Doctor Who: Sin Eaters Review

DW Sin Eaters

Sin Eaters serves as a farewell to the Ninth Doctor Titan comics, giving us a good, pretty much stand-alone two-part story, then a somewhat hurried triple bill to end on. It’s good though, it’s a shame that out of the original foursome of “New Who” that the least served Doctor TV-wise would be the first to get their run cancelled, but hey-ho… let’s take a closer look!

Official Synopsis:

The Doctor is arrested for the murder of Tara Mishra and is taken to Hesguard Institute, a place that prides itself on being able to cure its patients of their criminal urges. But when they try their “treatment” on the Doctor, it becomes apparent that their cure isn’t as effective as it would seem…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW Sin Eaters 2

Well… that’s two of the characters anyway… … Reet Reet?

The Doctor (Christopher Eccelston) – The Doctor has heard bad things about the Hesguard Institute, so now seems as good a time as any to arrive and see what the deal is. All he has to do is frame himself for murder!

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) – Rose is playing the role of a surprise inspector, similar to how the Doctor often gets around. Speaking of The Doctor, he’s the patient she’s claiming to be there to see…

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barroman) – Captain Jack has left The Doctor and Rose behind in order to chase his past, hoping to finally fill in the lost two years of his memory…

Tara Mishra – Tara is a member of UNIT who has started travelling with the Ninth Doctor and Rose. She pretended to be killed in order to get The Doctor into the Hesguard Institute, and then snuck in herself as a guard…

The Sin Eaters – Blank bodies that people’s negative emotions are poured into, then disposed of. What could possibly go wrong with a method like that?!

Addison Delamar – A rich and greedy business owner who wishes to capture and sell The Doctor’s memories of the Time War to the highest bidder…

Plus many more!

The Good:

DW Sin Eaters 1

Now there’s a horrifying visual!

The opening and titular story, Sin Eaters, has a silly premise, but great artwork and some fun scenes. Prisoners have their evil desires and memories taken from them and put in a blank body dubbed a “Sin Eater”, making them good people again. When they try it with The Doctor however, the Sin Eater become sentient, and as it only has The Doctor’s negative thoughts and memories, it goes on a Hulk-like rampage. I mean Hulk-like as well, especially the way he’s drawn, just with faces of previous incarnations poking out of his body at the same time, which is a great visual. In the end The Doctor and co. banishes it to a void dimension, as you do, but overall it was a fun story.

The other half of the book is technically a stand-alone Captain Jack story and then another two-parter, but they are strongly connected. Mr. Harkness is still on the look out for connections to his lost two years, and we see some flashbacks to his time as a time agent. He eventually thinks he’s found it and then runs into The Doctor, who tries to help him but gets socked in the face for it, leading to Jack seemingly getting removed from time…

This led to the opening of the final story, “The Bidding War”, which sees Addison Delamar, a corrupt and money-hungry company owner, want to steal The Doctor’s memories and sell them at a premium price. Her company has the technology to capture and replay people’s memories as if you’re actually there as them, shown in a rather on-the-nose piece of exposition at the start of the comic. She was responsible for kidnapping Captain Jack at the end of the previous story and uses him to draw The Doctor to where she can capture him, a plan that succeeds. She calls down a bunch of alien races who want to get their hands on The Doctor’s mind, including the Cybermen, which as you can imagine, doesn’t go well.

Addison is soon partially cyber-converted, the planet they’re on bombed by angry hippo-aliens, and The Doctor, Rose, Captain Jack and Tara barely make it out of the ordeal alive, only thanks to The Doctor’s memories of the Time War being so horrific that it scares off the other hostiles. The general idea of selling memories is a good one, even more so that The Doctor’s would be a prize possession. Another fun little story.

The Bad:

DW Sin Eaters 3

That cheeky War Doctor, he can’t keep away from the Titan Comics, apparently!

The only real bad I can think is Tara Mishra. When she joined in the last GN I thought it seemed a bit pointless given The Doctor already has two companions at this point, but she basically does nothing in this book. At the very end Tara decides to stay behind and help the wounded, which The Doctor thinks is a great idea… for her to do, and leaves in the TARDIS with Rose and Jack. I understand the end of the Ninth Doctor range happened a bit suddenly, but that made her whole short run seem even more pointless! Ah well…

The Continuity:

DW Sin Eaters 4

“A Doctor needs his companions.” Great line!

Lots of small nods here, both to past Ninth Doctor comics and Captain Jack stories from TV, so I won’t sit and list them all. There was a fun call back to the Gasmask Children from Ninth Doctor TV classic “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances”, a shoutout to Cardinal Ollistra from the Big Finish Time War stories, and a few specific mentions of the then-one-off Ninth Doctor comic “Weapons of Past Destruction”, where the Ninth Doctor had offered up his memories for bidding as a distraction…

The Doctor using his memories to drive off evil was a key plot point in the Eleventh Doctor TV story “The Rings of Akhaten”. I’ll also say that the Hippo-aliens I mentioned above are the Harrigain, who I first experienced in the Fifth Doctor audio story “Devil in the Mist”, though this was published first…

Overall Thoughts:

Sin Eaters is a really good graphic novel. The stories contained within are all high quality, both art-wise and plot-wise, and just zip by. It’s a shame the Ninth Doctor’s run had to once again end before its time, but at least these stories are more positive strings to his bow…

4 Star Read

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