Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor!

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Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor!

Jodie Whittaker was announced as Doctor Who’s 13th incarnation of the Time Lord – and she the first woman to have the role. Her role as the new Doctor was revealed in a special Who trailer broadcast on BBC One after the end of the Wimbledon men’s singles final. Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker takes over from Peter Capaldi, who became the Doctor in 2013 and departs from the programme in this year’s Christmas special. Jodie Whittaker, 35, will make her debut in the show at Christmas!

Here’s the trailer!

Images Belong BBC

 

Old Man Logan #26 Review

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Old Man Logan #26

Review by Paul Bowler

The Maestro returns as Logan’s dark future begins catching up with him! Resolved to stop history repeating itself, Logan takes to the road in Old Man Logan #26 as he sets out to hunt down the Hulk gang – the Banner offspring he believed killed back in the Wastelands. He’s going to need help from an old friend to track them though, but the Maestro’s actions creates an opportunity that could soon mean Logan’s downfall…

The outstanding new Days of Anger arc by writer Ed Brisson, artist Mike Deodato JR, and colorist Frank Martin, continues in Marvels Old Man Logan #26 as the Maestro’s schemes advance to the next level. Having taken a motorcycle trip to Canada to have some time away from the X-Men, Logan was left reeling when he was ambushed at a diner by the Hulk gang. Old Man Logan #26: Days of Anger Part 2 sees Logan embark on his quest to prevent the Hulk gang from harming this world, a stance writer Ed Brisson powerfully reinforces with this issues glimpse into Logan’s time in the Wastelands, before returning to the present as we catch up with the Maestro making his presence felt at a remote compound in Yukon territory, Canada.

Of course, at the moment Logan believes that its only the Hulk Gang he‘s after, he doesn’t know that the Maestro is also here in the present as well, and it’s this dramatic edge to proceedings which Ed Brisson skilfully builds on as fate inexorably sets Logan and the Maestro on a collision course that’s knee deep in treachery, blood, and violence.

From the sombre opening Mike Deodato’s artwork perfectly encapsulates the dark, gritty tone of this issue. Whilst the Hulk gangs attack on the compound is an unflinchingly brutal spectacle of raw power, Logan’s tracking skills also come to the fore in some especially atmospheric scenes as he uncovers some unsettling clues at an old Department H bunker. Deodatos use of open integrated panel layouts is not quite as pronounced as usual, but it makes the build up to the Maestro’s scheme to kill two birds with one stone feel all the more effective as a result. Frank Martin’s colours are also superb throughout, the apocalyptically tinted hues of the farm scenes in the Wasteland contrast beautifully with icy greys and sweeping shadows that dominate the scenes at the compound and the bunker, and the Maestro and the Hulk gang look more menacing than ever before.

This issue of Old Man Logan strikes just the right balance between action and brooding plot developments. The characters motivations also become a real focal point, especially when it comes to Logan’s determination to stop the Hulk gang and the Maestro’s ruthlessness to achieve his goal to strike first against humanity. After a brief interlude to contact an old friend from Alpha Flight, Logan is soon back on the road once again as the issue races towards its thrilling cliff-hanger amidst an explosive barrage of bullets and betrayal!

Along with its intricately structure storyline by Ed Brisson and terrific artwork by Mike Deodato JR, Old Man Logan #26 takes this new arc into increasingly dark territory as the Maestro’s grand designs become apparent. Old Man Logan is without doubt one of Marvel’s best books right now, the creative team is firing on all cylinders, and the startling developments in Old Man Logan #26 make it a gripping read from cover to cover.

Publisher Marvel Comics

Writer: Ed Brisson / Art Mike: Deodato JR / Colorist: Frank Martin

Letterer: VCs Cory Petit  / Cover: Mike Deodato JR & Frank Martin

Doctor Who The Doctor Falls Review

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Doctor Who The Doctor Falls

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

Time is running out for the Doctor! The Mondasian Cybermen are emerging and the Master has returned. All hope seems lost for the Doctor. Bill has been horrifically converted into a Mondasian Cyberman and Missy has sided with the Master against him. Now, with the parallel evolution of Cybermen past and present gathering on all sides the trio of Time Lords must face the ultimate choice as the time of the Doctor’s final battle draws near…

The Doctor Falls, written by show runner Steven Moffat, and helmed once again by the director of the penultimate episode of 2017’s tenth series World Enough and Time, Rachael Talalay (Dark Water / Death in Heaven (2014), Heaven Sent and Hell Bent (2015), is a series finale of truly epic proportions that pits the Doctor against a trio of his most deadliest enemies – The Master, Missy, and the Mondasian Cybermen!

The end of days is coming for the 12th Doctor. Following the ominously scene-setting pre-title moments, we flashback to events that reveal how the shuttle reached the solar farm after the Doctor and his friends became trapped on board a huge colony spaceship caught precariously in the gravity well of a black hole. Having discovered that Bill has been transformed into a Mondasian Cybermen the Doctor must devise a way escape from the hellish hospital rooftop as the two incarnations of his arch nemesis Missy and the Master dance amidst the twisted maelstrom of chaos they have wrought as the Cybermen rise to challenge them all!

But the whole city is now a machine to turn people into Cybermen and its not long before the Doctor reveals how he’s already managed to turn the tables on the Master and Missy; altering the parameters of the Cybermen’s programming so that the Time Lord’s become targets as well as the humans. However, even when Missy knocks out the Master in a bid to help, the Doctor remains unsure which side she is on as Nardole returns with a shuttle. In the rush to escape from the rooftop the Doctor suffers an electric shock from a Cyberman, fortunately Cyber-Bill rescues him and they escape in the shuttle to a higher level of the gigantic spaceship.

Peter Capaldi is utterly magnificent here as the 12th Doctor faces his darkest of days, John Simm and Michelle Gomez are also a delight to behold as their waltz of evil unfolds, and the electrifying chemistry between this opposing trinity Time Lord’s as they clash makes for compelling viewing throughout this episode. Bill Pott’s must also grapple with the tragic reality of her Cyber-Conversion, heartbreakingly played by Pearl Mackie, especially when Bill tells the Doctor that she doesn’t want to live like this is she can’t be herself anymore.

While the build up to the finale in World Enough and Time was dark and claustrophobic, The Doctor Falls strikes a markedly different in tone once the action shifts to floor 507 as the apocalyptic uprising of the Cybermen at the hospital gives way to gnarled forests, farmland, and rolling hills. The scenes at the solar farm where our alternating viewpoint between Bill’s human perception of herself and her actual Cyber-self, is heartrendingly portrayed as the Doctor explains to her how her inner strength – from dealing with the Monks mass delusion earlier in series ten – has enabled her to create a perception filter in her mind to cope with the horror of becoming a Mondasian Cyberman, and it’s this visual dynamic of Cyber-Bill that is continually used to great effect across the rest of the episode. Of course the time here has allowed the Doctor a brief respite to recover from being electrocuted, but he’s also exhibiting the early signs of his regeneration which he tellingly hides from Bill. Matt Lucas continues to shine in his role as Nardole, proving his worth and loyalty in more ways than one, with the character once again playing a surpassingly key role in the action.

Right from the stark openness of this episodes pre-titles sequence, The Doctor Falls is without doubt Steven Moffat’s most ambitious script ever. Its an impressively bold and exciting hour-long series finale, brilliantly directed by Rachael Talalay, the epic scale, big action set-pieces, hints of romance, and sweeping revelations ensures the extraordinary pace of this episode hardly lets up for a moment. The Doctor has a plan of his own worked out as he battles to save a group of humans on the solar farm led by Hazran (Samantha Spiro), along with Alit (Briana Shann), Gazron (Rosie Boore), and Bexhill (Simon Coombs), whilst single-handedly attempting to hold off an army of Cybermen and perhaps most devastatingly – his own regeneration!

Following their impromptu genesis of sorts in World Enough and Time, the original Mondasian Cybermen are back in force in The Doctor Falls, having been diligently remodelled for their impressive return to the series. The Mondasian Cybermen originally made their debut back in The Tenth Planet (1966), which starred William Hartnell as the 1st Doctor, it was written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, and directed by Derek Martinus, and as well as heralding the Cybermen’s first appearance this classic story also featured the Doctor’s first ever regeneration.

Now the Mondasian Cybermen are back in The Doctor Falls, and this time they are appearing alongside their modern counterparts from the 10th and 11th Doctor‘s eras as well! It goes without saying that the Cyber-Set-Pieces in this episode are an exciting fan pleasing spectacle in their own right, but it is Bill’s plight as a fully converted Mondasian Cyberman that really strikes a cord. This is as exciting a Cyberman episode I think I’ve ever seen in the modern series, and the Mondasian Cybermen’s return now brings the Cybermen’s journey full circle amongst the elite pantheon of Doctor Whos most successful recurring monsters.

With the Cybermen flying through the levels of the ship to reach them and any hope of returning to the TARDIS on the bridge now a mathematical impossibility, the Doctor intends to use a camouflaged lift in the nearby forest to evacuate the humans to safety on another floor. The 12th Doctor’s disdain as Missy and the Master refuse to stand with him against the Cybermen is almost palpable, as they are all forced to face some unsettling home truths, and the exchanges between them here is electrifying to behold. As they leave the Doctor to his fate, with Cyber-Bill at his side while Nardole reluctantly leads the humans away along their escape route, and it is here that the Doctor prepares to stand his ground as the combined forces of the Cybermen close in.

Michelle Gomez is fabulously wicked as Missy in The Doctor Falls, especially now that she’s teamed up with John Simm as the earlier incarnation of The Master, and as they abandon the Doctor to return to the Master’s TARDIS it seems Missy has indeed returned to the path of evil. The warped chemistry between the Master and Missy is superbly played by Simm and Gomez, yet their characters dark union ultimately sees Missy have a change of hearts (s), and true to their nature they end up – quite literally – stabbing each other in the back. I’ve really enjoyed Michelle Gomez’s portrayal of Missy, she’s brought a fresh new dynamic to the Doctor’s arch enemy, her team-up with the Simm incarnation of the Master has been great fun, and Missy’s demise in this episode provides a fittingly ambiguous final end to the renegade’s time in the 12th Doctor’s era.

There are far too many to mention, but along with the obligatory mention of jelly babies, as you’d expect with any series finale there are also a number of references to Doctor Who’s previous series. Missy mentions she knows the Doctor has fallen before, because it was when the 4th Doctor plummeted from a radio telescope in Logopolis (1981). The Doctor Falls also features a pre-regeneration sequence were the Doctor sees images of his past companions and friends, something which also happened to the Doctor in Logopolis, and the cloister bell which tolls after the 12th Doctor forcefully holds back his regeneration was also first heard back in Logopilis when it was explained to be a warning of imminent catastrophe and a call to man the battle stations.

There’s a great mash-up of the 4th Doctor’s comment to Harry from Robot “You may be a Doctor, but I am the Doctor. The definitive article you might say”, and the 1st Doctor’s ( played by Richard Hurndall) comments to Tegan “As it happens, I am the Doctor, the original you might say.“ from The Five Doctors (1983), during the final scenes of The Doctor Falls with the line “You may be a Doctor, but I am the Doctor… The original you might say.” There are lots references to past Cybermen stories as well to look out for relating back to events on other worlds, including name checks for Mondas from The 10th Planet (1966), Telos from Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), Planet 14 mentioned by the Cyber-Planner in Invasion (1968), Voga from Revenge of the Cybermen 1975), Canary Warf in Army of Ghosts / Doomsday (2006), and the Moon from The Moonbase (1967). Capaldi’s Doctor also echoes the 10th Doctor’s finale words “I don’t want to go” from The End of Time Part 2 (2010) as he faces the prospect of his own regeneration.

The final battle in the forest between the Doctor and the Cybermen is explosive, violent, and potentially fatal for the Time Lord as he eventually succumbs to the overwhelming odds and firepower stacked against him. In the last moments of the battle as the Doctor detonates the pipes in this levels infrastructure, the resulting explosion kills all the Cybermen, but the Doctor is also mortally wounded as a result. Cyber-Bill arrives, distraught at the Doctor’s apparent demise, she weeps, and her tears suddenly summon Heather (the sentient water based life-form Bill fell for in the series 10 premier The Pilot). It transpires Heather left Bill her tears behind and it formed a connection between them. Heather restores Bill back to her human form and they set out to explore the universe together, but before she goes Bill says goodbye to the unconscious Doctor resting inside the TARDIS, leaving her own tear behind before she departs.

Although some might find Bill’s fate a little contentious, I though it was handled really well, and gave the character a good sense of closure. Of course, it’s the closing moments of the Doctor Falls, as the Time Lord angrily refuses to regenerate, that events bookend with World Enough and Time’s astonishing pre-titles sequence where the Doctor kneels in front of the TARDIS about to regenerate, only for his regeneration to be delayed again before the surprise arrival of the 1st Doctor, played by David Bradley, reprising his role from An Adventuree in Space and Time (2013) where he starred as William Hartnell in a dramatization of the early years of Doctor Who in the 1960’s. It’s a terrific moment, one that also brings with it heaps of nostalgia as well for good measure, and it certainly rounds off The Doctor Falls in fine style.

The Doctor Falls is a fittingly epic and action-packed finale to series ten. Overall this series of Doctor Who has arguably had one of the strongest runs of episodes that we’ve seen in recent years. There’s also been a distinct classic series vibe to this whole season, that has easily made it one the best and most accessible from Steven Moffat’s time as show runner. Needless to say, Peter Capaldi has been superb throughout as the Doctor; likewise, Pearl Mackie was also an absolute revelation as new companion Bill Pott’s. I was a little hesitant about Matt Lucas’ return as Nardole though, primarily because I was unsure that the character would work as a series regular, fortunately I’ve been proved wrong as Lucas and his role as Nardole has turned out to be a real boon for series ten

Now with the end of Moffats era and Capaldis tenure rapidly approaching, The Doctor Falls has paved the way for the 12th Doctors departure, and engineered a thrilling lead-in to the 2017 Christmas Special in the most spectacular way imaginable as Peter Capaldis incarnation gets set to teams-up with David Bradley as William Hartnells 1st Doctor for one last adventure before the impending regeneration of Peter Capaldis Doctor draws near….

Images Belong BBC

Doctor Who World Enough and Time Review

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Doctor Who World Enough and Time

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

A close friendship for the Doctor will become the catalyst for his most impetuous decisions of all time… In her bid to change her evil ways, Missy has joined the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole on their adventures in the TARDIS. When they become trapped on a gigantic spaceship caught in the gravity of a black hole, the Doctor faces the demise of someone he’s sworn to protect. But on this ship of uncanny life forms, where even time is working against him, old enemies await – the Mondasian Cybermen and the Master!

The inexorable path to the end of an era begins in the penultimate episode of series ten, World Enough and Time, the first part of the series finale, written by show runner Steven Moffat, and directed by Rachael Talalay (The director of the two-part 2014 series finale Dark Water and Death in Heaven, along with 2015’s Heaven Sent and the series nine finale Hell Bent. As the title for World Enough and Time suggests, it’s a reference to a poem by Andrew Marvel, entitled To His Coy Mistress, the lines of which resonate strongly with Missy’s role and the Vault story-arc that has been so prevalent across the entirety of series ten.

Kicking off with a startling pre-titles sequence as the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS into a frozen snowscape where he begins to regenerate, World Enough and Time is an episode that hit’s some powerful emotional beats right from the outset, and from there Steven Moffat’s taut script doesn’t let up the pace for a moment. In deciding to give Missy the chance to explore her newfound goodness as part of her rehabilitation, the Doctor lets her take the lead in a mission to save a 400 mile long colony spaceship attempting to reverse away from a black hole. Yes, there’s a new Doctor, In-The-TARDIS… well, sort of, as Missy glibly assumes the role of “Doctor Who”, along with Bill and Nardole acting as her trusty “disposables” while the Doctor observes from inside the TARDIS.

However, when the blue-skinned humaniod Jorj arrives and holds them at gunpoint the Doctor soon has to intervene. The ship is on full reverse, but because of the time dilation caused by the close proximity of the black hole, time is moving at significantly faster rate at the top of the vast colony ship than at the bottom. Fearing the beings about to arrive in the lift, Jorj shoots Bill when she admits to being human, fatally wounding her. Sinister humanoids dressed in hospital gowns then emerge from the lift and take Bill’s body away despite the Doctor’s protestations.

It is from this shocking moment, as we linger for what seems an eternity on the gaping wound in Bill’s chest, that World Enough and Time spirals momentarily into flashback mode to bring us up to speed with the events that have brought us to this point. There are some wonderful scenes as the Doctor and Bill discuss his long-standing friendship with Missy / the Master, its all beautifully played by Capaldi and Mackie, and it makes what is to come feel all the more heartbreaking as a result.

With the Doctor’s telepathic message instructing her to wait for him haunting her from this moment on, Bill awakes in a strange hospital to find a mechanical device has been grafted to her chest – effectively replacing her heart. Befriended by one of the hospital workers, Mr Razor, Bill gradually settles into life at this end of the colony ship as the population prepares to be upgraded for Operation Exodus, meanwhile the Doctor begins to piece together what really happened to the bridge crew, and the implications of the time dilation for the Doctor and Bill quickly become frighteningly apparent as we observe events seemingly conspiring to keep them apart.

Soon, the TARDIS trio are thrown into total chaos, dark secretes and treachery will strike, there are patients crying out quite literally in “Pain” in a creepy hospital, and old enemies are gathering against the Doctor. Peter Capaldi is, as you’d expect, is on magnificent form throughout as the Doctor tackles the rapidly evolving plight they now face. Pearl Mackie also gives a wonderfully emotive performance in this episode as Bill faces some chilling horrors in the hospital, and Matt Lucas continues to impress as Nardole. The guest cast also includes a good performance by Oliver Lansley as Jori, along with Paul Bright well (Surgeon), and Alison Lintott (Nurse).

Michelle Gomez is quite simply fabulous in World Enough and Time as Missy, the female incarnation of the Doctor’s arch nemesis, The Master. The subplot concerning Missy’s incarceration in the Vault, along with her subsequent desire to renounce evil and make up for her wicked ways, finally delivers the ultimate payoff in this episode as we get to see just what the self-confessed Queen of Evil is really capable of.

The World Enough and Time also marks the return of the Cybermen, and this time it’s the 1960’s style Mondasian Cybermen that Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor finds himself face-to-face with, and this iconic fan-favourite monster with its distinct low-tech cloth-faced look has been faithfully recreated in a the most remarkable way possible for their return here in the modern series. Superbly voiced by Nicholas Briggs, their unsettling form of speech – established with a very creepy rationale – together with their imposing presence ensures that this wonderfully dark and sinisterly toned episode will have you on the edge of your seat as a plethora of macabre and unsettling incidents unfold – especially with the episodes grim exploration of Cyber-Conversion

The Mondasian Cybermen first appeared in the 1966 story The Tenth Planet, staring William Hartnell as the 1st Doctor, it was written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, and directed by Derek Martinus. Although for much of World Enough and Time we are actually only presented with their frightening intermediate stage, as seen en mass in the spaceships vast hospital wards, when an original Mondasian Cybermen does finally emerge from the shadows to face the 12th Doctor and Nardole in this episode the splicing of fan-expectation and nostalgia it generates is stunning.

Once the lift brining Doctor, Missy, and Nardole eventually arrives at the bottom level of the ship, the Doctor and Nardole head off to find Bill while Missy is entrusted with finding out about the origins of the colony ship – which she soon discovers is from an Earth-like world; Mondas! Approached by Mr Razor, Missy is shocked when he peels away his disguise and is revealed to be her own previous incarnation – The Master!

Yes, its not just the Mondasian Cybermen who are back, John Simm also returns in World Enough and Time as the earlier version of The Master, last seen in the 10th Doctor’s 2010 swansong, The End of Time Part 2, and his brief presence really brings an electrifying sense of frisson and drama to this episode as events gradually begin to spiral out of control for the Doctor. Sporting greyer hair and a neatly trimmed goatee, John Simm ensures his portrayal of the Master is just as villainously evil and menacing as ever, and the scene stealing moment where the Master and Missy unite against the Doctor is brilliantly played by Simm and Gomez, and its made all the more shattering once the Doctor realizes the Mondasian Cyberman he’s found is Bill when it tells him that it waited for him. This has to be one of Doctor Who’s most powerful cliff-hangers ever. However, it is a great shame that John Simm’s return as the Master wasn’t kept secret though, as the build up to this big event is really good and it would’ve made one hell of a surprise when coupled with the horror of Bill‘s tragic fate.

While not as loaded with Cybermen references as I might’ve expected, World Enough and Time does hint to some other key points from the programmes past. Missy’s insistence on calling herself “Doctor Who” during her fleeting role as the Doctor in this episode is an interesting word-play on the Doctor’s actual name, which often tends to be used in this manner more like a question, like in The War Machines (1966) when WOTAN, the computer in the Post Office Tower, demanded: “Doctor Who is required.” John Simm is back as the Master, as is the renegade Time Lord’s penchant for disguises, something Roger Delgado’s Master often employed in his schemes following his debut in Terror of the Autons (1971) to outwit UNIT and the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee), most memorable of which was probably adopting the identity of Reverend Mr Magister in The Daemons. When the Master returned in the 80’s played by Anthony Ainley other disguises included the elderly Portreeve in 1981’s Castrovalva and the wizard-like Kalid in Time Flight, and in 2007’s The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords the John Simm incarnation of The Master took on the persona of the newly elected Prime Minister – Harold Saxon. In another clear link back to the 3rd Doctor’s era Peter Capaldi’s Doctor also uses some Venusian Aikido in World Enough and Time to deal with Jorj.

Even though Missy and Bill take centre stage over the Doctor for a time, Peter Capaldi still gets some incredibly dramatic scenes, there are some timey-wimey shenanigans as well, but Moffat doesn’t trowel it on so thick that it overloads the plot, and of course the return of Jon Simm as the Master is the icing on the cake in this brooding horror-tinged episode. Impressive in scope and atmospherically directed by Rachel Talalay, the sight of Bill fully converted into a Mondasian Cybermen and flanked by Missy and the Master as they confront the Doctor, is as gut wrenchingly emotional as it is exciting, and Moffat and Talalay prove once again what a winning team they make in World Enough and Time when is comes to these two-part extravaganzas. With its opening hints towards the 12th Doctor impending regeneration and its Genesis of the Cybermen premise, World Enough and Time is one of the darkest and most sinister episodes of this series, and the thrilling cliff-hanger masterfully sets everything up for what promises to be a truly epic series finale!

Images Belong BBC

And here’s the next time trailer for the final episode of Series 10

The Doctor Falls

The Doctor Falls BBC Trailer

Sci-Fi Jubilee 5th Anniversary!

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Sci-Fi Jubilee 5th Anniversary

My blog Sci-Fi Jubilee has reached its 5th anniversary! This year seems to have flown by so quickly as well! I’ve have had a fantastic time writing this blog over the last five years, covering a wide variety of TV, film, and comic book reviews and articles from numerous subjects and genres that I enjoy most – especially when it comes to Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and comic books – which I absolutely love writing about!

Of course, though, Sci-Fi Jubilee would be nothing without all of you! So, Id like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everybody out there for reading and following my blog. You are always so generous and kind, and give me so much awesome support through commenting on my blog nominating me for blog awards, and sharing my reviews on Twitter, WordPress, and Sci-Fi Jubilees Facebook page. My new YouTube Channel has also become a major feature on the blog now as well, the walkthroughs I did for The Return to Arkham Collection and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard were really fun to do, and I can’t thank you enough for all of your subscriptions, comments, and encouragement that has continued to make the YouTube Channel feel such a welcome addition to Sci-Fi Jubilee. When I first started out with this blog, I never dreamed Sci-Fi Jubilee would become such a huge part of my life as it has. But most importantly it is your feedback that make Sci-Fi Jubilee and blogging so enjoyable for me. Sci-Fi Jubilee has evolved so much over the last five years, I also write for other websites now too, and I look forward to doing some more walkthroughs on my YouTube Channel in the future. Cheers for all your amazing support everyone, and heres to another brilliant year!

Doctor Who The Eaters of Light Review

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Doctor Who The Eaters of Light

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

It is an enduring mystery, the Roman legion of the ninth vanished in the swirling mists of Scotland long ago in the past. Bill has an uncanny theory about what might’ve happened, and seeing how the Doctor just happens to have a time machine… But once the TARDIS has materialised in ancient Aberdeenshire they soon discover something mush deadlier than a Roman army, because in a secluded cairn there is a doorway, one that leads to the end of the world!

The tenth episode of series ten, The Eaters of Light, is perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated episode this season, as it is written by Rona Monro, who returns to the series nearly thirty years after her first script for Doctor Who – the highly-regarded 1989 Seventh Doctor adventure Survival. The episode is directed by Charles Palmer, who, along with helming the series ten episode Oxygen., also directed 2007s Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code and the acclaimed two-parter Human Nature / The Family of Blood.

Nardole isn‘t too pleased the Time Lord is off neglecting his oath to guard the Vault again; but he still goes along with Bill and the Doctor to investigate the bizarre mystery surrounding what really happened to Rome’s Ninth Legion who disappeared back in second-century Caledonia in AD120. In this hauntingly evocative episode strange music comes from the earth, the crows are talking, there’s a light-eating monster prowling the night, a Police Box has been carved in a standing stone, and a strange inter-dimensional gateway awaits as the TARDIS trio joins forces with Roman Centurions and Pictish warriors against a terrifying horror like something from Celtic myth that now haunts the lands.

Since she wrote Survival, the last story aired in the class series’ original twenty-six year run, Rona Munro has gone on to become one of the UK’s most renowned playwrights, writing also for radio, TV, and film screenplays. Munro’s wonderful script for The Eaters of Light weaves a magical thread of history, fantasy and sci-fi through this spooky saga of ancient legend, lost youth, and the fate of the Ninth Legion. As well as being a life-long fan of Doctor Who, Rona Munro now also has the added distinction, so far, of being the only person to have currently written stories for both the TV’s Doctor Who’s twentieth and twenty first century versions of the programme.

Peter Capaldi gives an especially towering performance as the Doctor in this episode, being both wise and heroic to a fault. Meanwhile, Bill finds this motley and diverse bunch of Roman’s are far more open-minded than she could’ve expected, especially where topics of sexuality are concerned, and Pearl Mackie one again brings a delightful sense of wonder and charm to the role of Bill Potts. Matt Lucas of course gets most the fun lines as Nardole, whose wry observations bring a welcome dash of mirth to the narrative. The Eaters of Light also features a great supporting cast: including Rebecca Benson (Kar), Daniel Kerr (Ban), Juwon Adedokun (Simon), Brian Vernel (Lucius), Ben Hunter (Thracius)), Arron Phagura (Marcus), Sam Adewunmi (Vitus), Billy Matthews (Cornelius), Jocelyn Brassington (Judy), and Lewis McGowan (Brother).

After discovering most of the Ninth Legion has been slaughtered by a “beast” known as the Eater of Light, Bill finds sanctuary with some of the surviving Roman soldiers. Meanwhile the Doctor and Nardole have found the remaining Pict warriors, the sole defenders against the Eaters of Light, whose weapons can refract and poison the light the monsters feed on. Their cairn holds the portal – where time flows more slowly – to the beast’s realm. Once in every generation, a lone warrior must enter to protect the gateway from an invading creature. Though they would survive only a few hours, it would be long enough to protect the world, but the Picts never suspected that each beast they battled was just the first of a deadly swarm that lurks beyond the portal.

It perhaps comes as no surprise that, much like The Empress of Mars which preceded it, The Eaters of Light also has a distinctly classic series feel about it. Charles Palmer’s excellent direction really makes the most of the impressive scenery. The episode is a bit low action in some places, but there is some great characterization, and the dark and atmospheric setting more than compensates for any lull in the overall pace of the story. This is an episode that once again has the Doctor and Bill separated for part of the story, so we get the Time Lord and Nardole teamed up for a bit, and the banter between them proves quite fun at times.

The Ninth Legion did really exist and they did disappear mysteriously. The Easters of Light is far from the first story in the programmes history to focus on such unexplained events. Real life mysteries have often provided the basis for many Doctor Who stories over the years: such as the inexplicable sightings of the Loch Ness Monster in Terror of the Zygons (1975), the extinction of the dinosaurs in Earthshock (1982), and Agatha Christie’s famous disappearance in The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008), are just a few examples where fact, mystery, and Doctor Who’s timey-wimey fictional world have collided with spectacular results. In the Easter of Light the Doctor’s companion Nardole also refers to the mystery of the Mary Celeste as he chats to the Picts when the Time Lord is absent for two days because of the time distortion while he’s investigating the portal. The abandoned Mary Celeste was found in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872, an enduring enigma, it has never been solved, but the 1st Doctor (William Hartnell) adventure The Chase (1965) had the Daleks appearing briefly on board the Mary Celeste which then frightened the crew into abandoning ship!

I really liked how the way the TARDIS can translate languages is woven into the story in The Eaters of Light. First discussed in The Masque of Mandragora (1976), when the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) explained to Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) how it is a ‘Time Lord gift’ that allows them to understand and interpret local languages. In the modern series its also become something linked to the TARDIS as well – which Bill quickly deduces in The Eaters of Light. It’s a moment that’s pivotal in getting the Roman and Pict survivors to put aside their differences and work together to fight the beast. Following the Doctor’s guidance, they mange to trap the beast at the gateway during daylight. Someone must stay and stop the monsters escaping until sunset. Because of the portals time dilation the Doctor believes only his Time Lord Physiology will enable him to complete the task, but the Kar and the last of the Ninth Legion overrule him and enter the gateway together to finally end this ancient battle and prevent humanity from being cast into darkness forever.

The Doctor offers no definitive explanation for the origins of the Eaters of Light; we get some idea of how these light-eating locusts can breach the dimensional cracks between worlds to feast on light. For the most part, the eponymous “beast” of the story only appears fleetingly.

Every hour of sunlight that feeds the monster makes the world darker by the moment. Striking from the shadows, the way it drains the light from its victims and hunts the humans is, initially at least, really effective. Sadly, when the monster finally appears in its entirety for the climatic final battle in the cairn, the CGI rendered creature isn’t that satisfying, which is rather disappointing considering all the effort that’s been put into establishing its threat to the world.

As the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole depart in the TARDIS leaving the remaining Picts to honour Kar’s memory, The Eater of Light has a wonderful coda featuring Michelle Gomez as the ever repentant Time Lady, Missy. It transpires she’s been on board during this adventure the whole time at the Doctor’s behest, doing maintenance on the TARDIS, and also observing their adventure – much to Nardole’s and Bill’s chagrin. We even get to briefly explore the complex nature of the Doctor’s relationship with Missy / the Master in an especially moving moment; and the dramatic tension Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez create here in this short scene is mesmerising.

Slightly ropey CGI monster effects aside, The Easters of Light is still an extremely good episode. Rona Munro’s script is bursting with pertinent themes and strong characterization for this final standalone episode of series ten, Capaldi, Mackie, and Lucas are all at the height of their game, and it’s all impressively directed by Charles Palmer. Now the stage is set first part of the big series finale World Enough and Time, and with the incredible ‘next time’ trailer also offering a glimpse of John Simm as the Master, and the original Mondasian Cybermen, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Images Belong BBC.

Doctor Who Series 10 New Iconic image featuring Missy & The Master!

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The Master Returns in new iconic image featuring Missy & The Master

for the Season 10 Finale!

A new image has just been released for the Doctor Who series 10 finale, featuring Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the Master (John Simm) together for the first time. The pair are seen either side of the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) as they put their own chilling spin on the iconic poster image that previously accompanied Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

Simm is returning to Doctor Who as the Master for the first time since New Year’s Day 2010, when he was instrumental in brining about the Tenth Doctor‘s regeneration. Now the Master will come face-to-face with Missy, his own later regeneration, and battle the Doctor in the series’ two part finale which begins next weekend.The episodes also feature the return of the Cybermen – including the original Mondasian Cybermen, for the first time in over 50 years. Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor is accompanied by Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) in an epic story that will change Doctor Who forever!

Doctor Who’s series finale begins with episode 11, World Enough and Time, at 6:45pm on Saturday 24 June on BBC One. It concludes on Saturday 1 July with episode 12, The Doctor Falls – an extended, 60 minute episode.

Images Belong BBC.

 

Old Man Logan #25 Review

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Old Man Logan #25

Review by Paul Bowler

A powerful threat from the past returns in Old Man Logan #25, but seeing how Logan’s past is in fact a brutal dystopian future, that’s bound to spell big trouble and pain for him in the present. Yes, The Maestro is back, having plotted his ultimate revenge, and now its up to Old Man Logan to track him down and stop him!

The brand new arc by the standout writer Ed Brisson and acclaimed fan-favourite artist Mike Deodato JR, and colorist Frank Martin, begins in Marvel’s Old Man Logan #25 with Days of Anger: Part One. Right from its sombre scene setting opening in the Yukon Territory, Canada, Ed Brisson quickly brings us up to speed with Logan’s present day situation as Logan reflects on back at the mansion with the X-Men. Having survived a future existing in the Wastelands, where he lost everything, including his family, Old Man Logan awoke in the present day and resolved to prevent that terrible future reality from ever happening. Now he is gradually finding his place in the world, but in Old Man Logan #25 whilst seeking to escape the confines of the city for a while he visit’s a diner in British Columbia, where something doesn’t smell quite right, and old scores wait to be settled…

Brisson gets this issue and the new arc off to a cracking start. Its moody, atmospheric, and sets the tone perfectly. Old Man Logan #25 hits all the right beats; it’s also an issue that caters for the long-term fans just as much as it does newcomers. You don’t really need to have ever read the title before either, or even any of the other X-Men books for that matter, to quickly get swept along by Brisson’s engaging storytelling style.

Old Man Logan #25 is a gritty, bloody, awe-inspiring visual spectacle too. The art by Mike: Deodato is stunning. Deodato’s trademark multiple open-structured panel layouts make individual scenes feel more like a dozen or so moments crammed into one, with each deconstructed page as rich with detail and keenly tuned as all of Logan’s senses combined. The face-off with The Hulk gang is ruthlessly savage, Deodato doesn’t pull any punches either, depicting every bone jarring, scalding intense, and gut wrenching moment with visceral ease, and this in turn strikes a powerful contrast with the almost restrained menace employed to build towards the Maestro’s appearance. Colorist Frank Martin diligent uses of rich colors and dusky shades also sublimely complements every aspect of Deodato’s art whilst seamlessly reflecting the beats of Brisson’s script.

Its fair to say that even though Deodato and Martin’s awesome cover makes it clear the Maestro has returned, the way the Maestro’s initial appearance in the issue is handled really well, especially as it provides a new slant to the issues initial scenes. However, it is the moment where Logan’s memories of the past close in and our grizzled hero has an epiphany of sorts, which really strikes a powerful emotional cord and ominously sets up the next chapter of Days of Anger.

With its terrifically paced story by Ed Brisson and impressive artwork by Mike Deodato JR, Old Man Logan #25 gets this thrilling new arc off to a great start. This is Old Man Logan at his very best, Marvel have a top notch creative team doing outstanding work on this book, and I can guarantee that Old Man Logan #25 is one issue you wont want to miss bub!

Publisher Marvel Comics

Writer: Ed Brisson /Art Mike: Deodato JR / Colorist: Frank Martin

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit / Cover: Mike Deodato JR & Frank Martin

 

Doctor Who The Empress of Mars Review

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Doctor Who The Empress of Mars

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

Not all is quite as it sss sseeems when the TARDIS arrives on Mars and the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole gets caught up in the middle of an uncanny conflict between Ice Warriors and Victorian soldiers! It appears that the Earth has somehow invaded Mars. As the Martian forces in the hive awakens, their Ice Queen Iraxxa prepares to lead them to war. Now the Doctor faces an impossible choice. It is the humans, and not the Ice Warriors that are the aggressors this time around, so which side will the Time Lord choose to be on?

The Empress of Mars is written by Mark Gatiss, the writer of several Doctor Who episodes: including The Unquiet Dead (2005), The Idiots Lantern (2006), Victory of the Daleks (2010), two episode from 2013s seventh season, Cold War and The Crimson Horror, along with Robot of Sherwood (2014) from series eight, and 2015‘s Sleep No More. Now, with The Empress of Mars, Mark Gatiss makes a welcome return for series ten with a story which also features the classic Doctor Who monsters – The Ice Warriors!

Stylishly directed by Wayne Yip (The Lie of the Land), The Empress of Mars sees the Doctor Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie), and Nardole (Matt Lucas) gate crash NASA as the Mars probe Valkyrie relays an image from the red planet showing the words “God Save The Queen” etched on the barren Martian surface beneath the polar ice cap. Taking the TARDIS to Mars, in 1881 to investigate, the Doctor and Nardole become separated from Bill when she falls down an underground shaft, but when Nardole returns to the TARDIS to fetch rope the time machine inexplicably dematerialises with him inside. Marooned on Mars, the Doctor and Bill soon discover a group of Victorian soldiers Goodsacre (Anthony Calf), Catchlove (Ferdinand Kingsley), Seargant Major Peach (Glenn Speers), Jackdaw (Ian Beattle), Vincey (Bayo Gbadamosi) and Coolidge), who, along with their servile Ice Warrior survivor Friday (Richard Ashton), are busy excavating on the desolate red planet.

The Ice Warrior “Friday” was so named by the soldiers who found him and his crashed spaceship the middle of the South African veldt on 19th century Earth because he reminded Colonel Godsacre and Captain Catchlove of Man Friday in Robinson Crusoe. Friday is really a lone guardian, appointed after a brutal civil war when his Ice Queen ordered her warriors into hibernation, he was to guard the Ice Warriors hive and reawaken them when it was safe to rebuild their world. But disaster struck and his ship crashed on Earth instead. Feigning submission and grief at his species apparent demise, Friday promised the soldiers the riches of his homeworld if they helped him return to Mars, and tricked them into using technology from his ship to mine the plant. But when “The Gargantua” cannon breaches the Ice Queen’s Tomb it doesn’t take long before Empress Iraxxa (Adele Lynch).is revived and a disastrous initial meeting with the soldiers causes her to awaken the dormant army of Ice Warriors for battle, and the soon Doctor is faced with the daunting prospect of mediating between the invading Victorian Soldiers and the reptilian Martian warriors as conflict erupts.

Mark Gatiss’ love of the Ice Warriors shines through every aspect of his script for The Empress of Mars. Along with subtle nods to the creatures past, Gatiss continues to explore new facets of their society and culture – though perhaps not quite as successfully he did in Cold War. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie, once again shine in their respective roles, this is a comparatively Nardole-lite episode for Matt Lucas though, but he still plays one particularly significant role in the plot when the TARDIS starts “playing up” and prevents him returning to Mars. Nevertheless, the regular’s performances complement each other perfectly, and this TARDIS trio is now rapidly becoming one of my all time favourites.

The majority of the supporting cast of characters that make up the Victorian soldiers are also good, if a little clichéd, however it is their duplicitously subservient Ice Warrior, Friday, played by Richard Ashton that really stands out – especially in the scenes with the Doctor and Bill. Michelle Gomez also briefly returns in this episode as Missy, the Doctor’s arch Time Lady nemesis and Queen of Evil, when Nardole seeks her help in piloting the TARDIS back to Mars. Having been confined in the Vault she now apparently seeks redemption for her crimes against the universe, Missy’s actions in The Empress of Mars would seem to offer some validity to her new moral stance, and once again Michelle Gomez’s brilliant understated performance proves as utterly compelling as ever.

The Ice Warriors are amongst the classic pantheon of Doctor Who monsters. Ever since the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) originally encountered them in The Ice Warriors (1967) and The Seeds of Death (1969), they went on to return in the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) stories The Curse of Peladon (1972) and The Monster of Peladon (1974), The Waters of Mars (2009) implied the Ice Warriors had discovered a horrifying force beneath the surface of the Red Planet, and the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) was confronted by Grand Marshal Skaldac when the redesigned Ice Warriors made a triumphant return in Cold War (2013).

It’s astonishing to think that in the fifty years since their debut story, we’ve never actually seen the Ice Warriors on their homeworld. Now at last The Empress of Mars finally shows us the Ice Warriors on Mars. Although initially a little bit of a slow burn to begin with, the episode soon kicks into high gear once the Ice Warriors awaken en mass, and they also utilize new and rather gruesome way of killing. Of course, aside from the impressive regular Ice Warriors, there’s also a notable addition to legacy of the Ice Warriors, and indeed the series’ mythology overall, in The Empress of Mars, in that it features the first appearance in the programmes history of the species female Queen, the Empress Iraxxa, played by Adele Lynch. Iraxxa provides a whole new dimension to these classic monsters, and Lynch’s performance is quite good – if a little bit over-the-top at times. Pearl Mackie also continues to impress and show great versatility as Bill really steps up as the Doctor’s companion in this episode, getting some fantastic scenes and verbal exchanges with Empress Iraxxa.

In a fleeting, glimpse-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, we see a portrait of Queen Victoria in the soldier’s underground camp on Mars – or at least the version of her played by Pauline Collins in the 2006 episode Tooth and Claw. Unsurprisingly for the return of the Ice Warriors in The Empress of Mars, Mark Gatiss has pepped his script with fun references to the classic series, but there is one surprise guest appearance few could’ve expected – the return of Alpha Centauri!

Yes, it may only be for a short greeting on a screen, but the wonderful addition of Alpha Centauri – a friend of the Doctor’s and ambassador of the Galactic Federation who originally appeared in the previous classic series Ice Warrior stories The Curse of Peladon (1972) and The Monster of Peladon (1974) which starred Jon Pertwee as the 3rd Doctor – is a great callback to the classic series that many fans are sure to adore. Its something made all the more special as well because Alpha Centauri’s original voice actor Yasanne Chruchman also returns to deliver the characters dialogue for this scene.

The Empress of Mars races towards a thrilling conclusion, with bloodshed seemingly unavoidable and Iraxxa being held at knifepoint by Captain Catchlove, the disgraced Captain Goodsacre attempts to atone for his past act of desertion by killing Catchlove and offering to die honourably before the Ice Queen in the hope she will spare his men. Impressed by the human’s actions, Iraxxa orders her Ice Warriors to stand down, and accepts the Doctor’s offer to help them send out a signal requesting assistance to help them leave Mars – a signal which is quickly answered by Alpha Centauri from the Galactic Federation. Leaving the Ice Warriors to prepare for their new role in the universe, the Doctor and Bill help Goodsacre leave the message on the surface that will be seen by both the rescue ship coming for the Ice Warriors and the  Valkyrie probe in the present day, and when Nardole returns in the TARDIS to retrieve them the Doctor and Bill are more than a little shocked when they discover Missy onboard…

The Ice Warriors return in The Empress of Mars is without doubt one of the most fan-pleasing moments of series ten so far, so its perhaps no surprise that it also feels like a very old school classic Doctor Who story in many respects. The madcap premise of this bizarre sci-fi mashup of Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Zulu, along with a good pinch of Steampunk thrown in for good measure, makes for a highly atmospheric and entertaining episode. The drama builds from the moment Iraxxa’s sarcophagus is discovered, and the subsequent clash between the Victorian Soldiers and the Ice Warriors presents an extremely interesting dilemma for the Doctor.

Most of the action takes place underground, but there are some nice establishing shots on the surface of Mars, the scene where the hive is activated are superb, and later the way the Ice Warriors emerge from the ground to attack is also very effective. With its great opening set-up, strong performances from Capaldi, Mackie, Lucas, along with the surprise addition of Michelle Gomez as Missy, and of course Alpha Centauri’s special guest appearance, this episode is a fantastic return for the Ice Warriors. Sure, Mark Gatiss’ script is a tad self-indulgent at times, but ultimately The Empress of Mars is still one of the major highlights of series ten!

Check out the Next Time trailer for The Eaters of Light.

Images Belong BBC

Black Panther Official Teaser Trailer

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Black Panther Official Teaser Trailer

Marvel have released the Black Panther Official Teaser Trailer! Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther arrives in theaters on February 16, 2018.