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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Twelfth Doctor #1


Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Dave Taylor
Colourist: Hi-Fi Color
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 15 October 2014

A new face, a new Doctor, and a new beginning! Freshly regenerated and with a new head full of unanswered questions, the Doctor whisks Clara Oswald away to a strange and distant world. Clara thought she was going to be getting some skiing practice in preparation for a school trip with Danny Pink and the pupils from Coal Hill School. You know, normal stuff. Instead, she’s facing down exotic flora and fauna in her best ski suit, backing up the Doctor on a trek through traumatically alien undergrowth. She doesn’t even know what the Time Lord is searching for – or what will try to kill them should they find it...

A couple of months after the debut of its titles dedicated to the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, Titan Comics now brings us brand-new adventures featuring the brand-new Doctor: the Twelfth, as played by Peter Capaldi.

Unlike the other two ranges, this one does not introduce us to a companion who is unique to the comics. Instead, the Doctor is accompanied by his current television companion Clara Oswald, as portrayed by Jenna Coleman. New readers need not be put off, however, as the inside front cover contains brief descriptions of the Twelfth Doctor, his TARDIS and his fellow traveller. Dialogue within the story also reminds us that the Time Lord has recently regenerated, as he makes a snide remark about his predecessor’s fondness for fezzes and his use of the word “cool”.

The characterisation of the TARDIS crew is spot on – which is remarkable when you consider that author Robbie Morrison probably hadn’t seen many Capaldi episodes at the time that he wrote this comic. We are treated to one dialogue gem after another, from Clara’s sarcastic, “If there is anything odd about me, it probably rubbed off of you,” to the Doctor’s characteristically edgy, “You always learn faster when your life depends on it,” to wonderfully meta references such as, “If you’re scared, find a sofa to hide behind. There’s one around somewhere,” and the Doctor’s reply to the question, “Doctor who?”: “Doctor who turns up in the nick of time to save the day, though sometimes wonders why he bothers! Doctor who’s quite possibly your only chance of getting off this world alive! Doctor who advises you to do exactly as he says and stop attacking him with dull, boring, pointless questions!” I surmise that Morrison must have seen at least the opening instalment, Deep Breath, for he has the Doctor take one of those standing-up catnaps that he mentioned in that episode.

The writer’s sense of humour is also evident in sly references to The Rocky Horror Show and Slartibartfast’s fjords in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Meanwhile, artist Dave Taylor contributes to what is proving to be a consistent look across all three ranges of Doctor Who comics, with detailed line work that is slightly cartoony but tending towards realism rather than stylisation. The first character we meet is a Star Trek kind of alien, basically a human with strange growths on his face and neck, which doesn’t bode too well. From that point on, though, the artist injects more variety, including diverse droids and an aquatic life form wearing a water-filled environment suit. The likenesses of the licensed characters don’t get off to a great start, either, but they begin to improve within the space of one page. The Doctor’s hair colour remains too light throughout – closer to white than its true grey – but perhaps this imperfection is down to the colourist, Hi-Fi.

Despite those few artistic shortcomings, this series has got off to an impressive start. The first issue ends on a cliffhanger that is pure Who and is sure to leave you wanting more.


Richard McGinlay

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