Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who: The Crimson Hand

(Panini)

THE tenth Doctor, wandering alone through time and space following the loss of Donna Noble, has no interest in picking up a new companion. But Magenta Pryce is far from your ordinary TARDIS passenger…

This third and final collection of stories from Doctor Who Magazine starring David Tennant’s incarnation of the Time Lord uses the lack of a regular TV series in 2009 to immerse the comic strip adventures of the Doctor in a long-running arc which explored the motivations and origins of green-skinned entrepreneurial villain Pryce, whose memories were wiped when she was incarcerated in an alien female prison.

Charging the Doctor with finding out where she came from and who she really is, Majenta and her new “employee” begin a series of adventures which takes them from the English village of Stockbridge to a decaying mansion on a planet drifting through a galactic storm, as well as ghosts on the London Underground’s Northern Line and a detective story with a difference…

Unlike many of the Doctor’s companions, there is an obvious lack of trust between the Time Lord and Majenta, with neither quite willing to give the other the benefit of the doubt. But true to form, the influence of the Doctor begins to rub off on the former criminal, as she begins to change for the better.

As the time travellers’ adventures progress we meet the likes of businessman Wesley Sparks, who describes Majenta as the love of his life, and join an Australian branch of UNIT to tackle returning villains the Skith, whose homeworld was destroyed by a huge, red hand…

Things come to a head several strips later, when an armada of spaceships surrounds the Earth demanding Majenta’s surrender, leading to a final confrontation with her former criminal associates, who are using an interdimensional artefact to reorder the shape of reality itself…

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As both the conclusion of the Majenta Pryce saga and the tenth Doctor’s comic strip adventures, the eponymous Crimson Hand storyline has much to live up to, but it admirably succeeds in presenting an epic finale which neatly wraps up both narratives with the sort of terrifying threat to the universe menace it deserves.

The comic strips published in Doctor Who Magazine since it started in 1979 have enjoyed many golden ages of quality, including the runs starring the sixth and eighth Doctors, and now we can add this series of stories to that list. A triumphant collection of adventures which is finally collected in a format which stands up to the repeat reading it deserves.

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