DW: Herald of Madness Review

The next story in the 13th Doctor’s DWM comic run comes to us in the form of the old pseudo historical setting, complete with one or two key figures of Earth history in an otherwise sci-fi plot, plus some very G.I. Joe/Action Force looking masked guys! Let’s take a closer look…

Synopsis:

The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham bump into Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler on the way to big gathering of the top minds of the time. It doesn’t take long for The Doctor to feel the presence of something else at work, so the quartet follow them to the manor of Baroness Dagmar Ruskovitch…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Some very crunchy monks!

The story starts off pretty standard: The Doctor and co. arrive at a spooky manor house with loads of guests and find the Baroness acting suspiciously. Soon The Doctor and Ryan discover an underground network of tunnels leading to a cult-like group of people in robes and masks. The masked guys begin some sort of ceremony around a massive and seemingly endless hole in the Earth while up above all the great minds that have been gathered are frozen in place due to some weird orb, apart from Kepler, who is with the Baroness and willingly doing her bidding. While Yaz and Graham break the weird chain of mind-orbs upstairs The Doctor collapses and begins to spout rubbish, only snapping out of it when Ryan is nearly killed by the masked cultists (that turn out to be made of stone…)

The Doctor and Ryan meet back up with Yaz and Graham and the four, alongside Tycho Brahe run up to Baroness Ruskovitch to stop her evil plans, only to find out she can transform into a centaur! … and that she’s not evil at all and in fact the whole plan was to seal a very real evil from another dimension that was trying to break through via the hole, one of many spread throughout the universe. Sadly for everyone, The Doctor and her companions have foiled the plot of the good guys and now the strange entity has escaped, and taken a form that looks like a rough approximation of The Doctor after connecting to her mind. “The Herald”, as it’s only known, begins to cause all of reality to shift due to her just “not fitting” into our dimension, so any bad feelings between everyone is quickly put to one side as they work together to banish it back to its own place.

While all the great minds willingly come together and create another, erm, “thought net” The Doctor, riding the centaur-ised Baroness, taunts The Herald and gets it to chase them back to the pit, where the sacrifice of Tycho (via a method that was originally supposed to kill Kepler, but you know, preserving history and all that) seals its fate as its recaptured and sealed back into the pit. The Doctor pretty much demands Dagmar and her crew find a less lethal method of sealing these creatures but she pretty much ignores her plea. It’s a good story, with some fun twists.

The Bad:

Oh yeah, there’s also a beardy monk-looking guy with the Centaur Baroness, forgot about that.

“Herald of Madness” is another one of those stories where it’s perfectly fine, but for one reason or another it didn’t have me completely hooked or invested. The artwork was fine, the story had a good twist and at five issues it was long enough to tell a good story without over-staying its welcome, but I can’t say it blew me away to the point where I give it top marks… *shrugs*, it happens, I guess…

The Continuity:

It’s the Herald her/itself! She’ll be back, if nothing else because she’s on the front cover…

A terrible and powerful being at the bottom of a seemingly endless pit is also a good description of the Tenth Doctor two parter “The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit”, although that’s about where the similarities end given one is very much a space-set sci-fi story and other is historical in setting (not to mention the different look of the creatures in question!), but still, worth mentioning. Plus the only other connection this story has is with “Mistress of Chaos”, the comic story coming up after the next one, which from what I can tell is sort of a sequel to this, or this was a prologue to that… I guess I’ll see!

Overall Thoughts:

Erm… Not much to say about this picture, but my choices are somewhat limited with these newer stories…

As I mentioned in “The Bad”, this story ticks all the boxes to make it great, but for whatever reason feels just that little bit short of a 5. I like the twist, the artwork, and generally the story, so I’m not sure why the story failed to fully engage me, but I’m still happy to recommend it. It’s definitely good!

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