Rich Johnston



 Eric J (Rex Mundi)











 The Doctor lands at

 the scene of a murder

 on a space station in

 the middle of deep

 space. He must use

 every ounce of his

 incredible mind to

 discover the truth

 from the sole suspect,

 whose species lives

 against the natural

 flow of time...



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© IDW Publishing 2009. No copyright infringement is intended.


JULY 2009






“Warning: Parts of this comic may read better backward rather than forward.”


That’s the footnote on the first page of this one-off, and it’s certainly accurate. Fortunately,

I’m quite good with timey-wimey stories, so having certain elements working in the opposite direction to the norm doesn’t worry me. I still had to read the middle pages a couple of times though…


Rich Johnston provides a very clever story for us here, a good, old-fashioned slice of proper science fiction. At the same time, it feels like a proper Doctor Who story, rather than just a science fiction tale with the Doctor shoehorned in. It’s also something of a murder mystery - although, the mystery isn’t in the whodunnit, but the why-dunnit.


The Doctor arrives on an isolated

space station, and is soon recruited

by Mozz and Looz, who are investi-

gating a murder. The two “gasbags

from Gallubitas Xenax” are really

great characters; friendly, intelligent

coppers who just happen to be tentacled green dirigibles (great work by artist Eric J). The murder has been committed by TX, a Counter - a species who live through time in the opp-osite direction to all the rest of the species in the Galaxy. “We know he did it,” says Mozz, “We just don’t know why. We just can’t… talk to him.”


For the Counters, death is birth and vice versa, and they can no more change their future than we can change our past. TX’s sudden, violent actions make perfect sense from his point of view. Mozz and Looz just need to know the full story, to get a confession, although they will be forced to execute him if they do, which explains why TX keeps calling Mozz ‘mother.’ As Time Lord, the Doctor is more qualified to talk to an alien moving backward through time than anyone else, but it’s still beyond his natural comprehension. So he uses the TARDIS to hop back and forth during his interrogation. As such, he gradually pieces

the puzzle together - and this part really does make more sense when read backwards.


If there’s a quibble, it’s that TX’s actual speech is forwards, just with each spoken passage preceding its logical successor. Frankly, that’s confusing enough for most people, and we can put the disparity down to some kind of translation. It would also have been nice to learn

more about the mysterious plague that has isolated this community of aliens. Nonetheless, this is an excellent, intelligent story, trying something a little different with this phenomally long-lived franchise.


Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2010


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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