18th Jul2018

‘Dr. Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by James Peaty | Art by Iolanda Zanfardino | Published by Titan Comics

doctor_who_road_to_thirteenth_1_cover

You would have to be living under a rock to not realise that a new Doctor is on the horizon, with the regeneration of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor last Christmas into Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. It’s a regeneration of course that has divided Who fandom, with vocal fans and critics alike. Me? I’m on the fence. Although not a casting I think is a slam dunk, and with Missy having already having played with that whole female Time Lord thing, I’m not sure a female Doctor was the right thing to do right now. That being said, it has been done, she has been cast, and I’m happy to give both the show and The Doctor every chance. Remember when fans were up in arms when Matt Smith was cast because he was ‘too young’. We all know how that turned out. But I digress…

So, in preparation for the arrival of The Thirteenth Doctor, Titan are publishing a three part The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor to start building up some momentum. Actually, it both does that and is also a good chance to remind everyone of just what good characters Doctor’s Ten, Eleven, and Twelve were/are, as each of the three issues will spotlight each Doctor, while a backup feature provides the prequel to the launch of The Thirteenth Doctor’s book, by the actual creative team itself. This first installment, ‘The Ghost Ship’ featuring The Tenth Doctor, Gabby and Cindy, looks like being a fun start to proceedings.

We start, as The Doctor’s adventures often do, by stumbling into the middle of some emergency. Often the arrival is made to look by The Doctor as pure chance, though we usually get the feeling he always intended it. Here, the TARDIS lands aboard a small spacecraft, just in time to witness the death of a crew member by some strange transparent being, closely followed by another. Turns out this ship has been sent out to map a Nebula, this being the 31st Century, but The Doctor knows the Nebula was fully mapped out last century. So why were they sent here now? A secret agent reveals her hand, and we find the crew and ship are guinea pigs in a military weapons test. That’s nice. One bright and breezy solution later, and everything gets sorted. The 4 page back up, ‘The Road to…’ also starts with The Tenth Doctor, and gives the briefest of glimpses of someone calling for help. The new Doctor?

Possibly.

This was a great first issue for this book. James Peaty wrote a pitch perfect Tenth Doctor, bouncing all over the place and throwing out great dialogue. The plot was very fun, light, and throwaway but nothing wrong with that, and it felt like one of the fun TV episodes hat break up the more serious fare. The art, by Iolanda Zanfardino, was just on the right side of cartoony, and in fact suited the tone of the story very well. My only real niggles were that Gabby and Cindy had practically nothing to do throughout, and The Doctor visually looked like a twenty something. The four page backup was most notable for being by The Thirteenth Doctor’s actual creative team when the book launches, writer Jody Houser and artist Rachael Stott. She looks like being in very good hands.

A nice start to a busy schedule of Doctor Who books building up to the launch later in the year of The Thirteenth Doctor. If it was designed to entice new readers in, this first effort was a good choice. Light and fun, it showcased The Tenth Doctor as a book to read as well as the upcoming special issues. Most definitely keep eyes on all these books, they are going to be epic.

**** 4/5

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