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Doctor Who and the Star Beast >

Doctor Who and the Iron Legion

Rating Votes
10
10%
1
9
30%
3
8
20%
2
7
20%
2
6
10%
1
5
0%
0
4
10%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
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Average Rating
7.7
Votes
10
Comic Strip Adaptations - Volume 1
8.1
Boxset Average Rating
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 5/1/19 3:45 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Iron Legion is a fun story as the Doctor finds himself following kidnappers to an alternate universe where Rome persisted to the then-present day of 1979. This is a pretty good adaptation with a lot of fun Roman characters and I like how they made Morris such a great character. It didn't quite capture all the splendor of what was a pretty visual story in the comics. In addition, the story branched out with an alternate universe doppleganger story which tied up some loose ends but utilized a tired trope and didn't do anything interesting with it. Still, a pretty good adaptation with Tom Baker giving his all throughout.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 3/20/19 4:12 pm
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

The Iron Legion is a good story, delivering a fairly faithful adaptation of the source material, while bringing the original story to life remarkably well with good performances and strong writing. Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor, alongside guest stars Joseph Kloska as Morris and Toby Longworth as Vesuvius. The cast is largely strong; Baker was perhaps a bit more muted than his recent appearances in the Fourth Doctor Adventures, but I think that was due to the lack of a companion for most of the story. Kloska and Longworth both brought strong comedic chops to the story, which set a lighter tone that clashes well with the darker plot. Alan Barnes is tasked with adapting Pat Mills’ and John Wagner’s original story to audio, and his adaptation is largely faithful, with a few tweaks. The most positive change to the story is Barnes’ tweaking of the Fourth Doctor’s characterization; in the original comics, he comes off as rather flat and unlike the original character at times, so Barnes adds in some lines here and there, and the story comes away with a far more charming lead. I did however think that the expansion of the Stockbridge residents’ role in the story, specifically Doug and Viv, bogged down the story at times though, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t bog the story down too much. The plot is as strong as ever, with Barnes faithfully streamlining and expanding upon the original a bit, to make it work better for audio. The longer runtime affords the story more room to breathe, and only improves it. The writing is excellent, as Barnes updates Mills’ and Wagner’s original script to suit the characters more, and largely improves the characters. Not just the Fourth Doctor, but the “companions du jour” Morris and Vesuvius improve, as do the expanded roles given to Adolphus Caesar and Ironicus. Overall, The Iron Legion is a mostly solid adaptation, and a strong story, featuring some solid performances from the cast, and a mostly well-written adaptation from Alan Barnes.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 3/19/19 1:58 pm
2 out of 4 found this review helpful.

As a first story in the realm of comic adaptations, "The Iron Legion" is an amazing start. The premise and soundscape somehow manage to feel grand-standing and epic while also being over the top eccentric and absurd all throughout. It's a tribute to Alan Barnes' adapting and Nick Brigg's direction that they are able to manage both tones so effectively here and everything about this story from the bigger set pieces to the smaller details feel gigantic as a result. This is also true in regards to the humor as this has to be one of the most humorous audios I've ever heard.

It's not going to have you laughing all the time but something about the combination of the more over the top tone, weirder characters, and zealous background score make it feel so weird and odd compared to other audios that you can't help but be amused by it. But the story never forgets that it needs to keep you invested and there are some serious moments that work well including the death of one of the side characters that actually kind of rips you apart.

Speaking of which, the cast is a bigger one with lots of moving pieces to them. Yet each part is enjoyable in voice and performance and there isn't one that stands out more than the others. Tom Baker is obviously having a blast here as the Doctor melting into the crazier vibe of the story perfectly and giving one of his strongest performance in a long while. This is an incarnation perfectly suited to this kind of absurd narrative given his more alien nature and I don't think this kind of story would've worked as well with any other Doctor. Brian Protheroe plays a stuffy and reverent General Ironicus in an appropriate fashion, the alien villains in the Malevilus are predictably menacing, and Christine Kavanagh as the mother of an Emperor-to-be is full of nasty surprises including a darkly grotesque transformation that's a highlight of the story. Even all of the minor side characters are fun with the stuttering robot Vesuvius, articulate killer cyborg Morris, and put upon couple Doug and Viv all making lasting impressions on the listener. They make this story incredibly memorable, more than it has any right to be in fact.

If I had to find one flaw with it, it's that the basic plot is on the generic side. It basically amounts to a kidnapping followed by a series of various chases and encounters linked together with connecting conversations that lead to another fall of a civilized power manipulated by aliens. However, to be honest, this core makes it feel much more serialized and faithful to the format it's adapting so it's hard for me to hold that against it. Everything else here works in gangbusters and with consistently fast pacing, the time in listening to it absolutely flies by.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this first story but if all of the Comic Adaptations are going to be as zany and downright bonkers as 'Iron Legion', then frankly I can't wait for more.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
NR
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: KamelionReview Date: 3/17/19 4:02 am
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Review

Doctor Who & The Iron Legion
Location : Stockbridge England / Alternate Earth where Rome never fell
Date/Time : Thursday October 11th 1979 6:00 AM
Released today July 13th, 2019

When this story opened with the song Morning by Peer Gynt I remembered the fact that I have never managed to read a full comic in my life as they are just not to my liking compared to live action film and now audio dramas. When I pre-ordered this set last year it was mostly due to the fact that I do not miss any Big Finish with Tom Baker. Ever. Little did I know I made the right decision to order this and I have now ordered the matching comic and intend to read it, then listen to this story again.

The morning starts off normal with a visit by the milkman in quiet Stockbridge. Until Roman Robots with a tank begin to attack like an earthquake.

The Doctor ran out of Jelly Babies back on Zagar VI and he's looking to pick up a 1/4 of them direct from a jar as those are best. He stops by the J. Grubb General Stores and has an interesting conversation with Mr. Grubb just before the Roman Robots attack the store and execute the kind and charming shop keeper. The Doctor tells the robots that he is just there for jelly babies or what they would know as "gelata infans".

The story ended up being quite hilarious and I suppose I should not have been surprised as humor is the very nature of the word comic itself.

The Doctor does not have a companion and this leaves him talking to himself at times to explain what is going on, an impossible dilemma for any audio only drama but Tom Baker's Doctor is just whacked enough that it is entirely believable that he would indeed be talking to himself.

At 1 hour and 57 minutes this is a must listen for anyone whom enjoys Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor. With typical of 2019 Big Finish sound effects and world class music it's really easy to determine this to be a gem. I would have never expected that this would inspire me to hunt down, order and plan to read an actual paper comic but it sure did. Just like the residents of Stockbridge waking at 6 am to the milkman didn't expect their day to be out of the normal, strange things can happen.