Things ended badly for Romana at the end of Gallifrey Time War Volume 1 and she struggles to turn things around throughout this new Volume 2. Spoiler alert: Rasillon is back and now in charge. This can only mean the Time War is about to get very serious indeed…
The Time War to end all Time Wars
Rasillon is a vast presence across this aspect of Doctor Who and Terrence Hardiman’s incarnation is commanding, brutal and in many ways rather mad. Across the four stories we slowly learn just how far he is prepared to go and just how much Gallifrey will have to bend to suit his will.
In the first story, Havoc, David Llewellyn spins a great story about a character from the future sent back for purposes unknown. It’s a great distraction as Romana is put on trial, the CIA struggles for authority and she and Narvin do their best in a world increasingly leaving them behind.
The rest of the stories have a tighter theme connected by the world of Ysalus, drawn into the Time War and apparently unable to do anything about it. We also get some development of a new character, junior agent Eris. The first Ysalus story, Partisans by Una McCormack puts Romana at odds with Rasillon’s plans and it builds a platform against which the rest of the set unfolds.
Lisa McMullin gives us the third story, Collateral and it is a great tale of time travel, trust, betrayal, best intentions and in the end the blind indifference of Rasillon to anything but his own view. It’s bleak, dark and rather brilliant
Matt Fitton grabs all the loose ends in the ending Assassins and not only do things get worse for Gallifrey and Romana, but Narvin is also the subject of coercion by forces dedicated to Rasillon. Matt manages to pack in an update on both Ace and Leela (with hints we might be getting Leela back in a later story) but really it’s about reshuffling the main players and setting up further stories.
Overall it’s nice to have a set of stories without Daleks, but at times the stories to seem to be waiting for bigger things to happen. New characters either don’t quite flourish or die, though Livia (Pippa Bennett-Warner) is fast becoming a favourite. No news on further releases, but I expect plenty from this soap opera come Doctor Who equivalent of I, Claudius.