12th Sep2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #12′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

drwho-13th-dr-12-cover

With me this book has always been a strange one. Although a Doctor Who fan, I didn’t enjoy the most recent Dr Who TV series. I felt the writing was average, I didn’t really take to this incarnation of The Doctor, and I have not really enjoyed The Fam, the companions by committee who just don’t seem that interesting. So, when the book came out my expectations were not particularly high. It says a lot then that Jody Houser has managed to make me care a bit about these characters, and she has shown that written well, in good stories, there are good stories to be told. I’m not sure how well this book is doing sales wise, but it would be a shame if the generally lukewarm reception to the last series affected it negatively. It’s too good for that.

The most recent storyline has been a case in point. We have run into the rather cool Time Lord, The Corsair, with a pirate ship TARDIS. Amazingly, an even more rebellious Time Lord than The Doctor, which is going some, and who makes The Doctor look positively conservative. Which seems to irk her immensely. The Corsair managed to persuade The Doctor to help her with a heist, but one that seemed to be for noble purpose, to free a space whale from captivity. Sadly, The Doctor learns to never trust a chancer, even a supposedly friendly one, and finds that The Corsair was actually working for old foe the Hoarder, albeit unwittingly, who has taken the whale for his collection. Nice, but not as nice as the two Time Lords he has also added.

The first few pages are like those old two hander stage plays, or TV shows, with The Doctor and The Corsair locked up in cage together. Time for a heart to heart, or two hearts to two hearts in the case of Time Lords, with The Doctor probing as to just why this has all happened. Although The Doctor walks a fine line sometimes she inevitably comes down on the right side, The Corsair is the mirror image in that she tends to fall on the more morally ambiguous side of things. So trapped in a deadlock cage, then. Actually, no. The Doctor has been able to escape all along, but wanted The Corsair to wait a bit. Heh.

So, out the cage, but where to now? Firstly, the defenders of the room need to be taken care of, and this is where we again see the differences between the two. The Doctor tries to think her way out, whereas The Corsair jumps straight in and physically fights and defeats them. They complement each other in a strange way. Next, a quick rescue of The Fam, all squeezed into a small cage, and then The Doctor finds a strangely apt way to punish the Hoarder. Remember the Time Agents from the first arc? The Doctor informs them to come and get the Hoarder. So they come, much older than the last time we saw them, to arrest this younger version of the Hoarder than the one they first encountered when they were younger first time round. So, they have arrested him before the first time they actually meet him in their future. I think. He’s nicked though.

All’s well that ends well, and The Doctor and The Corsair part ways. Houser again makes the point, that others have, that the difference between the ‘good’ Doctor and the ‘bad’ Corsair is companionship. When a Time Lord has a companion it tempers them, makes them better, and when they don’t they fall into an emotional detachment that is not healthy for a near immortal. Always loved that aspect of the Time Lords. A nice issue, if not a tremendously thrilling one. The writing was very by the book for Houser, efficient if bland, though it was nice to have the lovely artwork of Rachael Stott back. Seemingly the last issue in this run, I assume it will be back, but if not I think Houser’s done an excellent job with a tricky incarnation of The Doctor.

An enjoyable, if very light, issue. Does what it says on the tin.

***½  3.5/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #12 is out now from Titan Comics.

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