06th Mar2019

‘Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #5’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


Good news all round this issue, as a new story arc kicks off and all the cast and crew are present and accounted for. How often do you see a new book launched with a great creative team, only for that creative team to bugger off after a handful of issues. Well here we are at issue 5, beginning a new story arc, and everything’s in place. I’ll award a star just for that these days. The previous story arc was entertaining enough, and The Thirteenth Doctor certainly shone bright, but I did feel the companions, or The Fam as the Beeb, Titan Comics and presumably Guy Ritchie would have it, were a little shortchanged, so hopefully they’ll have a bit more to do this time out.

Although The Doctor’s face changes, his/her modus operandi rarely does, and as sure as night follows day, an Earth bound adventure follows a space faring one, and the TARDIS this time pitches up in 1500’s Holland. Only it’s not Holland yet, just a territory soon to be in the throes of the Guelders Wars, wars that would see the beginnings of the formation of The Netherlands. All very interesting of course, but not as much as fact that Ryan, Yasmin and Graham are all seemingly fully up on their obscure European wars and fully aware of where and when they are. The Doctor is both bemused and, dare it be said, a tad irritated her surprise has been ruined. It seems a podcast called Hidden Human History is the flavour of the month right now, and everyone is listening to it. Everyone that is except a certain Time Lord that is. Well, she’s usually pretty busy.

As The Doctor mumbles something about real life being better than podcasts, the team go into town. An oddly deserted town, and the people who are there are scurrying around looking pretty scared. They manage to get talking to Magda, after chasing her down, and she reveals they are all trying to escape the soldiers of the Habsburgs, on their way to attack the town. That’s bad enough of course, but it seems The Habsburgs have demons fighting on their side. Not to worry declares The Doctor, they are The Nobility Accountability Committee, and they will investigate and help. Magda decides to stay and help too. Always good at pep talks that Doctor.

Continuing in the fine vein of Monty Pythonesque humour, The Doctor declares to Magda that her sonic screwdriver, or Magical Badness Detector, is detecting a whole lot of badness, and Magda should go. Unfortunately, The Doctor’s pep talk was clearly too good, and Magda insists on staying. She probably regrets that decision when she lays eyes on the group of Stilean Flesh Eaters hiding out in a house. Ugly buggers indeed, as Graham points out. Also, dangerous ones, as The Doctor finds when one puts a big chomp in on one of her arms. That’s going to hurt, Time Lord or not.

A great start to a promising new arc. We know Jody Houser really ‘gets’ this Doctor and companions, but her dialogue especially was top notch this issue. Humorous and fun, yet nicely tied in to the historical adventure the team were experiencing. This is how you combine a Dr. Who adventure with a historical setting, not with the somewhat heavy handed approach of the last series. The balance was perfect. The art was as good as you would expect, with Rachael Stott mixing up her layouts and pacing nicely, and giving us a couple of particularly nice splash pages along the way. A wonderful creative team no question.

The fun continues, as I knew it would. This is a team that love their characters, and it shows in the affection shining through from both the writing and art. If you like fun comics, you’ve come to the right place.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #5 is out now from Titan Comics.


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