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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fire and Brimstone written by Alan Barnes with Pencils by Martin Geraghty

Fire and Brimstone did have a lot of good stuff in there but it was let down by quite a disapointing ending - or the last part to be exact. Putting The Keep in context with F & B makes the former story more interesting in retrospect and does give the location some nice backstory. Not only that but Alan Barnes once again flirts with some very interesting ideas, specifically the outrageous plan of the Daleks to tear through into alternative universes and terrorise. With a plan like that their ethnic cleansing of the universe need never end. I also loved the idea of those horrid Dalek bugs that came flying through and that the Daleks could justifiably be scared by their counterparts in another dimension.

Also it is a great showing for Izzy who gets to enjoy her first multi part epic and being taken away from the Doctor by the Threshold gets to comment on the action with some acidic quips. Its nice to see her and the Doctor thinking about their adventure on the very last page, for once you get a real sense of a relationship building and some interesting reflection. Plus the eighth Doctor continues to thrill in ink, stepping up to the Daleks without fear and being exterminated for his troubles!

However there were some gaping flaws in this story as well...for something that was supposed to be so epic it feels remarkably contained to a few rooms and we see very little Dalek force. We learn nothing at all about the bug Daleks from the other dimension and the revelation that the Time Lords were behind all this comes out of no where and is unexplained. Although it is another taster for the oncoming Time War. I know very little about the Threshold as well which left me behind when they showed up...there were plenty of reminders about The Keep and the backstory built there but nothing about the Threshold.

Although the artwork is typically good the story does not leave the same sort of opportunities as the first few stories.
There is so much going on that the sense of movement was jarring - the story switch from location to location with dizzying speed. Perhaps The Keep was twice the length it should have been but there was a definate sense of narrative - here its like reading a script its so choppy. I didn't think the Daleks looked that great either and there was a long shot of the hub on page 71 where they look like fake dapol model Daleks! Plus the eyestalks looked wierd with veins running through them. However the opening shot of part three, that impressive full page shot of the Doctor surrounded by Daleks, is beautifully futurisitic and captures the location very well and the various bug attacks are apropriately nasty.

A mixed bag then but it certainly has its moments, all of the cliffhangers left me wanting to read the next part so they were definately doing their job well. But I think with a little less action and a little more explanation this could have been much better: 6/10

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