24th Dec2018

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #2′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jody Houser | Art by Rachael Stott | Published by Titan Comics

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This book started out really strong last issue, with a five star review from me, and that followed on from the 0 issue, which again was superb. It entertained, had great script and art, good characters, and promised much to come. Ironically, I preferred that story over most of The Thirteenth Doctor’s TV adventures to date. I’m not entirely sure with the TV show if it’s the characters that aren’t quite clicking with me, or the scripts and stories, but it’s been my least favourite series for a good few years. Definitely part of the reason is the taking away of the classic villains. No Cybermen, no Daleks, no Master, no Weeping Angels. It’s the same as taking The Joker away from Batman, or Lex Luthor from Superman. Just wrong.

But I digress…

Last issue was a frenetic jumble of action as we launched into the new adventures of The Doctor and her companions, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham. The three companions are no accident, as this version of The Doctor is a lot more sociable and friendly than her predecessors, so one companion is clearly not enough. We saw some time travel, dastardly villains, The Doctor showing off, and a cliffhanger as they rescued a mystery man from a portal and were then surrounded by The Grand Army of the Just. We start with our heroes in prison, locked up by the Army, a perfect time for the mystery man from the portal to tell his story.

He is Dr Leon Perkins, a scientist who had been working on wearable temporal tech with his colleague Dr Irene Schulz. He claims his then malfunctioned and he was trapped in a time loop until The Doctor rescued him, which is obviously a blurring of the truth as we saw last issue. He and Dr Schulz had been stealing things under duress after ending up in a very strange place run by a powerful alien. The sabotage of his equipment does look genuine though, as Dr Schulz may genuinely have tried to save him by sending him away. The Doctor’s no idiot, of course, so I doubt his being liberal with the truth has escaped her attention, though for now she’s not saying anything.

One sonic screwdriver escape later, the group are running to and fro trying to find an escape route. This Doctor is clearly still finding her feet, as she wastes quite some time running around and nearly gets captured before realise she only had to summon the TARDIS and bundle everyone inside. One TARDIS escape later, they have time to sit down and work out what to do next. Actually, they don’t, as Dr Perkins has smuggled a gun on board and is looking to hijack the TARDIS. To save his colleague, or to offer it as a gift to their captor we don’t know. What we do know is that is a very bad move, as The Doctor really doesn’t like guns. At all. Next issue should be interesting.

Of course last issue’s jump start was always going to be tricky to continue here, but dare I say this felt a little padded out. The group were captured, then escaped, that’s it. Very little substance here, apart from a little more background on Dr Perkins and his situation, and some fun banter. The characters are still very well written, and I like the way the story is heading so that’s all good. Stott’s art is still as reliable and consistent as you could hope for, and her likenesses are pretty good too. She showed good use of panel placement too to stretch out a quite thin script. A solid, entertaining read, just lacking a little in plot development and advancement and suffering a little from the slow pacing.

Second issues can be tricky, and this felt a little like that, but what we had was good and promised much more to come. I’m certainly along for the long haul.

***½  3.5/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #2 is out now from Titan Comics.

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