Written by Nick Abadzis
Art by Elena Casagrande
Titan Comics is starting new ongoing series based on the recent incarnations of the Doctor from the long-time favorite British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Here, we take a look of the first issue of the tenth Doctor. Will this take hold up to one of the most popular Doctors to walk into the TARDIS? Only one way to find out. Allons-y!
Halloween and the Day of the Dead are fast approaching in a seemingly present day New York City, and everyone is starting to see random spookiness that they can’t explain. And when there’s something unexplainable, the Doctor is usually nearby.
As per the title, this book follows the tenth Doctor, portrayed by David Tennant in the television series this book is based off of. In two frames referencing his previous companion Donna and his love for machines that go “ding,” it won’t be hard for fans to place where this takes place in the television series’ cannon. But it can be gut wrenching for fans who remember Donna’s tragic story.
However, the Doctor is very much a secondary character in this issue, wandering around the background and noticing the strange oddities around town. The narrative more so focuses on a young woman named Gabriella, who is hoping for an escape from the burdening expectations of her father to carry on the family business. She is one of the first characters who notice what’s going on in her neighborhood, as the supernatural begin to plague her and her family. She doesn’t even meet the Doctor until the last page with a cliffhanger ending.
Typically, focusing on the new character, probably the companion for at least this story, instead of the Doctor is pretty standard. In this case though, the character Gabriella herself experiences so little of the supernatural elements and so much mundane life that it can be difficult to find interesting. When the other family members or neighbors to see random demonic or ghostly images, it’s generally for a panel or two and then immediately gone with no actual affect besides a scare.
Unfortunately none of the plot hooks of the new companion, the supernatural mystery, or what little of the Doctor there was ends up being captivating enough for me to care about what happens after the cliffhanger ending, and cliffhangers only work if you care enough about what’s going on to see how it ends.
The art holds up pretty well. First off, the Doctor does look like his Doctor, in that they captured David Tennant’s likeness pretty well. It’s a very clean book, and it flows really well from panel to panel. The coloring is vibrant. The only real downside is that there’s not much in the story to really show the art off. Sure, you get a quick demon here or there, but that’s about it. No good TARDIS scenes or running around with the Doctor. A lot of it is just standing and talking, which is still well done. I’d just like to see the characters do more, and that may start to happen in the next issue.
Overall (Not an Average)
If you need your Tennant fix after his appearance in the 50th anniversary special, this is as fine a place to start, but this isn’t looking like a seminal Doctor Who comic from the start. It is just the first issue though, and it’s not all complete, so that could still change. However, all it takes is one issue to grab or lose an audience, and I didn’t feel grabbed by this one.