With Doctor Who back on the television and excitement for the series still at a high, this is the best time for Titan Comics to launch their own second series of the 13th Doctor, as portrayed by Jodie Whittaker in the show. It may be a new year and a new series but all the regular cast and creators are back to bring you wild adventures in space and time.
One of the things that happens a lot in the Doctor Who T.V. series is that there are gaps in the time lines, missing elements to stories or the characters lives. This happened all too often with Matt Smith’s incarnation with episodes starting in the middle of one of his adventures or a throw away line explaining that the Doctor had been away for several years.
Although occasionally frustrating, the outcome is that there are plenty of holes to fill for new creators wanting to revisit older stories or characters. Enter Jody Houser with the first part of a multi-Doctor story that takes place during one of arguably the best Nu-Who episodes ever.
Weaving a Web
In a failed attempt to take the Fam to one of the most famous music festivals on Earth, Woodstock, the TARDIS and her crew end up on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Instantly recognising the time and place, the Doctor realises they may have bigger problems than being in the wrong country.
London in the 1960’s is not only a time and place the Doctor has been before but at this exact moment in time an earlier incarnation of the Time Lord is in the midst of a fight with one of the most dangerous foes they have ever encountered.
The current Doctor must find out why the TARDIS has brought her back to this, precise, moment otherwise it might have catastrophic effects on her own timeline.
One thing you know for certain going into this comic is that Jody Houser knows how to write the current Doctor and her companions. Not only does she capture the characters voices but she reflects the tone of the new series as helmed by Chis Chibnall. In lesser hands, trying to blend the tone of early Doctors with current incarnations, can produce an uncomfortable experience but that is not so here. Houser fits the world of 13th Doctor snugly into the world of the 10th Doctor.
Houser has hijacked the earlier story, finding a gap in Martha and the Doctor’s adventures that hasn’t been explored, and fits the new story beautifully around it. There are plenty of references to both Doctor’s adventures to keep fans of the T.V. show amused while not interfering with the main narrative. From this initial chapter the Blink story appears incidental to the story this comic is telling, although hints are this will change over the coming months.
Illustrating the Doctor’s
The visual style within this comic is fun and bright. Roberta Ingranata injects the energetic excitement that both of the leads have into the artwork. It’s bold and bubbly; it’s simply impossible not to be captivated by it.
The beauty of Ingranata’s work is that she makes it easily accessible. The characters likenesses are simplified but spot on. The page layouts follow a basic structure with an easy to follow line through the panels, keeping the narrative moving forward at a steady pace. Newbies to comics can pick this up and enjoy it without having to understand the ins and outs of comic book structure which is perfect for a title like this. It needs to be accessible to fans of the T.V. show who have no interest in comics as a general rule.
Mirroring Ingranata’s artwork is the lettering provided by Starkings and Hedricks. They create simple follow through on the pages with the placement of the speech balloons. Small, snappy balloons keeps the narrative tight which in turn reflects the style of the best 10th/13th Doctor stories.
And the sound effects in this comic are bold bringing an element of fun to the pages. This was evident in the recent Holiday Specials where the style matched the narrative but even in this, slightly more down to earth story, the sound effects still fit.
Bridging the gap between the darker tones of the story, it does feature the unnerving presence of the Weeping Angels after all, and the more upbeat aspects is Enrica Angiolini’s coloring. It is as if her job is to ground the outlandish moments and breathe fresh air into the dark times.
Her palette is naturalistic, playing with the 1960’s setting to give realistic colors but with a bit of flair. She uses a lot of flat color fields overlaid with shadows to create depth and distance. Overall, Angiolini’s work gives the comic it’s detail and setting.
As a gimmick to draw in new readers, this story is ideal. It has the 10th Doctor, Weeping Angels, and links to one of the most popular Nu-Who stories. However, it is so much more than a gimmick. The narrative in this issue is delightfully clever and presented in an engaging way. Once the thrill of the gimmick has passed you will find yourself engrossed in this unravelling tale.
Houser and Co will hook you right in and this first issue will not be enough. It leaves you desperately wanting more; an excellent sign of a great comic. Just like the new T.V. series, the 13th Doctor’s comic adventures are going from strength to strength. This year is going to be a spectacular year for Doctor Who, whatever medium you catch her in.