24th Jul2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #10′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

DW13D-10-cover

The problem with reviewing comics every month is that you can’t review them all. You certainly like to try and widen the net at times to see what other fish are in the sea, and so some old favourites have to give way. For a while at least. I missed last month’s Thirteenth Doctor, issue 9, for just that reason. I had to pick this up though solely for the fact I noticed The Corsair was in it. The Corsair, a character I am aware of but know not much about, is important in Who mythology because he/she was the first confirmation that Time Lords could indeed change gender on regeneration. I think it was Neil Gaiman himself who created The Corsair for an episode of the TV series featuring Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. Firstly, cool name. Corsair. Secondly, cool TARDIS. It looks like a pirate ship. Thirdly, a Time Lord in a pirate ship. C’mon.

So, last issue The Doctor was accused of stealing the Gem of Niag, along with Ryan, Yaz, and Graham. As they clearly didn’t do it, they set out to find who did, and the trail leads to the joint coolest Time Lord out there, The Corsair, currently in a female regeneration. Funnily enough, as The Doctor is now also female, The Corsair doesn’t recognize her at first. One amusing anecdote later, we’re all friends again. Seems these two like each other essentially because they are both extra sassy when it comes to both normal rules, and especially obeying Time Lord rules. Rebels unite and all that. In fact, as the ensuing brawl shows, The Corsair actually makes The Doctor look positively conservative. Even a tad disapproving, though I guess with good reason.

The Doctor didn’t steal the Gem of Niag, but someone very similar did. Yep, it was of course The Corsair, who stole the Gem for a client. Not for a bad reason for once, but to restore the Gem to its original planet before conquest had seen it taken away. In fact, The Corsair goes so far as to say she was inspired to do this because of The Doctor herself, and her ‘shining sense of responsibility’, her ability to adventure yet leave everything better than she found it. Lovely. But, as The Doctor quickly works out, merely a way to try and get some help with something. The Doctor is used to being the manipulator, not the manipulated. Still, she can’t resist a challenge and, despite obvious misgivings and a feeling that perhaps The Corsair hasn’t been completely above board, The Doctor decides to help. I think we all know where this is going, right?

This was a fun issue, even though not a whole lot happened. It felt like a TV script, where two top actors act each other off the screen. The Doctor and The Corsair are both such strong personalities, with a sort of passive aggressive relationship, that just sitting back and watching the sparks fly is entertainment enough. Jody Houser certainly seems to be having a ball writing these two characters, who reminded me in a way of The Tenth Doctor/ Captain Jack Harkness relationship back in the day. The skill this issue was all in the dialogue, which was superbly done. The art was also excellent, with Roberta Ingranata liking a quick cuts style, with several panels to be read in quick succession at pace to match the speed of the story. It works very well. The layouts are always pleasing on the eye.

A fun issue that was all about establishing relationships, about two Time Lords trying to be the alpha, and ultimately about bad decisions by some, and naivety by others. Expect fireworks next month, and squabbling. Lots and lots of squabbling.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #10 is out now from Titan Comics.

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