06th Feb2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #4’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


I think I had more fun reading the last three issues of The Thirteenth Doctor than I had watching the entire last series of the TV show. Jody Houser has certainly shown these characters can work well, can be interesting, and can feature in adventures that are just plain fun. The TV show was trying too hard to be ‘moral message of the week’, and fell between the twin stools of entertainment and education. It’s heart was in the right place, but on the whole misjudged both its audience and the tone. As some critics, or fanboys, or critical fanboys, were just looking for any excuse to criticize, this was unfortunate. The Thirteenth Doctor, when done right, is a good character. Just ask Jody Houser. But I digress…

So, last issue took an interesting turn, as finally the truth is out in the open, and The Doctor was able to fully help Dr Perkins. Perkins and his colleague Dr Schulz had been captured and forced to steal for a powerful alien being called The Hoarder. Not the nicest being in the universe, The Hoarder also likes to steal children to keep as hostages and threaten, so their parents will be his slaves. A temporal crime ring, if you will, with a network of people stealing across time and space. The Doctor, as you would expect, cannot have that. So, The Doctor promptly makes like the cavalry and charges in to help, though that ends up being charging into a trap. Hey, one step at a time.

You never quite know with The Doctor if she is just plain lucky, or if she pretends not to know what she is doing just to keep everyone on their toes, friends and enemies alike. Whatever the answer, she ends up falling right on top of Dr Schulz, literally, the very person they are searching for. Schulz is very sick, as she has not been receiving her antidote from The Hoarder, who has injected her with a poison to control her. She had sabotaged Perkins time vortex controller to save him from a similar fate. The Doctor fancies that she can ship up an antidote, which is lovely, and her speech on friends and helping each other again reminds you this is not The Twelfth Doctor any more. Far more cuddly.

So, time to take on The Hoarder. Perkins and Schulz go back to see him as a distraction, while The TARDIS materialises in the, er, toilets. The alien toilets. Apparently toilets universe wide have the least amount of security in a building, so that’s the Doctor’s go-to landing spot. Nice. One quick robot reprogramming later, the rescue is underway, and one altercation later The Hoarder has been given a taste of his own medicine. As quite often with The Doctor, the actual beating of the opponent is secondary to the lessons being taught to the companions, the guidance of sorts. Time is not a toy to be played with is the message here. If you can rescue a load of imprisoned kids along the way, more power to you. And , of course, keep the robot.

Another very good issue, with Jody Houser perfectly capturing the spirit and essence of not just this Doctor, but every Doctor. Although she captures the mannerisms and speech of the current Doctor perfectly throughout, I especially loved the line at the end as to why The Doctor has companions, or at least why this Doctor does. How do you make something you’ve done over and over seem brand new? Show it to someone who hasn’t seen it before. New eyes make everything seem new every time. I love that reasoning. The art by Rachael Stott was as lovely as you’d expect, with great pacing and mixing up of panel shapes and sizes to keep everything pacy and frenetic.

Jody Houser and Rachel Stott certainly help these eyes see everything with a fresh enthusiasm. Their Doctor is most definitely The Doctor.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #4 is out today from Titan Comics


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