Titan Books has been nice enough to share an advance copy of each of their Doctor Who comics series’ premiere issues, and I’ve been more than happy to give them advance reviews. Bonus: I’ve liked each one! We already have ongoing series for the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, and April 1st, Titan releases a 5-issue mini-series starring Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor.
“Weapons of Past Destruction”
Writer: Cavan Scott (has written or co-written a number of Big Finish audios, including all the ones that have “Project” in their titles)
Artist: Blair Shedd (a Joe Kubert School graduate and one of the few American artists to draw several Doctor Who comics stories)
Unlike 10 and 11, Doctor Who #9 doesn’t have the kind of gap in his time line where the comics could explore a new and hitherto unknown companion. So the series looks at one gap we can infer from the television series, and that’s when the TARDIS crew would have been composed of the Doctor, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness, just after The Doctor Dances and just before Boom Town. There’s room there for them to get chummy and have some of the adventures Rose references to make Mickey jealous (among others). Writer Cavan Scott makes it clear that’s where we are with several references to things that happen in The Empty Child et al.
The story he concocts offers up the mystery of a planet gone missing (or destroyed), and two robot(?) factions who, unfortunately, don’t give Captain Jack much of a chance to be his lusty, innuendo-crazy self. That’s a big missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned, though perhaps the comics are pitched at a generally younger audience, which feels strange to me, given that the show is meant to appeal to all age brackets. There’s plenty of humorous banter between the characters nonetheless, plus lots of running and a slightly insane cliffhanger (like all the best Doctor Who stories, eh?). No attempt to characterize Doc9’s speech patterns in a Manchester accent, in case you’re wondering, which is probably a good idea. You’ll just have to add that in. Where the story will take us next is anyone’s guess, but it looks like Scott wants to tell a 5-part story over a greater canvas than one location can afford, and it’s fun to see the 9th Doctor in locations other than Earth and its orbit (which his series was confined to).
As for Blair Shedd’s art, it features strong likenesses that are thankfully not too stiff, and a painterly coloring job that adds a slick sheen to the proceedings. His robot designs are fun, and he’s not afraid of odd angles and Frank Milleresque silhouettes to break up the pages. I really do hope he gets to draw more than these few places and things over the course of the next four issues.
And here’s hoping this heralds future mini-series starring the other eight Doctors!
Siskoid has gone through the Pilgrimage of watching every Doctor Who episode in order from the beginning in 1963, in addition to dozens of novels, audios, RPG products and comics based on his favorite franchise.