Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Adventures – The Sapling: Branches – Comic Review

‘The Doctor and Alice must finally face up to the Sapling’s true nature… but has their influence managed to calm his destructive instincts? Or will they find themselves at his terrifying mercy? With The Scream hot on their tail, intent on using the Sapling for his own nefarious purposes, The Doctor and Alice must make an impossible choice… Meanwhile, the Doctor has possibly found another Time Lord!’

Whilst I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for years, and love how the comics have continued his adventures, every now and then the comics will tell a story that you don’t get in the series. Sometimes this is a massive cross-over, sometimes it’s epic visuals that could never be produced by the BBC, and sometimes it’s a story that’s so bizarre that it would never be made into an episode. Unfortunately, the latest instalment in the Sapling story is one of those kinds of stories.

Due to the very nature of the Sapling, a being that is born from the stolen memories of the Doctor and his companion Alice, things were guaranteed to get strange at some point, but when you throw The Silence into the mix too, a species that messes with memories, it was a forgone conclusion.

Thanks to an ancient Time Lord weapon developed during the time war, similar in style to the one used by the War Doctor during the 50th anniversary special ‘The Day of the Doctor’, the Tardis and the crew find themselves on the verge of destruction. Thanks to a last second plan the Sapling and The Scream, a deranged Silence, merge into one, trapping the Doctor and Alice inside a strange other world made from their memories.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find this story line engaging or entertaining at all. It relied too much on weirdness and the bizarre, with disjointed events and jumps in logic that weren’t given any real explanation other than ‘physic’ stuff, and ‘memories’. Even come the end of the story I couldn’t really tell you what happened, or why what did happen actually happened.

High concept science fiction tends to be something that I don’t always get on with, and whilst it can work in certain franchises it always feels slightly out of place with Doctor Who instead of their standard run and stop the monsters approach.

Whilst the story isn’t necessarily to my taste, the book’s art is well executed, able to depict previous monsters and characters clearly enough to be instantly recognisable without needing much explanation. The planet made of memories is a particularly good part of the book for sneaking in little nods, such as buildings made to resemble various versions of the sonic screwdriver.

I was disappointed with this particular volume of the Eleventh Doctor Adventures I’m sure that there will be some fans who will thoroughly enjoy the story.

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