Written by Robbie Morrison | Art by Rachel Stott | Published by Titan Comics
Robbie Morrison’s arrival has seen this book go from middle of the pack to one of the front runners. His first story arc didn’t put a foot wrong, and he created quite the star turn in Julie D’Aubigny. With the slightly open ending last issue I was hoping to see Julie joining The Doctor as a new travelling companion but, alas, she has remained back in Seventeenth Century France. Never mind, I’m sure she’ll turn up again at some point. So has The Doctor picked up any new pals?
At first it seems yes, as we join the Time Surgeon, with assistant Kara, fighting The Minister and his Deathroids, Dalek -like allies….wait, what? Why is The Doctor the Time Surgeon? Isn’t the Minister supposed to be The Master, and Kara Clara? Turns out we are getting very meta, and reading a comic within a comic, as two comic book creators work on their new comic. I love the little in jokes Morrison throws in too…splash pages are of course because of lazy writers, don’t you know. As we shift to a comic convention in the ‘real’ world, some of the banter between the creators is clearly coming from experience. Fans are, of course, a necessary evil, all creators will tell you that.
What has so far been very meta for us suddenly gets very meta for Sonny and Val, as the two creators come face to face with the real Doctor, and he’s none too impressed with their version of him. So, he intends to put them right by giving them a flavour of what travelling with the real Time Lord feels like. Although both think they are in some sort of VR scenario, The Doctor takes them back to the Jurassic Era for starters, though it doesn’t go as planned. Or probably did, knowing him. Next, a whirlwind tour of the galaxy, with a side helping of relationship advice, ending in Zarma, a creative utopia designed by eco-architects to house the greatest minds in the universe. So why’s it all bashed up then? And what’s with the giant flying brains and enslaved inhabitants? That’ll have to wait for another day.
Although completely different in style and tone from his first arc, which is a good thing, Robbie Morrison here really captures the essence of Capaldi’s Doctor , essentially a deeply flawed, but overwhelmingly decent individual who cares too much but hides it well. The on screen Capaldi would have loved a TV script like this, that allowed him to fully express the character with great dialogue and set pieces. The two creators Sonny and Val, as well as being a nice little comic book fraternity in-joke, are essentially us, the readers, in the context of this story. The wide eyed innocents being dragged all over the universe by a man they thought fiction. They are us, we are them. It was a fun ride for sure.
The art chores were nicely done by Rachel Stott, though the fine lines and distinctive art of Mariano Laclaustra were much missed. Rachel proved a good choice for this particular arc, nice clean art, nicely laid out panels, and a good likeness of Capaldi. I seem to recall Capaldi likes her depiction of him, so I certainly won’t argue with that. She gets the mannerisms and attitude just right, obviously important in any story but especially in this one. As she only had two splash pages to do, I assume she doesn’t think Robbie a lazy writer either, knowing wink.
Robbie Morrison’s just showing off now, and he’s got Rachel Stott joining in. Fine work all round.
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #2.14 is out now from Titan Comics