Friday, 16 May 2014


The Doctor and Leela square off against the last Colophon...

I mentioned how long it felt since the last couple of Doctor Who releases. I'm not a big fan of the Companion Chronicles, so it's been rather dry. I got Tomb Ship and Last of the Colophon at the same time, but decided that the latter's title sounded more interesting - and it is!

I won't give anything away, but the third season of the Fourth Doctor Adventures this year have been very strong. Much much stronger than season 1 and 2. That's all good, but it does mean that Big Finish will have to top it next year with season 4. You have to keep improving, don't you? The Last of the Colophon is a interesting mix between SCI-FI and macabre. It is also very very dark and it's one of those titles that stands out because of the ending, which I won't spoil. It's unusual for Doctor Who to end on such a note. Usually it's more happy and cheerful, but not here. Not when you realize what's actually happened.

I must also praise the villain of this story. Again, I can't mention his/her name as that would spoil things, but it's been a while since we had such a cruel and sadist character. There is no redeeming qualities here and their 'superpower' is an old boring one, but is given a very interesting twist that manages to completely draw your attention. Leela is something of the heroine here as she goes head to head with a villain that still has a game breaker advantage over her, despite their handicap.

I will also praise the author of this tale - Jonathan Morris - for providing a very imaginative adaption to a very old and classic tale. Morris has written loads for Big Finish and I find most of what he writes masterful. Particularly Flip-Flop, Protect and Survive, as well as Eternal Summer. All of these rank as some of my favorite stories and all of which I recommend. If you're not into massively timey-wimey storytelling, then Last of the Colophon is for you. It's a grisly Gothic mystery tied in a SCI-FI bow.

There are flaws though, but  the writer Johnathan Morris tries very hard not to fall into every pot hole that this particular story-type is famous for. Indeed, if you've seen a story like this one, then like me you'll find yourself able to predict what the next plot twist will be well before it happens and well before the villain even thinks of it. Unfortunately this cannot be helped as the story-type has limitations on what it can do with the allotted time. To combat this problem, Johnathan Morris tries to provide unusual resolutions to the situations that I welcomed. The final climatic resolution is particularly impressive. It's one I should've been able to deduce as it is mentioned throughout the story, but the writer cleverly manages to hide it perfectly in plain sight.

It's unusual, but I loved every character in this story. They all felt well rounded, despite some stereotypes. I did find the start of the story a little unlikeable though: The Doctor and Leela go for a 'holiday' on a supposedly dead world, only to be captured by people (on the supposedly dead world) who immediately think of them as hostiles. That's like one of the five general ways Doctor Who stories begin. It's a little annoying, but I suppose you can say it's traditional Classic Who. And it does get sorted out fairly quickly, so it's okay I guess.

I'll end this review by telling you how much I'm looking forward to next month's release: Destroy the Infinite! I seriously cannot wait for the Doctor's first encounter with the Eminence (from his POV).

Rating this story: 8.5/10. Soggy in some bits, but not enough to dampen this tale's value.

Catch up on the other spoiler-free Fourth Doctor Adventure reviews with:

The Crooked Man
The Evil One

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