The Twelfth Doctor DWM comics continues with the old three-part strip followed by a single part adventure (with far worse artwork) that has become a common occurrence for these comics. Parliament of Fear was quite good, where as Matildus, even given its short length, was not as good… Want more detail?! Read on!
Synopsis (of Parliament of Fear):
The Doctor’s plan of touring New Asgard is put on hold when the TARDIS arrives in 1880 America. Still, Cowboys and Indians (or, Cowboys and Native Americans, I guess?) for real, what could be more fun? … or more dangerous.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Wow, that is one poor depiction of Bill… The artwork is actually better for the rest of the story, I promise!
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) – The Doctor must often wonder just how many times he’s had plans to arrive in a certain time and place and ended up on Earth… still, Bill seems excited about the time period, so… not all bad. Not yet anyway!
Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) – Bill was looking forward to this amazing, fantastical land The Doctor promised her, but real-life cowboys! That’ll do as a consolation prize.
Bass Reeves – A famed lawman who, despite being black, has had great success in the wild world of the west. He often hunts bounties in “Indian Territory”, which is dangerous even amongst the hardened lawmen of the time…
Totika – Totika was forced to leave her lands by the white men, and during the long walk to their “new home” her baby daughter froze to death. She now uses the power of unknown forces to exact her revenge…
The Stikini – The Stikini are a humanoid owl-like species that exist in the Dreamspace that manage to inhabit the bodies of humans, if the right process is followed…
Matildus – Matildus is the head of the Renath Archive, one of the most renowned collections of books in the universe… and she’s having a bad day… or bad few months, really…
“Skree!” means “we’re about to eat your heart” in Stikini.
The Parliament of Fear was a fun little tale, though nothing groundbreaking. The Doctor and Bill meet a pair of cowboys and start hanging out with them at their campfire, but soon The Doctor and the lawmen find a horse corpse with the heart removed, and before they know it a group of bandits that attacked the camp have all been killed (including their hearts beings removed) by a bunch of flying owl-like things that have also taken Bill. They should have seen it coming!
Anyway, the Stikini (as the owl-people are known by) need human bodies to take over, and Bill is soon transformed into the wife of the people’s leader, all made possible by Totika, a Native American woman who has suffered great tragedy in her life. After another trip into the Dreamspace and some last-minute running around, the Stikini are sent back to the apparently torturous plain of existence and everyone is saved. It’s… fine. A bit to similar feeling, but fine.
Yikes, I know it’s an artstyle, but those depictions of the Doctor couldn’t look or feel any less Capaldi-like.
Matildus is alright, for a single part story, but the artstyle was not to my personal taste, and a group of alien kids looked like they were straight out of an actual comic, rather than a Doctor Who comic. Matildus the curator and her failing memory was the key figure, and it soon turns out that her daughter actually wasn’t her daughter but instead an alien tricking her mind so she could inherit the archive for herself. Inoffensive, but also not very interesting.
I will also add about Parliament of Owls and how not just the fact we’ve entered the Dreamscape again already, just one story later, but even The Doctor’s companion becoming a bird like thing and having to be reverted because the real person is “still in there” is all just so… samey feeling.
Calmness under pressure.
Beyond the Dreamscape linking to the previous story as mentioned, there isn’t really anything. Peri, the Sixth Doctor’s companion, was turned into a bird creature in the TV story “Vengeance on Varos”, and I’m pretty sure there have been other similar incidents as well.
The Parliament of Owls and Matildus are both fine stories to read in the middle of a graphic novel, but don’t really stand up much on their own. They’re so… dull, but not in any way memorable for being offensively bad, they’re just… there, and you’ll soon forget about them. Average score ahoy! (though Parliament is definitely the better story…)