Written by Nick Abadzis | Art by Elena Casagrande | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
Ah, the Tenth Doctor, a title I really want to like a lot more than I do. I am enjoying all the Titan Doctor Who books to varying degrees, but this one has been at the lower end of the spectrum. Some of Nick Abadzis’s stories have been a little too simplistic for my taste, and couple that with the very cartoony art, you have an essentially all-ages style book aimed at an older market. This issue starts a new story arc, so my phasers are set to ‘try and give this the benefit of the doubt’.
After the hectic madness of the Mr. Ebonite/ Earth’s prehistory arc, The Doctor, companion Gabby and Gabby’s friend Cindy decide they need a quiet break to clear their minds. They choose London, so of course the TARDIS ends up in Dewbury, a West Country village currently hosting a paranormal book festival. That alone should set off the group’s spider-senses, but soon The Doctor is helping a local mum who’s daughter has been acting very strange since taking part in a (supposedly jokey) ceremony invoking a local witch. At the same time Gabby and Cindy are doing some exploring themselves, and a slightly unbalanced local tells them about the witch and the reason the local wishing well is sealed up.
The story drifts into the realms of a gentle Hammer horror film, as The Doctor is taken by the local Randall to the witch’s cave, and told a bit more about her. The ‘witch’ turns out to be something entirely different, and something that has been preying on the locals for some time. It doesn’t kill, but takes part of people’s minds. As The Doctor hunts it down, tensions rise between Cindy and Gabby, this being Cindy’s first actual trip in the TARDIS and she is desperate to feel as though she is contributing. A trip to a local fortune teller does not go well for Cindy, as a seemingly possessed fortune teller tells Cindy to warn The Doctor that ‘..they’ve found a way back in. Everything will be consumed…’. Yikes.
This was, again, solid middle of the road entertainment but no more. I get the impression Nick Abadzis could produce this sort of material in his sleep, and wish he would just stretch himself that little bit more. On the plus side, he has a fine handle on David Tennant’s Doctor, capturing not only his dialogue and mannerisms very well but also his habit of rushing from place to place at hectic pace, eager to solve the mystery of the day. Cindy and Gabby are written nicely too. I do think Abadzis trips up with his supporting characters though, often little more than devices used to forward the plot.
Eleonora Carlini’s art remains for me something I don’t particularly like. Very cartoony, with clear manga influences, it distracts from the story. Her rendition of David Tennant facially actually improves this issue, but is then off-set by very simplistic faces elsewhere, especially the permanently gurning Randall, who despite being written as an eccentric but serious character is made to look like comic relief. I would be curious to see an issue illustrated by someone else, to see if a more suitable artist could elevate the scripts as well.
If you enjoy Doctor Who, you’ll probably get your 15 minutes of enjoyment here, but you won’t remember much about this in a day or two. Fun, but too superficial to be more than a temporary distraction.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.8 is out now from Titan Comics