“Year Three” of the Eleventh Doctor in comics features the two-part arc The Memory Feast, which takes place over issues #3.6 and #3.7 of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor. In the story, Eleven, his human companion Alice Obifune and their, uhm, progeny?, a creature called “the Sapling”. The three find themselves on an impossible ship in deep space, chased by hooded figures through portal after portal of an alternate reality. The Doctor soon determines that the ship is a memory ark for an extinct species called the Xerzes. The species only exists now in the memories stored by the ship. Immediately, he empathizes and encourages his companions to help him eradicate the hooded baddies called the Thrake.
Comics adaptations can sometimes feel forced, like they’re a simplification of the original rather than a re-interpretation for the comics format. The Memory Feast is the latter. Artist I.N.J Culbard uses a two-page spread to show the companions running through portal after portal, and another to let a Xerxes projection explain the species’ fate to Eleven without exchanging a word. The climax of the arc takes place largely without dialogue, as well; instead the events unfold in dramatic artwork. The result is a story that feels like it exists specifically for a comic book.
Sapling, where did you COME FROM?????
It’s nearly impossible to read George Mann‘s dialogue without hearing Matt Smith’s voice, from his goofy non-sequiturs to his panicked shout when The Sapling finds himself in danger. While Eleven’s behavior is certainly screen-accurate, Mann avoids leaning on Smith’s many catchphrases or tics, including only one interrupted “geronimo!”.
Personally I like that the dialogue and interactions were original rather than grabbing directly from the show. It reflects back on the original while staking a claim on its own territory, as well.
Overall, The Memory Feast is a fun, quick arc in what I hope is a deeper story from start to finish. 3.6 and 3.7 together make for what feels like a “filler” episode in the main storyline: Alice and Eleven’s creation of the Sapling. That said, it’s worth keeping on the shelf if only for the art. I will definitely be diving in to the rest of Year Three to find out what happens next.
Story: George Mann Art: I.N.J. Culbard
Colorist: Triona Farrell Letterings: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review