17th Sep2018

‘Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by James Peaty | Art by Brian Williamson | Published by Titan Comics

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So all the teasing is nearly over, and it is nearly time to see the Thirteenth Doctor in all her glory. First though, we get to see The Twelfth Doctor strut his stuff, as we have already seen Ten and Eleven do, all loosely linked by the mysterious portal popping up. This mini has been kind of a team up without being a team up, as no Doctor’s have actually met yet the stories are all linked. Both previous issues have played to the strengths of their Doctor, so I’m hoping this installment, ‘Tulpa’ continues that trend too.

The Doctor and Bill turn up in modern day London, after a call for help from Kate Stewart, of UNIT. Having arrived in London it’s easy to see why. The Doctor theorises that the chaos in front of them, and noticeable lack of people, is due to a phase-shift, when two different planes of existence begin to shift together and overlap. The bad side of this, of course, is that other dimension looks particularly nasty, as one overgrown demonic inhabitant intends t prove. Luckily for The Doctor and Bill, UNIT make short work of him. Kate explains that this is the third ‘shift’ and they have been growing bigger and wider. This leads The Doctor to conclude that something big is trying to force its way through.

Running alongside all this, which our otherwise occupied heroes are unaware of, is the story of a young writer, seemingly helped in his writing by ‘Karen’, a ghostly but attractive lady. Karen, though, was actually some sort of alien psychic leech, attaching itself to the writers head and forcing him to write. I’d go out on a limb and guess these two things are connected. Which is quickly confirmed, as the fourth rift event catapults The Doctor and Bill into a strange pocket universe, while KATE and UNIT are frozen in time between the two realities. And that looks like the young writer standing over there.

Turns out that, like many of The Doctor’s adventures, the enemy is being bad without really intending to be bad. The Kar-yn are an ancient race that all but died out, but their particular ability, to sculpt dreams, was preserved in a psychic archive and sent to find a host to re-imagine them back into existence. Hence, the young writer, someone happier in the make believe reality being given to him than his real life. He sadly, and reluctantly, breaks the psychic hold on himself when he realises he has just been used. Often though, sad endings lead to bright beginnings, and this may be true for him. And Karen. Finally, we have an epilogue where The Doctor, Missy, and Nardole encounter that same portal, with The Thirteenth Doctor seemingly trapped inside. She’s coming.

Another entertaining romp on an issue, certainly bringing out the strengths of Twelve. The UNIT cameo was nice too, and I enjoyed the whole tip and wink to HP Lovecraft and his stories. The art, by Brian Williamson, was very nice, with strong layouts and very clean line art. Suited the story nicely. This mini-series has been nice on two levels, serving both to remind us just how much we love The Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctor’s, and giving them a run out while we wait for their books to resume, and to give The Thirteenth Doctor both a big build up and fun way to be introduced. Things are certainly going to be different from here on in.

Here’s to years more of timey-wimey adventures.

**** 4/5

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