Doctor Who: The Malignant Truth Review

DW Malignant Truth

We reach the end of the Eleventh Doctor: Year Two Titan Comics run, and with it the end of the Time War-spanning adventure featuring the Doctor on the run from his past deeds. It’s… well, to be fair it’s a bit of a mess, and keeps layering on more and more plot before explaining it away with mostly dialogue, but Malignant Truth has its moments. Let’s have a look!

Official Synopsis:

The truth behind the Doctor’s possible-crime revealed! Shocking surprises in store for the Doctor’s companions! The thrilling chase resolved; every mystery unveiled! Don’t miss this final chapter where the Doctor and his companions face… The Malignant Truth!

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW Malignant Truth 4

A good look at the lead cast… and a good look at some of the poor artwork…

The Doctor (Matt Smith) – The Doctor has a plan, a plan that can save him from his fate and release a whole bunch of people who he inadvertently harmed in the past, but a lot rides on the shoulders of his companions…

The War Doctor (John Hurt) – The Doctor who wishes not to be called by that name. During the Time War he did a lot of horrible things, but is really responsible for the Malignant plague?

Alice Obiefune – Alice feels like her Doctor is on the verge of complete despair, but her trip to the Time War gives her a proper look at what a Doctor in despair really looks like…

River Song (Alex Kingston) – River was infected by the Malignant, and is now in stasis, waiting for the Doctor to heal her, if he can…

Abslom Daak – Daak is alive and well, still hanging out with The Doctor on the TARDIS, waiting to kill something, preferably something Dalek. He may just get his wish…

The Squire – The Squire was killed in the last story, but she is still in her prime during Alice’s time with the War Doctor…

Volatix Cabal – The Volarix Cabal was a group of Daleks who spun off from the main Empire when they developed creativity. Their bodies no longer resemble traditional Dalek shells, and that’s just the beginning of their warped ideas…

The Master – The Master has taken the form of a young boy, but is still just as sinister, though to his surprise his old pal The Doctor may be on his level of moral ambiguity thanks to the war…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW Malignant Truth 3

A good example of the properly creepy Squire / Dalek hybrid.

With the exception of The War Doctor looking nothing like John Hurt (was there some sort of image licensing issue, maybe?) I enjoyed the first two chapters, set entirely in the Time War. The idea of the Doctor surrounding himself with loyal soldiers like The Squire, and teaming up with his old nemesis The Master, was a good idea, and his seeing Alice as another potential casualty on his conscious rather than a potential ally was also very in-character. It turns out The Malignant were a race of God-like beings called Cylors who ended up warped thanks to Alice using a Time Lord weapon The War Doctor had brought along called the “Psilent Songbox”, and it being intercepted and further corrupted by a member of the Volatix Cabal. So The Doctor was indirectly responsible for the Malignant and the deaths of countless Overcast race members after all…

The Master is caught in a paradox when he tries to leave using what turns out to be a creation made by a future version of himself, and ends up regenerating seemingly into the Derek Jacobi version of The Master. Given the whole thing with the paradox and the “Psilent Songbox” causes The Doctor to lose his memory of the event, among other issues, it’s not hard to imagine this child version of the Master was either over-written, or just forgot about by The Doctor. Plus the Jacobi Master could have been sent backwards down the Time War timeline or something… It’s not impossible to write this version of The Master in without contradicting the Audios and TV is what I’m saying. Just some fiddling, if you need it.

While I didn’t like a lot about the end, there are scenes with The Squire’s corpse being overtaken by a Volatix Cabal Dalek that are quite gruesome, with Dalek eye-stalks popping out or a trademark Dalek vent visible in her/it’s mouth. It also blasts Absolm Daak in the gut with a gun, in rather bloody and unpleasant fashion. I did enjoy Daak getting a good ending, being resurrected by The Doctor’s medical machine and then just running over the Squire-Dalek and being thrilled by finally getting to kill a Dalek. He then gets sent back into the Time War to have “fun” all over again.

The Bad:

DW Malignant Truth 2

I don’t recall The War Doctor being Chinese, I’m pretty sure he was played by John Hurt, wasn’t he?

The last three chapters, especially the final part, feature far too much talking. Everyone just sits around and hears The Doctor lay out his plan that he’d had going for some time now, and that’s it. We get the Malignant… I don’t know, purify River Song due to her undying faith in The Doctor or something. Soon afterwards The Then and The Now, the paradoxical bounty hunter that had been stalking them, appears and it’s revealed that it was created by Alice’s paradoxical Psilent Songbox-ing and because of that now takes orders from Alice and frees the Cylors and the Overcast…ers, Overcasters? Sure, them, from the Malignant, meaning The Doctor has undone another Time War tragedy. The Then and The Now leaves to join the Time War with Daak, River goes back to prison, and they all live happily ever after. Well, apart from The Squire. She’s still very much dead. But at least The Doctor remembers her now! Not a very satisfying end to a pretty fun story arc, but hey-ho, it did keep getting more and more crazy as it went along, so I’m not surprised it took a long explanation to end it, it just could have done with more action and less words…

The artwork was once again more off than on, particularly the likenesses of Matt Smith, Alex Kingston and the aforementioned non-John-Hurt-looking War Doctor. Even the new characters often look off and weird in background shots…

Oh and while I quite liked the Volatix Cabal and their crazy speech patterns, whoever thought giving them the catchphrase of “Extermihate” would be clever needs to be bonked on the head.

The Continuity:

DW Malignant Truth 1

A Cylor says hello during the Time War.

This is the end of a story arc that was spread across all of The Eleventh Doctor Year Two stories, meaning it started in “The Then and The Now”, continued in “The One”, and ended here.

Beyond that there’s nothing new to say. Stuff like Daak and his back-story is covered in the relevant section in the other volumes of this story, so… yep! It’s full of continuity, but mostly of its own making.

Overall Thoughts:

The Malignant Truth does wrap up the story its been telling throughout the Year Two run, but it does it by pretty much sitting the reader down and explaining everything rather than via some exciting action, which given the visual nature of comics is a let down. The opening two parts have their moments, and Daak is a good laugh as ever, so overall this sits somewhere in the middle of the scale, but veering slightly more to bad due to supposedly being the big finale…

3 Star Read

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