11th May2015

‘Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor – Vol.1 Terrorformer’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Robbie Morrison | Art by Dave Taylor | Published by Titan Comics | Format: , pp

DW-12th-vol-1

Dr Who comics have been around for quite some time, with Who comic strips going back as far as the 1960′s. I have happy memories of reading Dr Who Weekly from Marvel in the early 1980′s, and always felt the Doctor was a natural character for the comic book form. Until recently the TV show adventures of the good Doctor were usually hampered by poor special effects (I grew up assuming most planets looked like chalk quarries), whereas in comics, you have an unlimited special effects budget. To work at his best, the Doctor needs that.

Now Titan Comics have taken on the job of publishing the new adventures of the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth incarnations of the Doctor. This particular volume collects together the first ever comic book adventures of the Peter Capaldi Twelfth Doctor, and Clara ‘Impossible Girl’ Oswald. For those continuity-obsessed fans out there, this adventures takes place during season 8 of the television show.

In Terrorformer We follow the Doctor and Clara first to the ice planet ISEN VI, where Clara is going to learn to ice-ski. On arrival, they find a tropical paradise instead. Some investigating reveals that the richest man in the universe, Kano Dollar, has terraformed the planet for his own personal use. Unfortunately he failed to check if anything was there first, and the Doctor has to confront an ancient foe of the Time Lords….

The second story The Swords of Kali sees us move between the 19th and 24th centuries as we see how India has evolved from a poor, undeveloped country to that of a great space travelling power. That development though has come with some otherworldly assistance and interference, and the Doctor and Clara soon realise that the goddess Kali may actually be more than just a myth.

The one word I would use with these first two tales of the 12th Doctor is ‘fun’. Robbie Morrison is pitch perfect with his tone, both of the nature and locales of the adventures and of the Doctor and Clara’s personalities. Some of the dialogue sounds as perfect as anything Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has uttered on the television show, showcasing this incarnation as clever, witty but oh-so arrogant and rude.

One thing I did notice with the collection is that, as it collects together stories published in monthly ‘episodes’, Robbie Morrison always leaves us on a cliffhanger to pick up on the following month. Although that suits the flow of a story well over monthly published issues, it makes a collected volume read all at once sometimes feel a bit forced or stilted in its storytelling.

The art by Dave Taylor is bright and breezy, quite traditional in its style of panel layouts and aided by some bright colouring. Although Taylor’s style fits the ‘fun’ mood of these first two adventures, I am not sure if it would be as suitable for any darker tales, so we’ll have to wait and see how that works in future adventures. My only real gripe is with the likenesses of both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman as the Doctor and Clara…. I don’t think they are very good. We can see who they are supposed to be, but Taylor hasn’t quite got there yet. Physical mannerisms yes, facial ones no. This contrasts with the perfect capture of Capaldi’s likeness by cover artist Alice X Zhang. All the covers, reproduced here, are excellent.

On balance, a very good start to the adventures of the new Doctor, but also two stories that very much feel as though Robbie Morrison and Dave Taylor are still getting a feel for their character and his world. I expect great things for the future.

***½  3.5/5

The Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor – Vol.1 Terrorformer graphic novel is released by Titan Comics on May 27th.

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