Doctor Who: The Age of Chaos Review

A few weeks late thanks mostly to a busy slate of Big Finish releases this month it’s time to take a look at the latest (and last for the foreseeable future) Doctor Who Magazine collected graphic novel release. It actually starts with the story that makes up the release’s overall title: The Age of Chaos, a story that was actually released stand alone outside of DWM and penned by the Sixth Doctor himself, Colin Baker. That all being said, is it actually any good? … Erm… Well, let’s just take a look, shall we?

Synopsis:

The Doctor makes one of his regular visits to see Peri’s grandchildren on Krontep, but lands during a time of civil war between Peri’s grandsons Artios and Euthys. To prevent it, he enlists the help of Frobisher, Peri’s granddaughter Actis, and a warrior named Carf…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

As usual a look at the Graphic Novel cover art… which is good because the actual comic art is a bit shit.

This was written when Peri’s established end was simply married life with King Yrcanos and not the muddled multiple copies story it has become, and for that reason it is an interesting look at what Colin Baker thought the future of his TV companion was like. Sadly its ruined somewhat by seemingly not having the rights to Nicola Bryant’s likeness, or not having rights to the character… one of the two, but Peri’s only appearance in the story is as a cloaked figure from behind, so it kind takes a lot of the shine off. Still, fun to explore not only Peri’s apparent three grandchildren but the planet of Krontep itself. I mean, in theory anyway…

It’s also a new Frobisher story, which is always fun, but it’s one of the Frobisher stories where he stays a Penguin the whole time and therefore is just around for a bit of slapstick comedy and snide remarks… still, good fun to see him!

The Bad:

Jesus, why do I get the feeling that The Doctor is about to kill Actis? They really should’ve double checked his expression…

Okay I’ll stop beating around the bush: I really didn’t enjoy my time with this story. First off the artwork is pretty awful, especially the likeness of The Doctor and the colouring used. Secondly it’s very long but instead of finding an interesting the meaningful way to extending the story its instead filled with random trips into the wilderness to fight creatures and survive hostile environments only to head back to the palace, hang out a bit, then go off again. They eventually find a cult that inflicts pain to cleanse people’s souls of evil but is instead set up by the evil alien menace of the story, the Nahrung, who literally feed on pain. In fact they’re behind the whole civil war between Peri’s two grandsons that is at the centre of the of the story (well, that and Peri’s missing granddaughter Actis but I’ll get to her in a minute). The Doctor eventually defeats them by allowing them to enter his body and then shutting down one of his hearts to kill them…. just in case you were wondering.

Actis is a bit of a non-event, looks quite a bit like her grandmother but does little other than have a quick trip in the TARDIS, run around a bit, get rescued and then act like a brave potential leader for the sake of the happy ending. Apparently she was born of Peri and Yrcanos’ daughter and a Godlike being called Bionema, which is… interesting, I guess? Also she had a floating pet dragon named “Ptou” that constantly went “Ptou!” all the time like some really obnoxious Hanna Barbara sidekick. That’s… never good. Her warrior friend Calf spends the story being a bland simple-minded warrior type and therefore doesn’t add anything to the story… like, at all really…

Basically it’s long, looks wonky and isn’t very good. Hooray?!

The Continuity:

Never mind the expression, how is that in ANY WAY Colin Baker?!

Peri having gone off to Krontep to marry Yrcanos was established in the final part of the Trial of a Time Lord epic subtitled “The Ultimate Foe”, with Yrcanos himself having appeared in the second part, “Mindwarp”.

The audio “Peri and the Piscon Paradox” establishes that the Peri who lived with Yrcanos was just one of several splinters created by the Time Lord’s mishandling of their job in placing her back into her rightful place in time. The later audio “The Widow’s Assassin”, establishes an entirely new continuity where Peri was mind-controlled to marry Yrcanos and eventually responsible for his death seven days after their marriage before being rescued by The Doctor, the two of them resuming their travels. This plot thread has yet to see an end but it’s pretty hard to coincide with this story given they settled down and had children and grandchildren!

Overall Thoughts:

The Doctor looks chipper as he narrowly avoids death.

As I have made clear, The Age of Chaos is not great. It doesn’t look nice, isn’t very interesting, goes on far too long and the new characters are really dull. Still, it’s not literally awful, I won’t give it a 1, it’s not THAT bad, but it sure ain’t good!

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