11th Jan2016

‘Doctor Who – The 11th Doctor Vol.3: Conversion’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Al Ewing, Rob Williams | Art by Simon Fraser, Boo Cook, Warren Pleece | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Hardback, 136pp

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As fun as monthly, or episodic, comics are, sometimes to fully appreciate a storyline or stories with a unifying theme you need to be patient and wait for the trade collection. For me, a lot of the Dr. Who titles come under that umbrella, as they establish a momentum that often sweeps you along, and it’s a momentum that you want to keep going rather than have it abruptly end until next month. This collection, Conversion, collects together issues 11-15 of the series, and is probably most notable for being the swansong of writer Al Ewing, who’s quirky writing and sense of humour will be missed.

The overarching storyline here is concerning an entity called, unsurprisingly, The Entity, and the chase across to space to find it. Underneath that, it’s hard to know where to begin there is so much going on. The highlight for me, as it always is on page and screen is the appearance of the Cybermen, and their invasion of Earth. Yep, full blown invasion. We also bump into the Roman Constantine the (not quite yet) Great, because it wouldn’t be a Dr Who story without him meeting/ influencing some great historical figure would it?

It’s a fun ride, and benefits from the fact that although The Doctor is a ‘hero’, he is also at times a very arrogant, blinkered, and even heartless person, who takes decisions and actions that he knows will have very serious consequences. We see the effects of that here, when not only his companions take issue with him, but the TARDIS itself. Too serious for you? Ewing has you covered. A new companion, Jones, has joined The Doctor after sneaking into the TARDIS; he is, in all but name, clearly David Bowie and the story has some fun with that. Bowie and space go together really rather well after all, do they not.

Probably the two biggest things the reader will take away from this collection is that Dr. Who stories written without budgetary constraints show us just how amazing The Doctor could look on-screen, with suitably epic stories, and that Ewing and Williams write pitch perfect dialogue and characterisation for the Matt Smith Doctor. There seems to be a lot of affection for him in their writing from where I’m sitting. Although we have three different artists involved here, all do a good job of drawing their stories; not only is Matt Smith easily recognisable in each artists work, they all capture mannerisms and expressions equally well. Colourful, simple layouts, clean lines and panels all help spotlight the characters and their words.

Although not a game changer, lacking a little innovation perhaps in favour of ‘giving them what they want’, Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor Vol.3 is a good collection. Well written and drawn, with some nice themes and good use of the Matt Smith incarnation. If you are a Dr Who fan you could do no better; if a new reader, I would suggest starting with Volume 1, as some slow burning themes are resolved in this volume that began way back then.

Thumbs up from me.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who – The 11th Doctor Vol.3: Conversion is available now from Titan Comics

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