If you’re a comic book aficionado, you’ll know that IDW recently relinquished the Doctor Who license to Titan after six years of Doctors Ten and Eleven. Titan obviously realise how popular David Tennant and Matt Smith’s incarnations of the Time Lord are and so here we are, with two new ongoings, followed later in the year by adventures with the Twelfth Doctor.
I’m sure both will sell well. But are they any good…?
We must first come to the cover of The Tenth Doctor#01 – because it’s stunning. It’s by Alice X. Zhang, whose paintings are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The Tenth Doctor here looks superb. I do wonder why they even bothered with variants!
The art inside, however, is very divisive. Elena Casagrande’s work looks to be inspired by manga; personally, I’m not a fan of manga, but many are. I prefer realism, particularly as this series is an extension of the TV show. Nonetheless, the art works well, particularly in the execution of the first ‘attack.’ Its scratchiness works is in its favour there, but come the issue’s close, it’s a struggle to make out quite what’s happening.
Titan doesn’t fall back on well-worn enemies, instead coming up with an intriguing threat that very quickly draws you in.
I do, however, love the TARDIS-centric first page. In some ways, it echoes the zooming-into-Earth effect notably seen in Rose, The Runaway Bride and The Christmas Invasion. It’s taken to another level here, showcasing what good comic book storytelling looks like: as the TARDIS moves across, towards the Earth, the readers’ eye, too, crosses the page and all five panels appear as one motion. Comic creators, take note. It’s so simple, but so effective.
Writer, Nick Abadzis depicts the Tenth Doctor (and ergo the Russell T. Davies) era well: we have a seemingly-watery enemy, reminscient of The Waters of Mars; a cobbled-together device (that really should go “ding”); back-from-the-dead antagonists; and the possibility of psychics. All that’s missing is a Dalek reference.
That’s one thing I took issue with about IDW’s run: falling back on Sontarans, Draconians, Ice Warriors, Cybermen et al. always made it feel a bit forced; like the writers merely wanted to be let loose with Skaro’s finest, not come up with their own horrors. It made me question whether anything could be considered canon. That’s not a major concern to all, but to me, it certainly makes a difference.
Thankfully, Titan doesn’t fall back on well-worn enemies, instead coming up with an intriguing threat that very quickly draws you in. It helps that the Day of the Dead festival is a perfect setting.
It would’ve been nice to see an on-screen companion used, but at least Donna gets a reference (the story takes place after Journey’s End) and the new character, Gabby Gonzalez, is likeable and interesting. The Doctor did seem very much against getting a new companion after Donna, so hopefully the conclusion to the opening arc, Revolutions of Terror, will give readers a good reason to accept that he’s momentarily moved on.
This is a strong start, however, and gives me great hope for the new licensees’ range.