The most forgettable member of the Silence returns in the conclusion of the Sapling saga.
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Graham: The doctor encounters a world with all the marks of Time Lord interference and then he and Alice have to have a final confrontation with the scream as the story of the sapling comes to an end as we take a look at Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor The Sapling Volume 3 – Branches, straight ahead.
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Graham: This volume collects four issues of Titans 11th Doctor Comics issues 9 and 11 through 13 and there are two stories in it. The first is Strange Loops, which finds the Tardis arriving on the planet Zoline, which the last time the Doctor had been on this world, it was pre-industrial. A special mask is required in order to breathe the air. The Doctor is having some strange reactions and so he sets out to find out what’s going on and there is a sense on this world with the massive increase in technology, that there may have been some Time Lord involvement perhaps during the Time War, where they, for some reason, move the development of this planet ahead but that actually turns out to not exactly be the case even though initially we see what appears to be a Time Lord but it’s not actually a Time Lord at all it’s a Time Lord weapon known as the Orphaned Hour. The Orphaned Hour was a weapon that the Time Lords conceived that would automatically, when it’s deployed, roll back the enemy’s technology and development by 30 years. So imagine if you are going to war and you attack the enemy with this and before the battle, they are thrown back to whatever technology they had in the 1980s. It’s that sort of concept. However, those who are near the Orphaned Hour are actually protected from its effect. So, three people found it and they started using it. They sent people went 30 years. They used the Orphaned Hour sent everyone back 30 years but because they were close by the machine they were not affected and they also had all of the technological advances of the previous 30 years which they then introduced and pawned off as their own and by doing so repeatedly, they were credited as the planet’s saviors and their great inventors. It’s a clever concept for both a weapon and for con game but the Orphaned Hour did not want to be used that way and so the Doctor took it away but what the Tardis did with it led to a situation where the Tardis was going to crash and so the Doctor Sapling to take root and if you recall the nature of the sapling, is that it was meant to be planted on a planet and then would overrun all the life on the planet and then grow a new sapling to be sent elsewhere. This is a dangerous situation but it’s in the Tardis. So, it’s not like it’s actually on the surface of the planet. So, it’s a little different.
However, The Scream, the villain from Volume 1 of the Sapling, has been following them throughout this time and when the Sapling puts down roots, The Scream re-emerges inside the Tardis to take advantage of this situation and to now have the combined power of the Sapling and the Tardis. Of course, The Scream is part of the species, The Silence, and as such the Doctor doesn’t remember all the details about him since that is the great talent of The Silence is if you look at them you see them but then you turn away and you don’t remember them and this is particularly true of The Scream, which if you’ll recall from Volume 1, The Scream was so forgettable that even other members of The Silence forgot about him. So, anyone who looked on him totally forgot about him immediately thereafter.
Now the Doctor in the finale of the series, finds himself in Hungry Thirsty Roots up against The Scream, having fallen into his hands without even really remembering who his opponent was and now the plan of The Scream is to get the Tardis on to a planet, get the Sapling out and use him to propagate the planet and then having propagated the planet, to spread throughout the universe and so that he will be universally remembered. It’s a really good concept story and there are some imaginative realization of some of the Sapling’s schemes.
The Doctor and Alice face some real challenges and even some difficulty in being able to properly perceive reality. They do come together in the end to defeat The Scream in a way that’s clever but also a bit sudden but I think it works for this book which really is a bit of a concept book. I will say that the last couple panels have Alice referring to her travels with the Doctor in the past tense and this may be because the current series is ending and Titan is going to be relaunching all of the Doctor Who comics and so they don’t necessarily want the new creative team bound having Alice but if this is actually her departure issue and we don’t see her depart or have any reason why she departed, then I will be a bit annoyed. Overall though I will give the Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor The Sapling Volume 3 – Branches, a rating of somewhat classy. It really does nicely wrap up the entire Sapling story line. As a whole, I don’t think the Sapling storyline was quite as compelling or as interesting as the ones from the first two years. The first year we just really got to enjoy the Doctor and Alice travelling together and the second year of the eleventh doctor involved mysteries of the Time War and Absalom doc joining the Doctor on the Tardis. This one is far simpler but it’s also really a fun art. There’s some great imaginative imagery used throughout. Some high concept stuff and some exploration of The Silence from the T.V. show that is actually interesting. Taking an individual member of that species who is too good at being part of The Silence. So overall, I think this is this is somewhat classy. It’s not the Eleventh Doctor at its best but it’s still a pretty enjoyable ride
Alright, well that’s all for now. If you do have a comment, e-mail to me firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure and rate the show on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter at classycomicsguy and check out the website classycomicsguy.com. From Boise Idaho, this is your host Adam Graham signing off.