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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Ninth Doctor #1


Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Blair Shedd
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.90, US $3.99
Age: All
32 pages
Publication Date: 01 April 2015

Having just saved Blitz-stricken London from the threat of a damaged Chula warship and its runaway nanogenes, the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness have left World War II behind them. They are embarking upon a tour of the universe, hoping for more sightseeing opportunities and fewer occasions of near-certain death… Instead they discover that technology lost in the wake of the Time War is being sold on the intergalactic black market! Now the threat of a new temporal conflict brews on the horizon. Can the Doctor prevent history from repeating itself…?

There simply aren’t enough Ninth Doctor stories in the world. Compared to the copious amounts of licensed fiction devoted to the other numbered incarnations of the Time Lord (that is, not counting John Hurt’s War Doctor), Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor has taken the lead in just thirteen television episodes, six novels, one novella, one audio book, and a handful of comic strips and short stories. This new five-issue miniseries helps to redress the balance. The title of the first instalment may be Weapons of Past Destruction, but in terms of Doctor Who mythology this is a weapon of past creation!

The events take place between The Doctor Dances and Boom Town, as a helpful note on the introduction page and references to Spock and bananas in the dialogue make plain. It’s a good gap to inhabit – it is clear from conversations in Boom Town that the Doctor, Rose and Jack experienced a number of off-screen adventures at this point. An even more tempting gap to fill might have been the one before Rose, but that may have been declared off limits by the BBC.

In keeping with the 2005 series, Cavan Scott’s story is set in space, but not on an alien planet. Unusually, there are no humanoid characters apart from the TARDIS crew (at least, not yet).

The dialogue is less memorable than that in Titan’s other Doctor Who series has tended to be, but this is largely down to the fact that the Ninth Doctor is less of a motormouth than his successors. The following speech (addressed to Jack) is about as verbose and quotable as he gets: “This is the way it is. You travel with me, you lose the weapons. They’re stupid, they’re ugly and I’ve seen enough to last me several lifetimes. Used enough. Get it? No. More. Weapons.”

Blair Shedd’s likenesses of our heroes vary a bit, but they tend towards good. It helps that these characters and their costumes were originally designed to have very distinctive silhouettes – particularly that of the Doctor – so there’s not much chance of mistaking them. The artist makes good use of that aspect, incorporating several silhouette shots into the strip. Even more remarkable is the way he manages to capture the soft-focus gleam that Series 1 possessed.

As the issue ends – on a suitably exciting cliffhanger – the plot hasn’t advanced very far, but it’s early days yet. Nevertheless, it has reminded me of the excitement I felt ten years ago, when a familiar but strange new Doctor Who arrived on our screens. This is only the beginning…


Richard McGinlay

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