THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVEL "THE MANY
HANDS" AND THE TV
IDW GRAPHIC NOVEL
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
2009 (NORTH AMERICA
En route to witness
The Beatles' famed
rooftop concert in
1969, The Doctor and
Martha Jones INSTEAD
find themselves in
rural England in
1669, where alien
REVIVED the Black
Black Death is the final one-off adventure from IDW Comics, at least for the
time being, and it’s a grim and spooky affair. With a 17th century rural setting, it feels quite unlike the majority of the tenth Doctor’s adventures, instead possessing the feel of an early Hammer movie. Mandrake’s dark, dingy artwork only adds to this feeling.
I have to say, I can’t understand why plague doctors haven’t been used as Doctor Who monsters before. They’re perfect - the creepiest example of a real-life entity I can think of. Their heavy cloaks and hats are spooky enough when skulking in the shadows, but it’s the beaked face-mask that really gives me the willies. In fact, it’s a shame when they rip open their costumes to reveal their true selves - the macroviruses are finely designed monsters, but not nearly as scary as the plague doctors themselves. Also, they were done on Star
Trek: Voyager years ago.
Still, it’s a great idea: drawing a par-
allel between the bubonic plague on
Earth, and an unending war on an alien
world, between glowing humanoids
and the macroviruses. The humanoids
are their world’s equivalent of our anti-
bodies, the entire planet the equivalent
of a diseased body. When one of the antiboides crashes on Earth, he is taken in by a priest,
who views him as an angel with healing powers. But the viruses soon follow, leading to the
outbreak of a new plague. “Viruses reproduce by invading cells,” says the Doctor, “and the
people are those cells!” A fantastic idea, leading to some hideous eruption from the infected
victims. Absolute rubbish, of course, but effective nonetheless. Infecting Martha also ups the
threat, giving the story a real sense of a race against time. A good little chiller.
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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