06th Nov2018

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

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So following on from the Thirteenth Doctor #0 issue, which was really good and should be sought out if you missed it, and of course a handful of episodes of the TV show, we finally get the first issue of The Thirteenth Doctor ongoing series. Although all still a little new, we at least now know a little about The Doctor and her new companions Ryan, Yaz, and Graham. We also know this Doctor’s thing. Every Doctor of course has a thing. Matt Smith’s Doctor was quirky. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was grumpy. Tom Baker’s was eccentric. Jodie Whittaker’s is…friendly. And sociable. In fact, this Doctor is the polar opposite of virtually all her predecessors in that she loves companionship. Which is nice. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is The Doctor’s love of exploration and discovery.

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1 kicks off with a bizarre heist at an art museum, between two ‘thieves’ who seem woefully incompetent, and also seem to be from the future, this being 1999. The Doctor , meanwhile, is in 3912, showing off to her new companions by letting them observe sentient nebulae. This is until Graham observes a portal with a grasping hand reaching out, something that both we and The Doctor have seen before. It evaporates before Ryan can grab the hand. The Doctor remembers seeing the portal in her previous incarnations, and devises a way to try and predict where it will next appear, something that involves dragging her companions all over time and space chasing it down.

Back to those two scientists, and it seems they are procuring things under duress for a particularly nasty piece of work. One of the scientists seems to be sick, and needs the medicine that the big baddie can supply, though clearly will only supply in return for valuables, judging by the huge piles of booty everywhere. Back to The Doctor, and she has chased down the portal to an exact time and place. This time when it appears, Ryan grabs the hand immediately, joined by Yaz, and they manage to pull out the person inside. Turns out to be the male scientist from earlier. How and why did he get there from where he was earlier? He is wearing a sabotaged vortex manipulator, The Doctor observes, a crude time travel device. His mystery will have to wait for another day, as The Doctor and her merry band are suddenly surrounded by soldiers, who announce they are now prisoners of The Grand Army of the Just.

Talk about getting out of the blocks running, this is a both a perfectly weighted Dr Who story by Jody Houser, and a great introduction to the characters, to the new group ‘vibe’ the TV show has. Individual character development will come later, but this was a great start. Houser seems to be having a ball writing this, and she puts exactly the right dialogue, the right turn of phrase, into The Doctors mouth. Rachael Stott is an artist I like, though to date have found her a little hit and miss on occasion. Here, though, she delivers a superb job, with great character likenesses (especially Jodie Whittaker), some lovely large panels and spreads (the double page spread on Pages 13 and 14 is lovely stuff), and a love letter of a panel to the TARDIS on Page 18. Great layouts and panel choices throughout. Great colours as well by Enrica Eren Angiolini, which really bring out the art.

This is as good a Doctor story as I have read in the last year. Houser is pressing exactly the right buttons, and Stott is drawing the hell out of everything. I can see the two are going to keep egging each other on creatively, which is obviously a good thing. Although The Doctor already has three companions, this book shows that, really, with Jody Houser and Rachael Stott, she actually has five.

***** 5/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1 is releasesed tomorrow, Wednesday November 7th, from Titan Comics

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