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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Tenth Doctor #1


Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colourist: Arianna Florean
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 23 July 2014

Gabriella Gonzalez is stuck in a dead-end job in her family’s New York laundromat, dreaming of college and bigger, better and brighter things. So when a strange man with an even stranger big blue box barges into her life on the eve of the Day of the Dead celebrations, she seizes her chance for adventure with both hands. After Donna’s tragic exit, the Doctor thought he was done with companions. But Gabby Gonzalez is going to prove him wrong – if she survives the night. When vortexes explode out of the washing machines, and shadowy creatures stalk on the edge of sight, she finds herself pursued by unearthly forces...

Notwithstanding certain special releases prompted by last year’s 50th anniversary, licensed fiction based on new Who has tended to focus upon whoever is the current incarnation of the Time Lord. Titan Comics is now bucking that trend by presenting monthly titles devoted to two past Doctors: the Tenth and the Eleventh.

Both series begin by (re)introducing readers to the Doctor and the series premise via a new companion-to-be. In the case of the Tenth Doctor series, that new character is the Hispanic Gabriella Gonzalez. Like Alice Obiefune in the Eleventh Doctor range, the drudgery of Gabby’s everyday life is getting her down – though her stifled dreams of going to college and bettering herself are not as heartbreaking as the tragedies that have befallen the unfortunate Alice. Another thing these young women have in common is that both are second-generation immigrants. Not only does this inject a more diverse ethnic mixture into the strip than we usually get on the television series, it also gives each companion an immediate connection with the Time Lord. Both have encountered racism and been made to feel like outsiders – like lonely aliens.

Whereas Alice is based in the UK, Gabby is located in Brooklyn, New York, presumably with the aim of appealing to the American market of this publication.

Another difference between the ranges is that whereas the first few issues of Eleven’s comic were standalone affairs, this is the first of a three-part serial, entitled Revolutions of Terror. Perhaps inevitably, therefore, the pacing seems more gradual here. Much of this issue is devoted to establishing Gabby and her nearest and dearest. The Tenth Doctor does appear, but in something of a background role, characteristically bemoaning the fact that his latest gadget doesn’t go ding – a casual reference to a similarly Doctor-lite episode, Blink. Only at the very end of this instalment (and I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to reveal this) does the Time Lord cross paths with his latest assistant-in-waiting – the equivalent point in the Eleventh Doctor title is reached after just a few pages.

By the end of this issue, therefore, the story feels as though it is only just getting going. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing and unsettling moments, some neat visuals from artist Elena Casagrande (including a photo-realistic opening scene of the TARDIS approaching the Earth) and a decent likeness of David Tennant. Like the contents of the washing machines in the Sunset Park Laundromat, I’m sure it’ll all come out in the wash…


Richard McGinlay

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