Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 2 (On Shifts in Government and Environmental Policy)

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As I was reading this issue, I couldn’t help thinking about the results of the recent election. Political power can change quickly and the results can sometimes be drastic. Already, it looks like there will be changes in environmental policy that will have far-reaching effects. There is a section in this issue where the Doctor is contemplating the environmental destruction of a planet that was the result of a shift in government.

There was a shift in government, and the new rulers of the system decided that maintaining Rokhandi was an unnecessary expense. And let’s face it, they were right. I mean, what does a hummingbird provide, eh? What do candy lizards manufacture? What profit is there in a canyon that sings? So they sold it all. The friends of the rulers got first pick, of course. Lovely big bonuses all around. There were a few petitions, but there always are, aren’t there?

This is sad, but ever so true. I hate to sound cynical, but every time I see a petition going around Facebook I can’t help but think that it means nothing, and if anything, it is detrimental. Without trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, what do you think happens to your personal information when you sign a petition? It goes into a database somewhere and you are tagged.

I like to balance my cynicism with some optimism. Governments can quickly shift in the other direction, too. I have seen it happen in my lifetime. The pendulum swings both ways. I just hope that it never swings too far that it gets stuck.

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Doctor Who: Issue 1

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I bought this comic for my daughter, but really, I was also interested in reading it myself. It is touted as the “new adventures with the eleventh Doctor.” I have been a long-time Doctor Who fan. My mom was British and she introduced me to Doctor Who when Tom Baker steered the TARDIS. It makes me happy to see that it is still popular after all these years.

This issue is a little silly, with the Doctor chasing around a giant rainbow dog, but it is silly in an endearing way. Artistically, it is similar to the Wizard of Oz. The beginning is black and white, where Alice (who ends up being the Doctor’s new travel companion) has buried her mother and is depressed. Once the Doctor and the rainbow dog appear, then the panels burst into vibrant color. It marked a transition from the gray dullness of everyday life to the rich visual beauty which is inter-dimensional fantasy.

I really liked Alice’s character. She is smart, educated, brave, and emotional. Alice is a library assistant and as the Doctor points out after they enter the TARDIS, being surrounded by books has had a positive impact on her.

Alice: We’re in a different dimension here, aren’t we?

Doctor: Yes! Clever! I knew you were clever, I can usually tell. What do you do again?

Alice: I told you. I was a library assistant.

Doctor: Books! That’ll be it. Clever and books, usually goes together.

I completely agree with the Doctor here. Reading is so important to individual growth and development. And it’s enjoyable. I couldn’t imagine a life without books. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you feel the same way.

Keep calm and read on.

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Doctor Who Special 2013

DoctorWhoSpecial2013So if you are a geek like me, then you were probably swept up in the excitement surrounding the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I watched the live broadcast with my 12-year-old daughter and it was great. So when I saw that the Doctor Who comic series was coming to an end and closing with a feature-length special edition, well, I had to reserve a copy.

To sum up the story, the Doctor crosses into a parallel universe, which ends up being ours. Of course, in our universe, Doctor Who is a television show and he is a character played by an actor. The stage is set for some great comic interaction, where the Doctor attends a Doctor Who convention complete with nerds engaged in cosplay and winds up meeting Matt Smith, the actor who portrays himself. It is all very clever and well-executed.

I have to say, though, that what really got to me in this issue was the 12-year-old girl who the Doctor meets in this universe. The girl, whose name is Ally, is a huge Doctor Who fan and is overwhelmed by the fact that she is meeting her hero. Ally is a nerdy girl who loves science and wants to be an astronaut. I’m sure you’ve figured it out. I have a 12-year-old daughter who loves science and watches Doctor Who with me. In fact, both Ally and my daughter own toy sonic screwdrivers. I can feel myself choking up as I write.

My mom was British, so as a kid, I was exposed to Doctor Who through her. Back then, it was Tom Baker with the trademark scarf. I feel a sense of continuity watching the new episodes with my child. I felt the same way reading books to my kids when they were young, books which my parents read to me. There is something really bonding about sharing stories with your kids. For certain, I’ll be sharing this graphic novel with someone close to me. Cheers, and happy reading!

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Gender Issues in “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie

MurderAtVicarageI recently watched a Doctor Who episode where the Doctor was working with Agatha Christie to solve a mystery. I realized while watching that I had never actually read an Agatha Christie book. I decided it was time I did so.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of Christie’s books to feature Miss Marple, an elderly woman with a sharp memory and a keen eye for details. The basic plot is that someone is found shot within the vicarage of a small English town. Everyone suspects someone, but the lack of solid evidence makes it a puzzle as to “who done it.” That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because I don’t want to give away the ending. I will say that the person I thought was the murderer was not.

What I do want to talk about are the gender issues I found in the book. While the majority of the women in the book are depicted as nosy spinsters, it is Miss Marple, who is grouped in with the stereotyped women, who actually solves the case. So there is an interesting contrast between the gossipy women and the reserved and focused Marple.

I found that the two views of women are embodied in two of the male characters in the book. The vicar represents the idea of gender equality, while Inspector Slack represents the view that women are inferior to men.

Early in the book, the vicar states:

“But surely,” I said, “in these days a girl can take a post in just the same way as a man does.” (p. 15)

The vicar clearly advocates for gender equality. He makes this statement very matter-of-fact. He has no issues with women entering the workforce, choosing the type of work they want to pursue, and believes they should be provided with the same opportunities as men.

As a contrast, Inspector Slack does not seem to hold a high opinion of women. In fact, he comes right out and states that men and women are different, thereby implying that the words and actions of a man are of greater value than those of a woman:

“That’s different. She’s a woman and women act in that silly way.” (p. 69)

The more I think about this book, the more impressed I am. Not only is it a great plot-driven mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, it also touches on important issues of gender bias. Finally, there are a lot of astute observations on human behavior and society included in the book. I’ll close with one that really hit home with me.

“I’m afraid that observing human nature for as long as I have done, one gets not to expect very much from it.” (p. 18)

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #8

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss8I just finished reading issue #8, the last in the series. Not surprising, the finale was also a setup for another series.

For me, there was nothing in this last issue that was mind-bending. It didn’t suck, it was just kind of OK. That left me feeling ever so slightly disappointed. I think it is because the first half of the series was very strong, but the later half was not as interesting. I felt like the writers and artists wanted to do more, and likely could have, but that they were limited by having to squeeze everything into eight issues. My guess is that was what the publisher offered them.

So the big question is: Would I read a follow-up series? Yes, I think I would. While there were some things that were just OK, overall, I enjoyed it and I think that if given additional issues to flesh out the story a little more that it could become something awesome. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #7

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss7_VarWhen I picked up this issue, the folks at the comic book store told me it was a variant cover. Since I don’t consider myself a comic collector, all that meant to me was it was more expensive than the other issues I had picked up, but since I was buying a small stack of comics they gave it to me for half price, which was nice. Anyway, the image displayed here is the variant cover.

I found this issue to be much better than the previous one. The dialog is much more fluid and the story moves along well. There are also shifts in the color schemes associated with the different locations that the characters were in, and that worked very well for me.

There is a great quote on page 3. The Doctor and his companions are aboard the Borg cube and commenting on the Borg’s apparent calm and disinterest in them. The Doctor states: “That calm comes at the price of their free will. The collective suppresses the individual identities of the drones.” I couldn’t help thinking about the tendency of people to sacrifice their freedom to be included in a group, whether it is a religious group, a political party, or a social group. I think it is something that most humans desire, to belong to something bigger than their individual selves. But giving up who you are for acceptance into a group is a dangerous path and one that I have consciously avoided throughout most of my life.

The issue ends with the Doctor and his companions, along with the Enterprise away team, aboard the cybermen’s vessel. The stage is set for the final confrontation. The next issue is the series’ conclusion. I will be posting soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #6

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss6I just read through issue number 6 in the series and I have to say it was my least favorite so far. That said, it serves the purpose of driving the story forward.

In this installment, the Doctor and the crew of the enterprise meet with the Borg emissaries to discuss plans for defeating the Cybermen. The writing was a little cliched, especially where Riker gets angry that the Borg emissary Conduit was once a person that Riker knew. It just seemed forced somehow, whereas the earlier installments were much more fluid. Still, the events in this issue are necessary to move the plot forward, so I can overlook some minor flaws.

The one thing that I did find interesting about this issue was the explanation of how the Cybermen overcame the Borg. Essentially, it was a cyber attack on the Borg’s internal network. The Cybermen hacked the Borg’s network and were then able to destroy them. I see the same threat to countries now that we have come to rely upon computers and networks to run our society. A successful cyber attack would be devastating to an advanced society’s infrastructure.

Even though this issue was not as interesting as the previous ones, I am still enjoying the series as a whole. Look for my review of issue #7 soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #5

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss5The other day I noticed that a local comic store, Comic Envy, relocated to a bigger store. So yesterday I decided to go in there and inquire about when the X-Files comic is coming out (it will be in June, by the way). Of course, once I was in there, I HAD to buy some comics. My purchase included issues 5 through 8 of the Star Trek/Doctor Who series.

I read the first four as part of a volume that I picked up at a comic expo (click here to read my review on that volume). The basic story line is that the Cybermen joined forces with the Borg, but then turned on the Borg in an attempt to assimilate them. Volume 1 leaves off with the Doctor trying to convince Picard to help the Borg defeat the Cybermen.

In issue #5, Picard is adamant about not wanting to assist the Borg, which is understandable. Despite all the logical arguments, he refuses to help, wishing only that the Borg is destroyed. It is not until the Doctor takes the captain on a trip into the future aboard the TARDIS that Picard finally realizes what is at stake.

There is a great line at the end of the issue as the Doctor is still trying to convince Picard. The Doctor states: “We should help our enemies because it’s what makes us better than them.” (p. 22) I totally related to that line. For so many years, I held on to resentments for wrongs inflicted upon me by those I deemed my enemies. It wasn’t until I forgave them and began to wish only the best for them that I was able to move on and find contentment. The ability to help those who have hurt you is a true spiritual value.

The last thing I would like to say about this comic is that I think the artwork is great. The colors are vivid and the characters very life-like. I am looking forward to reading the next three issues. My thoughts on those will be posted soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Vol. 1

I recently attended the Asheville Comic Expo with my youngest daughter, appropriately dressed in my Captain Kirk costume. While roaming around, I came across a booth that had a plethora of sci-fi items. It was there that I found the Star Trek/Doctor Who graphic novel. I had heard about this and figured I needed to grab a copy. It seems I was not the only one who felt this way, since three other copies were sold in the time I was at the table.

The basic premise of the novel is that the Doctor arrives on the holodeck of the Enterprise in the TARDIS. As the Next Gen crew and the Doctor try to figure out why this happened, it is discovered that the Borg has joined forces with the Cybermen. The Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise begin planning how to face this new and formidable alliance.

I really loved the illustrations in this book. The artwork is very good, even though the characters seemed a little stiff in several panels, but overall, very good. The facial details make up for the occasional stiffness. There is also one part where there is a flashback to the Original Series that features Kirk and company. What works exceptionally well here is that not only do the characters change, but the style of the artwork changes. The panels actually take on a more basic style that is in keeping with the imagery associated with the Original Series. There is even an appearance from the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, which was a nice touch.

In classic graphic novel style, the book leaves you hanging with the promise of “To Be Continued.” I’m actually OK with that, because now I have something to look forward to. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when the next installment is released. It’s possible that I may now end up as one of those guys who troll the comic book stores. I guess I’d better start saving for a trip to Comic-Con.

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