17th Dec2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


So here we are, the cheeky Part 2 of the Dr Who Christmas…er, Holiday, Special (must keep our transatlantic chums onside). Why cheeky? Well, I went into the first one expecting a one and done story, it being an oversized issue and all. That being said, it was a good old yarn, with lashings of festiveness thrown in. If you came in late, basically The Doctor and The Fam all had conflicting memories of visiting an amusement park, which turn out to be falsely implanted. They trace the planet they were on and discover, from an alien called Frizzle, that not only have they done this chasing up before, but for the same reasons. Frizzle’s people are being systematically kidnapped by a mysterious Mr. Henderson, who also seems to be Santa Claus. Or at least a very good lookalike. The Fam investigate and, you guessed it, get captured and locked up in Henderson’s grotto type prison. And they weren’t alone…

So, who was lurking in the shadows? a big monster? a Dalek? The Silence? Nope. An elf called Baxter, holding a candy cane. Oh, and Jeff sent him. He’s also a safety office apparently. Jody Houser really gets this Who insanity, clearly. So, one candy cane rescue later, The Doctor is shown where Frizzle’s people are being kept. They are being used as workers against their will, using the same memory loss technology that was used on The Doctor. While crawling through the air ducts looking for Henderson’s office, Graham asks The Doctor if Baxter’s boss, Jeff, is Santa, because, you know and elf and everything. Her answer is a tad inconclusive. A search of Henderson’s office doesn’t turn up any actual clues, but does turn up one big surprise.

One of the cupboards is much bigger on the inside than it should be from the outside. Time Lord tech? Apparently not, but we have room full of Santa suits and lists with children’s names and ages on them. Weird. Could it be Santa? Actually it’s a lot close than you’d think, but it’s not Santa. It’s the anti-Santa, Krampus. Krampus is a psychic vampire of sorts, feeding off children not in the physical sense but taking their energy through fear. A hundred or more demonic Santa’s on Christmas Eve would release a hell of a lot of psychic energy, and ruin a whole lot of children’s favourite day. Time to save Christmas.

The Doctor luckily has rigged up something to temporarily combat Krampus’s mind control. A fez. No bow tie, but a fez. Love it. The Doctor disables the machine, and everyone is released from the mind control. Krampus is swiftly sucked back into the void, and The Doctor celebrates the victory with…Christmas dinner. With ALL the trimmings. You couldn’t get more Dr Who than a traditional Earth Christmas dinner, on an alien world, in a mock up of Santa’s North Pole, with a mix of aliens and humans. And a speech, about the value of friends. A perfect ending, for a fun Special. Actually, the Epilogue was the perfect ending. Wreath on the TARDIS, a visit to a snowy planet, and leaving a mince pie and a carrot behind. Perfect.

I loved this. Although the story was quite simplistic at heart, and the two oversized specials were perhaps too high a page count for the story they told, the tone was absolutely perfect. There was a perfect blend of Dr Who nods and winks with festive touches and jokes, all held together with Houser’s perfect dialogue and Ingranata’s lovely art. I must say, this is possibly the best issue I’ve seen from Roberta Ingranata anywhere, great layouts and superbly drawn throughout. Thinking about it, what other villain could you logically have had than Krampus in a Christmas story? I also love the fact Santa never actually appeared once, yet is present throughout in both spirit and mood.

I feel like a mince pie after reading that. Job done Jody Houser and Roberta Ingranata. Happy Christmas!

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special #2 is released on December 18th, courtesy of Titan Comics.


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