The Weeping Angels of Mons was the third story of the Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor comic strip series. This monumental four-part story set during World War I was published in 2014-15, during the centenary commemorations of the Great War. It was the first ever comic story to feature Weeping Angels and was advertised as a beginning of a new storyline.
When Gabby and the Doctor arrive by accident in No Man's Land in July, 1916, they're met by Corporal Jamie Colqhoun — a soldier who knows from bitter experience that there are worse things than the Jerries out in the rat-strewn trenches. Things that drift through the smoke of a thousand cannon shells, and move only when you look away. Shadows that flit over artillery-blasted field hospitals and throw their terrifying wings over the living. Statues that steal your life in an instant. The Weeping Angels. But in a conflict where the life of young men is cheap, and thousands die every day — are the Angels actually offering salvation?
Trapped in the midst of a flock of starving Angels, the Doctor faces his most challenging and terrifying moral dilemma yet!
As the British Army prepares to defend the Belgian town of Mons from the advancing German Army in its first engagement in World War I, Jamie Colquhoun and his friend Harry are sent for a reconnaissance of Mons. Before leaving for the mission, Jamie steals the last rays of sunlight to scribble a letter to his sister Jeanie and dates it 21st August 1914. The town is eerily empty. At a cemetery they make a short break. Many gravestones are embellished with cherubs and angels. Harry is busy planning for after the war, when they are back in Paisley. He's going to propose to Jeanie and tries to matchmake Jamie with his own sister. When Jamie goes to check inside the nearby church, Harry pulls out Jeanie's photo and starts practising his future proposal. Suddenly, behind him he notices a dark figure with wings. It ignores his demands to identify itself and seems impervious to bullets. Jamie is alarmed by the shots, but Harry can finally see clearly. It is just a statue of a weeping angel. As he turns to tell Jamie everything's alright, the Weeping Angel reveals its face. A short scream later, Jeanie's photo is all that is left of Harry.
The TARDIS materialises in a barren land, grey and completely devoid of trees. Gabby Gonzalez is taken aback because she expected a spot of history more beautiful than this. Turns out, while attempting to boil the kettle, she accidentally pressed something in the TARDIS and steered them off course. The Tenth Doctor decides to explore anyway, but their finds become more and more chilling — a horse skeleton, barbed wire and finally a gas mask. The Doctor realises they are in the middle of the First World War, most probably its Western Front. As in confirmation of their worst fears, they hear the sound of approaching shells and start running back towards the TARDIS. Explosions hitting near, Gabby and the Doctor almost make it to safety when a shell hits the TARDIS knocking them both off their feet. When Gabby manages to get her bearings, the TARDIS is gone and the Doctor is unconscious.
It is July 1916, and Jamie writes another letter to Jeanie from the Big Push to take the Somme. He has been promoted to a Corporal and is a veteran soldier now. Jamie's faith has been crushed by war. He doesn't believe in Heaven anymore but Hell he can see all around him. Still, instead of concentrating on the details of the fighting and the slaughter, he fills the letter with notes about his brothers-in-arms, those who came with him all the way back in August 1914, John "Shuggy" McHugh, Manny Simons, Joe Logue and Big Wullie Cairns. Their commanding officer, Captain Fairbairn, on the other hand, only arrived a few weeks ago and still needs time to get used to the war. This time they succeed in crossing the No Man's Land and got into German trenches, which are surprisingly empty, except for Gabby with the still unconscious body of the Doctor. With Jamie's bayonet aimed right at her, Gabby decides to surrender just in case.
After the fighting is over, Captain Fairbairn reports to Major Atkinson from headquarters that they suffered heavy casualties while crossing the No Man's Land but then saw no resistance in the trenches or in the town of St Michel they have taken. He also mentions the two civilians they picked up, Gabby and the Doctor. He is sure they are spies and plans to interrogate them. Jamie, however, is not so sure.
Meanwhile, Thomas Monaghan, a military chaplain, is examining the unconscious Doctor in a field hospital set up in a church. He can find no fault other than the second heart. The Doctor suddenly comes to and stands up so abruptly that Manny Simons thinks he's trying to escape and points a revolver at him. Gabby explains to the Doctor that they are suspected spies, so all their belongings including his sonic screwdriver have been confiscated. As the Doctor tries to distract the chaplain's attention from his less than usual physiology, a German soldier nearby starts screaming, "Don't look away!" His eyes are completely bandaged, but he is violently ripping them off. When he succeeds in removing the bandages, it turns out his eyelids are sewn permanently open. And he continues shouting, "Don't blink! Don't even blink!" The chaplain says that they found him already in this state and think he may have done it to himself. The Doctor looks closely into his eyes and sees an image of a Weeping Angel.
Wullie Cairns and Joe Logue are establishing the perimeter around the town on Captain's orders. They stop to smoke a fag near a fountain embellished with many statues. Wullie hangs his helmet on a nearby statue of a weeping angel. Suddenly, they hear the helmet drop to the ground. When they turn to look, the Weeping Angel has uncovered its fierce face and is stretching its hands towards them. Terrified, Wullie pleads for mercy.
Wullie pleads for mercy and suddenly finds himself in a bathroom of a train carriage. Heavy rain lashes at the windows. Joe appears behind him. Neither understands what happened or where they are. Wullie thinks they are in Scotland. Meanwhile the train reaches a bridge. A man from a compartment greets them, and they use the opportunity to carefully figure out where they are. They explain their questions by the amount of alcohol they had before boarding the train, which brings them scorn from a woman sitting in the compartment. The man calms her down and explains that they are on the Dundee train. Suddenly, Wullie notices the date on a newspaper the man is reading — 28th December, 1879. After the initial shock, Wullie, being from Dundee himself, starts remembering that on that same day the Tay Bridge, the bridge they are passing by now, collapses. Before he finishes his thought, the train and all its passengers are plunged into the river below. The next day, the The Dundee Herald publishes a report on the tragic event, which left no survivors.
Back in France, 1916, three soldiers are smoking and preparing a meal on a make-shift fire on the darkened streets of St Michel. A couple of statues covering their faces can be seen in the arches of a building behind them.
Gabby asks the Doctor what happened to the German patient who continues shouting about not blinking. The Doctor mentions angels, and it turns out that Chaplain Monaghan heard rumours about Angels taking soldiers from battlefields dating back all the way to the first battle of the war in Mons. Their discussion is interrupted by Jamie Colquhoun, who is to take the Doctor and Gabby to Captain Fairbairn.
On the way from the church to Captain's headquarters, the Doctor asks Jamie if he noticed anything suspicious about the statues in the city. The Doctor's dismissive manner doesn't help Jamie warm up to him, but he does not seem to be fond of the possibility of a firing squad either and asks Gabby to influence her "boyfriend". Gabby, vigorously dispelling this notion, opens up the door for some unmistakable though at times awkward flirting between the two of them.
In Fairbairn's office, the Doctor continues behave in the most irritating manner causing Captain to pull a gun on him. Jamie vouches that they're harmless if a little crazy, and Gabby tries to explain their presence with a hastily cooked up cover story involving a "Lieutenant Colonel Brooks". Naturally, Fairbairn immediately calls the headquarters to verify the story. Fortunately for Gabby and the Doctor, the telephone line is dead. Fairbairn sends McHugh to fix it. "Shuggy" is not too happy to go out into the gloomy town. He finds where the line was cut off. Suddenly, one of the wires is pulled away from him along the trench. Following it, "Shuggy" bumps into a Weeping Angel. His cry is heard far and wide.
Both Captain Fairbairn and Jamie are alarmed by the cry and take to arms assuming this to be a German attack. The Doctor, however, authoritatively tells them they have a new enemy now. He still acts as if he were in charge. He even steals Captain's personal firearm to prevent him from stopping him, while Gabby picks up and hands him his screwdriver. Jamie is forced to point his rifle at the Doctor. Unperturbed and beckoning everyone to follow him, the Doctor is already opening the door, only to find a Weeping Angel standing behind it. Slamming the door shut, the Doctor and others run to find another exit. On the run, the Doctor gives a primer on the worst-named predators in the universe. The Angel is already in the room. Jamie stays behind shooting at it, with no visible effect. But the Doctor and Gabby soon bump into another Angel up ahead. Running backwards, they soon join the others. The four humans with their backs to the windows are face to face with two Weeping Angels. The Doctor smashes the window with his sonic screwdriver and the four of them jump out and run for their lives, making it safely all the way to the church with the field hospital.
Meanwhile, only Weeping Angels can now be seen near the make-shift fire. Matches and an overturned can are uselessly lying on the ground.
Multiple Weeping Angels surround the church now. The Doctor makes sure that they are being continuously observed through the windows. With the temporary standstill, he explains in more detail that Angels have evolved to turn into stone whenever another living being looks at them. Their touch sends one into the past and they feed off the potential of your life that is never realised. They have to cover their faces in the presence of other Angels to prevent quantum-locking each other forever. The battlefields of World War I are a perfect hunting ground for them. The likely reason that there was no resistance in the German trenches and in the town of St Michel is that most Germans have fallen victims of the Angels.
One of the soldiers from the make-shift fire finds himself in the Colosseum in Rome in 97 AD, smack in the middle of a gladiator fight. Another appears in London in 1535 and is tied to a stake to be burned by the Londoners, believing him to be a witch.
Since Gabby introduced herself as Nurse Gonzalez, Monaghan sends her down to the basement to get fresh supplies for dressing wounds. He asks Private Simons to accompany her. As they start descending the stairs, lights in the church start flickering. Gabby and Manny Simons chat about his dream to visit New York City while she collects supplies in the basement. Suddenly, a flickering bulb plunges them into complete darkness. When the bulb lights up again, a Weeping Angel reaches for Gabby's throat.
New York, 1892: A woman is attacked by two men. Manny saves the woman by knocking the two men unconscious. She asks him who is he and he says he was sent by an Angel. His entire life is seen passing, ending with him dying of shock after reading that thousands died in the war.
Back in France, the Doctor tries to get some light in the room. Gabby attempts to hold off an Angel, but has to blink. She opens her eyes and sees Jamie, also looking at the Angel. Jamie asks Gabby where Manny is, and she says that the Angel got him. Jamie puts a grenade in the Angel's hand and they both run. The Angel survives the explosion and continues to attack. They run back upstairs, where the Doctor tells Gabby that he regrets taking her for an extra trip. He tells the soldiers that they have to make it through the night, suggesting a guard system to Fairbairn.
The sun rises and the Doctor goes to open the door, but they are interrupted by an artillery bombardment hitting the city. The Angels close in, using the smoke as cover. Fairbairn holds off the Angels, telling everyone else to run. The Angels circle him as the rest of the group encounter more Angels. A tank suddenly drives through a wall, with an older Shuggy inside. He says the Angel sent him back in time, a few miles up the road. He married a woman named Brigitte and worked on a farm, waiting until the right time to return.
As they approach a German trench, they see figures in the smoke. Assuming it's the soldiers, they look closer and realise that the figures are actually Weeping Angels. The Doctor deduces the Angels are starving - that's why they're hunting in the open. He also deduces that since they could understand the German patient, the TARDIS must be around still.
Gabby and Jamie find Shuggy holding a picture of his family. Jamie offers him coffee, but they realise he died of old age. Jamie reminisces about the times before the war. Gabby and Jamie almost kiss, but they are interrupted by the Doctor, who asks if they have chewing gum. He uses the gum to stick a machine together, which he then uses to pinpoint the location of the TARDIS. It's in some old tunnels which are filled with explosives. The Doctor then realises that the TARDIS is moving, as some Weeping Angels begin to carry it away.
In the tunnels, the Doctor, Gabby, Jamie and Monaghan are in a lift. They hear a thumping noise and the lift shakes. Three Angels are on top of the lift. They walk out of the lift and explore the tunnels, arriving at a two-way fork. Before the Doctor can say which path to take, Angels begin to cave-in the tunnels. A pile of rocks block off the tunnel, separating Gabby and Jamie. Monaghan says they are most likely dead, but the Doctor refuses the thought.
Gabby and Jamie are alive, and they discover the explosives. Angels chase the Doctor, and Monaghan says he'll stay and watch them for as long as he can. He says if they are really Angels, all his faith is a lie and he has to know the truth. He holds up his cross and recites a prayer.
The Doctor finds the TARDIS, surrounded by angels. He starts to walk forward. Meanwhile, Jamie finds the detonator to the explosives, saying that the other half of the plan was to detonate the explosives and escape in the TARDIS. Since the Doctor is not with them, Jamie plans to detonate them himself.
The Doctor sneaks past the Angels, telling himself not to blink. He realises that instead of blinking, he can wink so that he can still see the Angels. Unlocking the TARDIS, he shuts the door while winking.
Monaghan opens his eyes in Scotland, 1896. A woman opens the door and asks him for help as a baby's just been born. He walks inside and asks what the name of the baby is - it's Jamie Colquhoun.
Back in the tunnel, Jamie and Gabby both press the detonator. The tunnels explode, seemingly killing them. As they kiss they realise they aren't dead. They open their eyes and discover they're in the TARDIS. Confused, Jamie asks what happened. The Doctor explains he shielded them with the TARDIS. He materialises the TARDIS on the surface and Gabby says goodbye to Jamie.
In 2007, at St Michel War Cemetery, a family walks down a path, wheeling an old man in a wheelchair. The old man is revealed to be Jamie - who has is now 111 years old. He looks around, noticing the TARDIS, the Doctor and Gabby. They leave, and then Jamie and his family start to leave the cemetery. Jamie's great-granddaughter, Gabriella, trips over something, saying it must have been a rock. However, an Angel's hand sticks out of the ground.
World War I
- Tenth Doctor
- Gabby Gonzalez
- Jamie Colquhoun
- John "Shuggy" McHugh
- Thomas Monaghan
- Weeping Angels
- Big Wullie Cairns
- Captain Douglas Fairbairn
- Manny Simons
- Joe Logue
- German patient
- Major Atkinson
- British Army soldiers
Train in Dundee
Rome, 97 AD
The Somme, 19th century
St Michel War Cemetery
- The Doctor explains that the First World War started with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia, a country most people never heard of before the assassination. According to the Doctor, the Archduke was wearing a funny hat.
- Harry thinks the war will be over by Christmas, but Jamie Colquhoun questions which Christmas that is.
- During the war, landlords back in Scotland tried to profiteer by hiking the rents, which caused successful rent strikes.
- A passenger on the Dundee train in 1879 does not recognise World War I uniforms of Wullie Cairns and Joe Logue but suggests that they returned from fighting the Zulu in South Africa.
- According to Thomas Monaghan, Weeping Angels appeared during the Battle of Mons, the first battle of the war.
- Captain Fairbairn says his father fought the Zulu and his great-grandfather marched with Wellington against Napoleon during the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
- The Tenth Doctor references a school of Sontarans who were executed for painting.
- The Doctor mentions the Daleks' word exterminate.
- Gabby compares the interior of the TARDIS to a steampunk nightmare.
- Gabby describes being on a battlefield as a full 4D experience.
- Jamie mentions the Highland Fling.
- Gabby watched The Crimson Field on BBC America.
- Gabby realises that she understands the German patient even though he speaks German. The Doctor explains it is because of the TARDIS telepathic circuits.
- The Doctor once saved the universe with a well-placed strip of Elastoplast.
- John McHugh was a housebreaker from Clydebank before the war.
- Manny Simons' parents were originally from Russia but had to flee religious persecution there and ended up in the Gorbals. He himself is a talented boxer.
- Before being sent to Mons, Jamie Colquhoun was quartered in Maryhill Barracks.
- Jamie signed up on his 18th birthday on 29 July 1914.
- Gabby never loses a contest of staring while staring at a Weeping Angel because she practised a lot with her brother Gino.
- The Doctor mentions his companion Jamie McCrimmon.
Food and beverages
- Captain Fairbairn offers his men a tot of rum for courage before another Big Push in the Battle of the Somme.
- At the beginning of the war, soldiers from Scotland were wearing kilts, but it was impractical because of flooded trenches and rats.
- The last name of Jamie Colquhoun is misspelled as "Jamie Colqhoun" and "Jamie Hamilton" in the publisher's descriptions of the first and second issues of the story respectively.
- Despite Mons featuring prominently in the title of the story, only one opening scene takes place there, whereas most of the action takes place and all but one Weeping Angel act in a fictional town of St Michel.
- The C cover of 10D 6, depicting the silhouette of a Weeping Angel, a soldier and the TARDIS, is an homage to the covers to the graphic novels for Charley's War, a 1970s/80s comic series about the First World War by Pat Mills. The name of the soldier, Jamie Colquhoun, alludes to the artist Joe Colquhoun, who drew the series.
- The opening scene of the story is set in Mons on 21 August 1914. The first major battle of the British Army in the war, the Battle of Mons, happens two days later.
- The final scene set in the past, which depicts the war-torn fields fading into a field of flowers slowly, is reminiscent of the final scene from Blackadder Goes Forth.
- The Doctor is wearing black converses. Conventionally, he wears red or blue converses.
- Gabby Gonzalez returns to her habit of occasionally using Spanish words such as:
- ¿Neta? - Oh, really?
- John McHugh quotes "three bags full" from the nursery rhyme "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep".
- Maps in Captain Fairbairn's office show events that happened up to 1918 despite the story being set in 1916.
Original print details
to be added
- The Tenth Doctor previously encountered the Weeping Angels in London in 2007. The German patient in St Michel keeps shouting the same advice the Doctor gave Sally Sparrow then, "Don't blink!" (TV: Blink)
- The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler were previously told stories about the "Angels of Mons". (COMIC: Warfreekz!)
- The British Army arrive to defend Mons because Britain has entered a treaty to protect Belgium. (PROSE: Human Nature)
- Gabby reminds the Doctor about their first trip together by referring to "an artist who deals in homicidal sculptures". (COMIC: The Arts in Space)
- Jamie Colquhoun recalls the Christmas Day "truce" in 1914, when British troops played football and otherwise fraternised with the Germans. This event was witnessed by the First Doctor, Steven Taylor, and Sara Kingdom, (PROSE: The Little Drummer Boy) by the Fifth Doctor and Peri Brown (PROSE: Never Seen Cairo) and by the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler. The Ninth Doctor even served as a football referee. (COMIC: The Forgotten) The First and Twelfth Doctors were also present shortly before their respective regenerations. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)
- Wullie Cairns compares the empty trenches on the other side of the No Man's Land to the Marie Celeste, a ship infamously found at sea without the crew. Several Doctors were involved in different events leading to Marie Celeste being abandoned, including the First Doctor, (TV: The Chase) the Second Doctor (PROSE: The Mystery of the Marie Celeste) and the Third Doctor. (COMIC: A Stitch in Time)
- When the Doctor wakes up, he begins reciting the lyrics to the song "War". He, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and others had previously listed out the lyrics to the song in another scenario. (COMIC: The Warkeeper's Crown)
- Jamie mistakes the Doctor for Gabby's boyfriend, just like her sister did. (COMIC: Revolutions of Terror)
- Captain Fairbairn threatens the Doctor with the firing squad. The Second Doctor already faced such an ordeal, also from British World War I soldiers and also ordered by a British officer. (TV: The War Games)
- The Doctor references promising "one trip" to Gabby, and concedes he has taken her on "one trip too many". (COMIC: The Arts in Space)
- Gabby sketches her travels with the Doctor. (COMIC: The Arts in Space)
- Jamie compares the TARDIS to H.G. Wells' novel The Time Machine. The Doctor says that "Herbert" had stolen the idea from him. (TV: Timelash)
- The Doctor and Gabby visit an elderly Jamie Colquhoun at St Michel War Cemetery in the Somme in 2007; the Doctor has previously visited veterans of this conflict long after it ended, including Tim Latimer. (TV: Human Nature / The Family of Blood)
- The Weeping Angels are starved. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- A Weeping Angel smiles. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
- The Weeping Angels steal the TARDIS. (TV: Blink)
- Captain Dudgeon fought in the Battle of Mons. (AUDIO: No Man's Land)