25th Apr2017

‘Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #3.1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by Mariano Laclaustra | Published by Titan Comics

Twelfth_Doctor_3_1_Cover-A

This issue sees new beginnings, as Year Three publishing wise begins. Robbie Williams makes way for George Mann, and Rachel Stott for Mariano Laclaustra. A fair swap on the face of it, though I’ll miss Robbie Morrison’s scripts as they were great fun. New beginnings always bring a new status quo, and we have The Doctor once again travelling alone, after his previous adventure with Sonny and Val. Although he’s never really alone is he, as what is a Doctor without his TARDIS.

The Devil makes work for idle hands, so The Doctor is out and about keeping busy. Latest port of call is the water world of New Oceana, where The Doctor is attending the opening of a ziggurat sealed for over a thousand years. Turns out it’s actually a robotic manufacturing plant, one that manufactures robots that dislike organic life forms. Oops. Rather like the opening pre-credits scene of a James Bond film, The Doctor happily sorts things out and we move on to the main event.

Hattie’s back. Remember Hattie, the space punk The Doctor ran into last year aboard far into the future The Twist space station. The Doctor has decided it’s time to meet up again to Hattie’s delight, though she’s not as impressed with Seaton Bay in 1979, which is where the TARDIS stops off. For the chips, you understand. Reggie’s Chippie apparently made the best chips in the universe for a three week span in 1979, and The Doctor treats Hattie to them. Now I want chips. Just as Hattie is revealing to The Doctor that her band’s great success has not made her happy he is distracted by a local paper headline concerning mysterious figures in the sea. A quick look around wouldn’t do any harm, would it?

The Doctor and Hattie check in to a local hotel, where Hattie has nightmarish dreams, bizarrely in black and white. Even more bizarrely, it seems everyone locally is experiencing the same thing. The dreams end in people feeling a strong thirst too. Odd. Nearly as odd as the shambling humanoid, seaweed covered creature hit by the car of a local woman. One that ends the issue by arriving behind The Doctor and Hattie, in a menacing ‘here comes the end credits theme music now’ now fashion.

Well that was a great start to a new year. This felt like classic Who, a seventies setting on Earth and a mysterious creature shambling around. George Mann made it feel as though Peter Capaldi was running around the pages of this story, capturing as well as he did the mannerisms and dialogue of The Twelfth Doctor. There’s always that little bit of mystery too. Did The Doctor really go there at this time for the chips? Did he randomly decide to drop in on Hattie at just this moment? Mann just playfully dangles these things in front of us so we don’t really know. Either way, a really enjoyable issue, lots of laughs and a bit of drama too.

The art by Mariano Laclaustra was excellent throughout, as was the colouring by Carlos Cabrera. I especially liked the difference in textures between the main story art, and the water based art of the opening sequence. Very nicely done, and visually very effective. Laclaustra did a good job of detailing both the far future and, even more impressively, the 1970′s decor. It felt authentic, as it should. The pacing was perfect, with a nice mix of large detailed panels, standard letterbox style ones, and even a couple of unorthodox pages too.

Nothing like hitting the ground running, and The Doctor certainly did that here. I look forward to next issue, as The Doctor tends to shine in strange 1970′s era monster stories, though that is of course normally the domain of the Third and Fourth Doctor’s. Let’s see what Twelve can do.

**** 4/5

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

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