26th Jan2017

‘Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Rob Williams | Art by I.N.J Culbard | Published by Titan Comics


Year 3, in publishing terms, has come for The Eleventh Doctor. A series that I haven’t exactly disliked, but not one I feel has been great either. Lacking a little of that timey-wimey magic, which for this incarnation is criminal indeed. So this issue sees the new creative team of Rob Williams and I.N.J Culbard come aboard, hopefully to inject some of that missing magic. Rob Williams work I know pretty well, from his UK comic work and his Marvel Comics stuff, so he seems a good fit for the book.

So what have The Doctor and Alice been up to since the major events of last issue? Did they get that rest and relaxation they earned? Er, no. We catch up with them being chased by the inhabitants of Britzit-247, a colony of the British Intergalactic Empire made up of people just really angry about something or other. A nice little dig at Brexit, there. Britzit means Britzit, especially when a giant mechanical thing appears that has an uncanny appearance to a certain blond Foreign Secretary. Time to leave, as they do, but not before we witness the sad demise of Fez-Y, The Doctor’s beloved fez. So, what dire intergalactic emergency made The Doctor put him and Alice in such danger?

He was, in fact, looking for a record. Vinyl, of course, and hidden for him to find by Jones, the greatest pop star in the universe. If you thought Jones bore more than a passing resemblance to David Bowie, you wouldn’t be wrong. However, as The Doctor pitches up at the time and place he was supposed to meet up with The Tall Pale Earl, he instead discovers a funeral. Jones’s funeral. Time has at last caught up with him. Alice observes that although The Doctor is sad for his friend’s passing, he also is philosophical. He has seen so many people die in his time, he can no longer experience genuine grief. Anyway, he could go back in time anytime and revisit any of his now dead friends. Such is the life of a Time Lord.

More pressing is that someone knew The Doctor would be at Jones’s funeral, and he goes to the place he is asked to go. Turns out to be a desert planet he visited last year, peopled by several million humanoids. Only, now it’s a jungle planet missing several million humanoids. Something bad has clearly happened. This is reinforced by the dead body of a Nebulon, and a Rockra, both races that live lifespans in the hundreds of years, something they have in common with a certain Gallifreyan. It’s clearly a trap, but The Doctor cannot resist an adventure. Clever as he is, he is also wildly irresponsible, and when you are as old as him you take your thrills where you can find them. The appearance of an old foe at the end promises a lot for next issue. If The Doctor survives of course.

A really good first issue for the new creative team. I love the tone of Rob Williams script, his integration of real world things like Brexit and Bowie into the story especially, and his ear for writing really authentic Matt Smith dialogue. The Doctor looked, sounded, and acted like The Eleventh Doctor, and it all felt just right. Some of his one liners were genuinely laugh out loud funny.

The art by I.N.J Culbard I was at first a little unsure of. Stylistically it reminds me of European artists, certainly the French ones I am familiar with, and not what I was used to on a book like this. By the end of the book, however, I loved the art. It was technically really strong, great layouts and story pacing, and meshed perfectly with William’s script. Matt Smith’s mannerisms were really captured well, too.

The Eleventh Doctor has found his perfect creative team.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.1 is out now from Titan Comics


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