the TARDIS lands in

 a maze-like gallery

 filled with thousands

 of talking pictures.

 the Doctor HAS come

 across a place where

 showing emotion has

 been outlawed. The

 inhabitants MAY have

 good reason for their

 suppression, but it

 wouldn’t be like the

 Doctor to leave them

 in fear of living…


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IDW’s third Doctor Who story is this cracking one-off; a straightforward tale

set during the show’s third series. It’s written by husband and wife team Leah Moore and John Reppion, both of whom have several well-regarded comics under their belts, but who will forever be known best for their relationship to the legendary Alan Moore (Leah’s father). Some people have been surprised to see them working on Doctor Who given their illustr-ious connections, but let’s not forget that some of Alan Moore’s earliest work was writing Cyberman back-up strips for Doctor Who Magazine.


The artwork here is provided by Ben Templesmith, an increasingly sought after talent in

the world of comics, best known for another IDW series, 30 Days of Night. Templesmith’s surreal, idiosyncratic style is immediately recognisable – nobody else produces images like these. His unique style mixes photo-realistic faces with highly stylised, cartoony scribblings. While I understand that this will not be to everyone’s taste, I personally adore his work, and the jarring oddness of the style fits with the grim, gothic nature of this tale.


The Doctor and Martha find themselves on the rainy world of Grått, within the Whispering© IDW Publishing 2009. No copyright infringement is intended. Gallery of the title. This is a place where the Gråttites keep the

portraits of their dead – portraits that whisper to their visitors.

The Gråttites are forbidden to show any emotion, and these

portraits allow them their only chance to express their feelings

and tell their loved ones how they truly feel. It’s a desperately

sad concept for a world, yet strangely plausible. The Doctor

had previously travelled with Grayla, an inhabitant of Grått, one

who was unable to keep her emotions under control. Now her

portrait hangs in the Gallery, and so she must have returned to

her world, and died.


The Doctor would perhaps have accepted this, mourning but

moving on, as always, were it not for her final message: “They

were right. They were right all along. This is no place for emo-

tion. When you come you must remember that.” The Doctor

absolutely refuses to believe that Grayla was willingly ‘cured,’

and sets off into the streets to investigate. He leaves Martha in

the Gallery for her own good – there’s no way that she could disguise her emotions on this



The tale then follows both Martha and the

Doctor separately. Martha, left alone, is

devastated by the grief on display in the Gallery, and the sheer wretchedness of the

Gråttites’ situation. The Doctor, meanwhile,

draws attention to himself by the foolish use

of a multicoloured umbrella, staggeringly bright

against the greyness of Grått, and is soon stopped by the police. He’s no more capable of

controlling his emotions than Martha, of course, and is soon under attack by a huge, hairy beast – a wonderfully realised creature, with just a hint of spider and a touch of grizzly bear about it. This is the Morkon, a creature that feeds on emotions - the reason for the Gråttites long emotional famine. Emotions are banned for fear of waking the creature, but then Grayla came back, preaching her newfound emotional freedom, and it awoke.


The story continues in a simple fashion, a chase with the monster leading to the sobbing Martha in the Gallery, before the Doctor allows it to gorge on his nine hundred years’ worth

of pent-up grief and anger. The beast is destroyed. Yes; it’s a simple end to a simple story, but no less effective for it. Altogether, this is a great read; one worth tracking down.


Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2009


Daniel Tessier has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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