Tuesday, 19 August 2014
REVIEW - REVENGE OF THE SWARM (SPOILER-FREE)
"Contact has been made!"
Just when I think Jonathan Morris couldn't raise the bar even higher after the event that was Psychodrome, he goes and gives us Revenge of the Swarm! Seriously! Not only is this story the start of the Seventh Doctor trilogy for 2014. Not only is it the continuation of the brilliant Hex/Hector story arc. Not only is this story dipping into the nostalgia by pitting the Doctor against the Swarm once again, but this story serves as both a prequel AND a sequel to The Invisible Enemy. Fantastic stuff!
Admittedly, I haven't seen The Invisible Enemy, but after listening to this story, I want to. Not only are McCoy, Aldred and Olivier on fine form in this first installment, but Morris managed to deliver one hell of a romp of an adventure by turning up the pacing and making you feel like you're at the track watching the race cars burn rubber. Instead of the usual episode 1 setup, we are thrown into the action within the first few minutes of this story. Not rushed, just brilliantly paced. Really makes you hungry for the next scene.
Morris also makes good use of the Swarm's strength, relying heavily on a certain trope (show trope); something that wasn't present in the original TV episode, but should've been I feel. It's an unusual trope and not one that gets used that often, but it also becomes a really fitting leach for the Doctor and his constant meddling without feeling overused. I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the countermeasures the Doctor takes as it really makes one feel that he is being guided by desperation.
Onto the Hex/Hector situation, there is some exposition regarding what happened to him in Afterlife, but do not buy this story just hoping to find out how it's resolved. You're in the same boat as Ace. It's ongoing, so you'll just have to wait. Though if Revenge of the Swarm is anything to go on, it's going to be a really enjoyable journey. I admit that I first thought Afterlife existed just to milk the 7+Ace+Hex trio dry and that his story had finally reached a satisfying end, but Revenge of the Swarm has convinced me that I was wrong. Boy was I wrong. There is still so much left to explore.
Rating this story: 10/10. Look up quality or entertainment in the dictionary. Underneath it, you'll find a picture of this story occupying the place.