09th Apr2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #6’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jody Houser | Art by Roberta Ingranata | Published by Titan Comics


First thing to mention this time round is the distinct lack of the name Rachael Stott anywhere. In my review of the last issue I had just mentioned how it was nice to see a creative team stay intact for more than a handful of issues, but clearly the comics gods decided to punish my hubris. I know Rachael Stott is working for Marvel at the moment, so perhaps her absence is due to scheduling. Her (temporary?) replacement, Roberta Ingranata, I know from the Image comic Witchblade, and she seems a good fit for the book at least. Still, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so let’s take a bite…

If you recall last issue the Doctor and Fam pitched up in 1500’s Europe, in what is now Holland, during the historically important Guelder Wars. Their arrival was partly a surprise as Graham, Yaz, and Ryan had just been learning about this event from ‘Hidden Human History’, a newly popular history podcast. Coincidence? hmmm. Anyhow, the gang soon get caught up helping the locals who are terrified of demons hunting the townspeople. Turns out the ‘demons’ are actually aliens, Stilean Flesh Eaters to be exact, and they decide to take a big chomp out of The Doctor’s shoulder. Ouch.

Interestingly, despite being chomped (though with little damage other than to coat and pride) The Doctor calms her team down, explaining there is a big difference between dangerous and evil. The Stilean’s are of course very dangerous, but only because they are hungry. As The Doctor doesn’t want to fight, they make a run for it, only for the Flesh Eaters to pursue and surround them. Of course, The Doctor doesn’t need to fight, as her greatest weapon is of course the gift of the gab. She persuades the Flesh Eaters they had best go back into hiding as they are hugely outnumbered by the coming villagers, summoned by the bells rung by Magda. Of course, no villagers are coming but The Doctor is skilled at lyin… ,er, being creative with the truth.

And that’s it. The team takes off in the TARDIS, and lands in 1711 North Carolina. A bit random, right? Actually, no. Guess what the episode of ‘Hidden Human History’ podcast before the Guelder Wars one was about? Cary’s Rebellion, which took place in North Carolina in 1711. Hmmm. Could the TARDIS be listening to the same podcasts, and taking The Doctor to these places to help, or is something else at play? Whatever the reason, The Doctor is now more than a little interested about these podcasts. Yaz tells her the podcast creator is someone called Bethany Brunwine, though no bells are rung by that name. Anyhow, perhaps the historical record of an outbreak of yellow fever could cover up another attack by Stilean Flesh Eaters, which seems very likely after they find a sick colonist. Investigations have to wait, however, as the Time Agency shows its hand….

An interesting issue, with Jody Houser taking the story in a completely different direction than I expected. The individual landing points of the TARDIS are less important it seems than the link to the podcast and now to the Time Agency. Nicely drip fed. The Doctor’s mannerisms and dialogue are captured as beautifully as always, and it was nice to see the Fam get more to do in this story, even being more important to it than The Doctor herself. Roberta Ingranata acquits herself well on her first issue, with a slightly more loose style than Rachael Stott but one than suits the book well. The similarity in pacing and layouts makes me wonder if Houser thumbnails these out for the artists, as the look is very consistent to previous issues. A more cartoony, but good, Jodie Whittaker too.

A very entertaining, solid read, and once again a story that reads better than most of the TV show episodes. Keep those surprises coming, we love ’em!

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #6 is out tomorrow, April 10th, from Titan Comics.


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