed the spectacle of warfare.
“And we got all the fun of watching. There were loud bangs and flashes, but the majority of ships didn’t enter our atmosphere, and we weren’t the target. So most people seemed inclined to sit back and enjoy the light show. The space war… it was entertainment.”
So while the story is interesting, I think what didn’t work for me is that this issue seemed a little heavy on the silliness. Now I get Doctor Who. I was exposed to the Doctor early in life by my mom, and I expect some degree of silliness and cheesiness. But for some reason, it just felt like it was overdone in this issue. Of course, that’s just my opinion, for what it’s worth. Still, I found it worth reading. It’s not my favorite comic on the shelves these days, but it’s entertaining, so I’ll continue reading it.
This is a somewhat interesting read. The story is reversed, so it begins at the end and the page numbers sequentially decrease. At first I thought I needed to start at the back of the issue and read right to left, but that didn’t work. So I scrapped that approach and started at the end (beginning?) and read it left to right. This is the correct order and you will notice clues in the story letting you know you are reading it correctly.
I like that the writers took a chance and did something daring with the structure of this tale. At first it was frustrating, trying to figure it out, but now I appreciate it.
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This issue continues where Issue 3 left off, only now John Jones (the David Bowie-esque character) is traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor and Alice. They end up on a planet where people have been mysteriously going into comas after being attacked by an unseen entity. It is also revealed that secret research on the planet is being orchestrated by the sinister organization, SERVEYOUinc.
The story moves along well and is interesting, but leaves you hanging as it will be continued in the next issue. The real strength in this issue for me, though, is the inclusion of all the humorous puns and references to David Bowie. They are very witty and if you read closely you will catch a lot, like when Jones notices some flies on the space station and comments: “Oh look, there’s flies. Flies from the stars. I’ll call my next band that.” Clearly a play on the Spiders from Mars. There is also a scene where Jones and Alice are in a cafeteria and there is a box of “New Chunky Dories” cereal, which I thought was a clever reference to Bowie’s 1971 “Hunky Dory” album.
To fully appreciate this issue, it helps if you are a David Bowie fan. That said, the story and artwork are both good and you will probably enjoy it, even if you don’t catch all the Bowie references. I’m kind of looking forward to the next issue, especially since I love the early Bowie music. In fact, I think I put my vinyl copy of “Hunky Dory” on the turntable today and give it a spin. And to conclude, here is my favorite track from that album. Enjoy!
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This installment takes place in three time periods and deals with musical genius. While Alice is looking through her deceased mother’s record collection in 2014, she comments on two of her mom’s favorite artists: Robert Johnson and John Jones (who is a fictional representation of David Bowie, whose original name is David Jones). The Doctor then takes Alice back to 1962 to attend the first John Jones concert and then to 1931 to see Robert Johnson.
When Alice sees Jones perform, she is very disappointed that he has not yet embraced the glam-pop persona and is kind of dull on stage, or as she harshly states: “John Jones, it turns out, has no talent whatsoever!!” The Doctor then provides an astute observation regarding talent.
Now, now. If I’ve learnt one thing over 900 years, Alice, it’s that everyone has talent. Even if it’s sometimes… extremely well hidden.
As I thought about this, I had to accept the truth in the statement. All people have unique talents and sometimes it takes time for individuals to discover those talents and nurture them. And sadly, some talents are left undiscovered. I cannot help but wonder how many people, caught up in the craziness of daily life, neglect to search for and hone their particular abilities. I feel fortunate that I discovered my personal talents: playing music, reading, writing, running. These things have brought happiness to my life. I think that connecting with your unique talents provides a spiritual fulfillment that cannot be attained otherwise. I encourage everyone to find that special thing that you are passionate about and dedicate the time and effort to grow it.
The issue leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger. Just like Robert Johnson, the Doctor was willing to “sell his soul” for something that he wanted more than anything. But after being freed from the spell, he cannot remember what it was that he desired so much that he was willing to sacrifice everything for it.
To be continued…
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