by Victoria Irwin
Two cosmonauts work in a jovial mood to repair the outside of their deteriorating spacecraft. As they witness the brilliance of the circling sun, one suddenly complains about the darkness that has engulfed him. The Doctor arrives shortly after to inform the remaining cosmonaut that his friend has been consumed by the swarm plague of the destructive alien race, the Vashta Nerada. The Doctor urges the cosmonaut to turn on all the lights in the space craft, causing a power surge and small fire. All is well with the TARDIS supporting life for both vessels, until the alien swarm takes matters into their own hands.
Joshua Hale Fialkov does a fantastic job capturing the sheer optimism and awe at humanity that the 11th Doctor is so well known for. He displays the Doctor’s quick with and desire to be reassuring, while also managing to show the brief moments where our hero doesn’t quite seem to know if he’s going to manage to save the day.
The art work for this issue is a collaborative effort with pencils by Horacio Domingues and Andres Ponce; inks by Ruben Gonzalez; colors Adrian Salmon. The iconic image of the victims of the Vashta Nerada is that of a skeleton in a spacesuit. This image was made popular in the Doctor Who Television show in the episode “Silence In the Library.” I found myself immediately nodding in recognition as this image was prominantly displayed in the first few pages of the issue. The colors are well done, highlighting the bleakness of the alien swarm and their victims, while still showing the scrappy spirit of the cosmonauts who would “go in a lunch pail” to get to space.
What works the best in this comic is the Doctor’s sense of wonder at the Soviet Space program. He sees that they are so determined to see the wonders of space that they will construct anything to get to it. The creature for this issue is one of the more dangerous that the Doctor has faced, but not nearly as popularly recognized as the Daleks or Cybermen. The story itself in engaging and the art work well crafted enough to draw the reader in and have them excitedly await the next issue with all the lights in the house on.