Book Review – Doctor Who: Echoes of Grey

  • Title: Echoes of Grey
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: John Dorney
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Zoë, Jaime, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Wendy Padbury, Emily Pithon
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 01/25/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Echoes of Grey is part of Big Finish’s excellent Companion Chronicles series. This story features the Second Doctor, Zoë, and Jamie. It is preformed by Wendy Padbury as Zoë and Emily Pithon as Ali. Zoë is simply walking down the street when she’s approached by a woman called Ali, a woman who claims to know her, who said she met her during an encounter with the Doctor at the Whitaker Institute, an encounter involving the Achromatics. Ali says she has some equipment that can help Zoë remember. Ali takes her somewhere and hooks Zoë up to an Alpha-Wave generator, and Zoë begins to remember her adventure.

The TARDIS lands in what seems to be an abandoned medical facility. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoë discover an empty medical ward, with charts still hanging on the beds, and some strange yellow creatures. They meet a girl, Ali, who, like Zoë, was a child prodigy, who was soon surrounded by adults and seen more for her skills than as a person. They meet a man who’s just snuck into the facility to find out what happened to his grandmother, and they meet the staff. They also discover a mysterious vat of white stuff. After the mysterious murder of one of the staff members – the trio, now mistaken as members of the “Company” that is paying for the research, on a fact-finding mission, discover what it is the Whitaker Institute has manufactured – the Achromatics – beings that can absorb any sort of disease or injury. Unfortunately, the semi-senitent Achromatics don’t stop with simply absorbing the disease – once the disease is absorbed and the person cured, they move on the absorb healthy cells – until the person dies. And then they move on to the next host. The Achromatics continue their healing/killing until they are so diseased – they die. The Doctor and Zoë are appalled that living creatures would die for this cure – and that it doesn’t work since the host/patient also dies. In the end, the Doctor manages to dispose of the Achromatics in a rather clever way – and the trio leaves in the TARDIS.

When Zoë speaks to Ali again, the woman presses her for the formula for the Achromatics – a formula she saw on one of the white boards in the Institute. With her photographic memory – she should recall it. But Zoë realises something is wrong – she doesn’t remember Ali being there, even though Ali insists she was. Zoë also realises that the Achromatics Project is far too dangerous and inhumane to get out. In the end, she decides – she doesn’t remember.

This was a good story, with lots of atmosphere, well-performed by Wendy Padbury who always does a very good job in the Companion Chronicles. The only criticism I have is that it’s a bit short. I would have liked a slightly longer, more complex story. Still, it is a good story and it’s easily visualized. I recommend Echoes of Grey. Oh, and I loved the reason for the title, it’s reference, and even where the name of the “monster du jour” comes from.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Echoes of Grey on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

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Book Review- The Flash Book 1 (by Mark Waid)

  • Title: The Flash Book 1
  • Author: Mark Waid
  • Artist: Greg LaRocque
  • Line: early Modern Age
  • Characters: Wally West (The Flash)
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/23/2017

It is just fun to go back in time, so to speak, and read a collection from the 1990s, even with the occasional cringe-worthy moment (oh, Golden Glider… let’s just say the CW version is much better). The Flash Book One by Mark Waid, is a collection of a number of Flash stories, focusing on the early modern age Flash, Wally West. This was my Flash, simply because I started reading DC Comics in the mid-1980s, after Crisis on Infinite Earths and to me, Barry Allen’s sacrificial death was a fait accompli and Wally was the Flash and a full-fledged member of the Justice League (aka Justice League International, later Justice League America).

The first story has a far future Flash traveling back in time to gather past Flashes (Jay Garrick the Golden Age Flash, Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, and Wally West) to help against a world-ending disaster in the far future. However, this Flash, John Fox, fails to even meet the various other Flashes and even manages to really mess-up the life of a mobster’s girl by preventing her from talking to the Flash.

The rest of the book is various adventures of the Flash, Wally West. From seeing Wally get his powers in a million-to-one exact repeat of the accident that made Barry Allen the Flash to Wally becoming more comfortable in his own skin as the Flash, this is a fun and light introduction to the character. Note that in the story where Wally becomes Kid Flash – he doesn’t know Barry is the Flash, even though Barry is his uncle (or uncle to-be – at this point Iris and Barry are engaged). It is clear, later, that Wally knows the truth about Barry and is a little resentful of the former Flash’s deception. (Though Barry was merely trying to protect Wally and Iris.)

The book includes adventures between the Flash and various members of his Rogues Gallery, including a final story featuring The Trickster, who is always fun.

Overall, this is a fun and light book. Wally West is a happy-go-lightly character who, although is adventures are exciting, they are above all fun. This is not a grim, serious, gritty book – it’s the exact opposite of that. Most of these stories even carry the “Comics Code Approved” seal. Still, “light and fun” have always been associated with the Flash, and this book is that. It’s the perfect light reading.