Doctor Who: The Flood Review

We’ve made it to the end of the Eighth Doctor DWM Comic run, and indeed the end of this Lost Stories/Eighth Doctor double marathon itself. I always find The Flood most interesting because at one point it was to feature the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration, although plans were eventually dropped (and boy, would Big Finish’s catalogue ever look different it that wasn’t the case!) Anyway, after many big moments and dramatic finales, how does “The Flood” hold up as not just another finale, but THE finale? The answer is very simple: It not only holds up, it may be the best of the bunch…

Synopsis:

The Doctor and Destrii arrive on Earth to find rain falling on a market place, rain that radically alters emotions. It is a test being conducted by the Future Cybermen…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Cybermen walking around modern day looking like ghosts! Where have I heard of that before…

The Doctor and Destrii arrive in London, circa 2005, and thanks to her human hologram cloak the latter is finally able to blend in with the humans she watched on TV as a child. Sadly for her, she accidentally acts racist to a friendly Chinese food vendor due to not actually knowing much about the customs of 2005 (to the point of somehow not knowing how money works, which you’d think she would’ve picked up from the TV shows at some point…) and ends up being attacked by the chef in the middle of the street. The Doctor manages to defuse the situation and it seems it was very out-of-character for him, and that a lot of people have been acting overly aggressively in this area recently…

While this is going on MI6 have been following The Doctor, and MI6 have been followed by super-sleek looking Cybermen from the far future who use cloaking technology. Due to Destrii’s biology she can see the cloaked menace and tells The Doctor about them, but just that little bit too late as they attack en masse. Eventually The Doctor is rendered unconscious and taken back to MI6, the agent in question leaving Destrii behind because saving the man who normally saves the world in situations like this seemed like the smart thing to do (fair enough!). Destrii is taken prisoner by the Cybermen as she can’t be cyber-converted, but her new Chinese restaurant friends aren’t so lucky. The Doctor wakes up at MI6 and has his demands about finding Destrii denied by MI6 chief Leighton Woodrow, instead getting a guided tour of the facility… moments before Cybermen assault the building.

Destrii takes no crap from Cyberbullies…. wait, that gives the wrong impression nowadays… Oh well. Cyberbullies could do with a good Chrnkk-ing, let’s face it!

The roof is broken open and rain pours down onto the staff of Britain’s spy service, turning every agent into a quivering mess as they experience their worst fears and least pleasant memories all at once. The Cybermen then announce that they can give them freedom from the emotions that are tormenting them, so basically they created a method where people will beg to be converted, rather than going through the hassle of forcing them. Very clever, and obviously horrible! The Doctor, who can resist the rain, is captured and taken to the Cyber Leader in their main ship, where Destrii is also held captive. In order to save his companion The Doctor offers to regenerate, the data of which will allow the Cybermen to potentially convert any race without issue and so they agree… to make Destrii the first non-human to test on once they have the data. Destrii is freed for the experiment but goes crazy with some green glowing rods (that look like Lightsabres), cutting down several Cybermen before being surrounded.

The Doctor has figured out that these Cybermen from the future are using the Time Vortex to get around and so to stop himself from regenerating and giving them the data he jumps into the Vortex itself to completely destroy his body. Much to everyone’s surprise (including The Doctor himself!) The Doctor doesn’t die and instead absorbs the vortex energy and becomes one with it, sending out golden energy to completely wipe the future Cybermen from the face of the Earth. He then begins to give in to the power, knowing he’s on the verge of knowing everything and be in eternal peace… but then Destrii is nearly killed in the ensuing explosions so he breaks free from the Vortex in order to save her. The two escape in the TARDIS and land in a random location, Destrii apologises but The Doctor tells her not to, that he’s somewhere he doesn’t know with no knowledge of what’s about to happen, and it’s that great? The two walk off together. Brilliant ending to a great story.

The Bad:

This is presumably one of the many alien invasions that gets rewritten, as I’m pretty sure the people of Earth would remember this…

I honestly can’t think of anything. The artwork is top notch, the story is great and the ending is a perfect end to the Eighth Doctor’s run in DWM. Would I like to one day find out how Destrii left his company? Yeah, although we know she went on to live a normal (for her) life afterwards I’d still like some closure, but this is good too…

The Continuity:

The Doctor absorbs the Time Vortex and wipes out the alien army in front of him… where have I heard- actually, forget it. This and the next page are too badass to poke fun at.

Well, we do have our final “Russell T. Davies really liked the Eighth Doctor strips” segment, twice! In the Ninth Doctor’s final story, “Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways”, Rose absorbs the Time Vortex, becomes all glowy and destroys an army of Daleks in the same way The Doctor wipes out the Cybermen with the Vortex energy here. The Doctor absorbs the energy from Rose and has to regenerate because of it, but I guess absorbing it into your body is different from becoming one with it directly? *shrugs*

The second one is the Tenth Doctor TV story “Army of Ghosts / Doomsday”, which features Cybermen walking around London cloaked and then suddenly being revealed as they attack. Again, this isn’t me angrily shaking my fist and calling Mr. Davies a dirty thief or something, it’s nice that someone so influential in the series history is a fan of what will increasingly become a smaller and smaller part of Who history (especially if the DWM collected editions never get digitised…)

Other connections include MI6, both in the past as the group and their leader Leighton Woodrow last appeared in the Eighth Doctor comic “The Fallen”, and in the future as the group would go on to use technology salvaged from this incident to create the ships and spacesuits seen in the Eleventh Doctor story “Hunters of the Burning Stone”. That’s it, apart from brief cameos from Grace, Izzy and Maxwell in a splash page where the people of Earth have faith that The Doctor will save them…

Also, as already mentioned, while we never see how and why Destrii left The Doctor, we do see her later on in the Twelfth Doctor story “The Stockbridge Showdown”, which was a 500th issue special. She “hasn’t fought in a while” but is otherwise happy and healthy and more than willing to help her old friend, so you’d assume they parted ways amicably. I’ll also like to mention once again how this was nearly the Eighth Doctor’s canon regeneration story (BBC approved!). If you buy the Flood graphic novel you can actually read the script for the scene, plus this mock up picture:

Pretty crazy, that would’ve made future short-haired McGann Big Finish stories impossible and meant Steven Moffatt couldn’t insert the War Doctor into the timeline! Apparently they only pulled back on the idea because the BBC and Russell T. Davies himself said they didn’t want the Ninth Doctor to have travelled with a companion before he meets Rose. That little decision changed the show’s eventual history so much…

Overall Thoughts:

The closest the Cybermen have come to actually conquering and converting humanity…

The Flood tells a great, slowly developing story where the stakes keep getting higher and higher until the big pay-off, and hats off to the artists as well as the writer, because they really pay-off! While it may not be as conclusive as maybe some would want, much like how the original TV series ended with The Doctor and Ace wandering off looking for more adventure, this was a nice end to the DWM comic run, and well worth tracking down if you haven’t already.

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