Doctor Who: THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR Year 2, #2 Review @ComicsTitan - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR Year 2, #2 Review @ComicsTitan

Tony prepares for a meeting.

Written by Jody Houser.
Drawn by Roberta Ingranata.
Coloured by Enrica Angiolini.
Worlds, as vintage Hollywood sci-fi would have us believe, occasionally ‘collide’ – the pathway of everything we’ve known and understood gets interrupted not with a polite tap on the shoulder or a nice cup of tea, but with a wallop and a what-the-hell.

Year 2, Issue #2 of Titan Comics’ Thirteenth Doctor adventures though asks us to wonder. If you’ve, perhaps, occasionally done it before, does it have to be a whacking great collision when the here-and-now meets the there-and-then? Can it not be something simple, a trail of breadcrumbs leading to a nice cup of tea? Can it be something as simple as an error made and then dutifully, honestly explained?

Quite how you get World A and World B to interact depends more or less on how you write it. Jody Houser here gives us two collisions for the price of one – one involving tea and a sit-down, thank you very much, and one involving a gamble taken, and understood, and met with a familiar sense of heroism.

It’s overstating it to say that that’s all that happens in this issue – there’s action enough towards the end of this instalment. But a large proportion of the pages in Issue #2 are taken up with getting the worlds of the Tenth Doctor and the Thirteenth not so much to collide as to interface together with minimal ruction or rupturing of the fabric of space-time.

With Thirteen’s Fam on stakeout duty, following the Tenth Doctor for a second day, and that long-coated Doctor finally starting to get some proper signals on his time-travel detecting device that eventually goes ding, there’s quite the significant danger of collision – with rare and notable exceptions, the Tenth was never a Doctor to especially avoid confrontation, especially when he felt like people were following him unjustly or cramping his style. Forward then, PC Khan, to at first lie her public-calming face off, and eventually to come clean in a fairly spectacular fashion and in the nick of time when it turns out that although the Weeping Angels zapped the Tenth Doctor back to London in 1969, at least a handful might already have been there, or might, just conceivably, have followed him, complex space-time event as he is.

Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Doctor, arguably needing to refine her Big Girl’s Book Of Espionage techniques after trying to spy on Martha by the expedient of crouching behind a pillar box, comes increasingly clean – when it turns out Martha’s clothes shop has been closed for the day after a break-in, and her colleague and friend, Justine, hasn’t shown up for work, the two go for tea and a chat, and Thirteen explains who she is, as much as she knows about why she’s here, and that clearly, if there’s Weeping Angel activity in 1969 London, they’re responsible for the spate of missing persons cases Janice noted when they first met. Martha, with her long history of accepting impossible things before breakfast in the Doctor’s company, believes her without too much fuss, even to the point of asking whether she herself dies while fighting baddies at her Doctor’s side. Thirteen, probably in defiance of all kinds of temporal laws, actually answers her, although for balance, she tells her nothing about the Year of the Master, the hardship, the trauma that her family will suffer by being at the eye of the storm of the Master’s savagery and desolation. Because, sure, spoilers.

When the two return to Martha’s shop though, one thing in particular is notable. The police have gone. Any gawkers or would-be shoppers have gone. And one other important element has also disappeared. An element that makes what’s going on in London in 1969 more interesting and complex than just an outgrowth or revisiting of the events of Blink. That said, when Yaz introduces herself to the Tenth Doctor and the worlds come perilously close to collision, Graham and Ryan join the gang – just in time for peril and a Tenth Doctor catchphrase.

While as we say, most of the story-time in this issue is taken up with the gentle introduction of the Thirteenth Doctor’s world into the Tenth’s, there’s an upturn in the drama of both story-threads towards the end that on the one hand re-introduces the Angels to the scene, and on the other seriously suggests that they’re not the only game in old London town. While the first might have been expected given that we’re invading the run-time of the on-screen story of the Angels, the second, and its consequences, are especially interesting, drawing us on and making us want to keep turning pages and hang about our comic-book provider of choice, making the place look untidy until Issue #3 arrives. Jody Houser’s done a good job over the first two issues of 2020 – setting us up for a multi-Doctor adventure, inserted into the unseen business of Blink (and, not for nothing, making us want to watch that stand-out episode again), and here, taking us by the hand and walking us through some of the ideas that a multi-Doctor episode will usually contain – the meeting of older Doctors with younger companions and vice versa in particular. In essence, in character terms the stage is all but set for an Issue #3 meet-up of the Doctors and the inevitable redecorating gag, the ground prepared rather more thoroughly for that meeting than is usually the case on-screen, so as to bring in any casual readers who might not understand how such a meeting would be possible. Their concerns and confusions are dealt with in this issue, by virtue of neither the Fam nor Martha having experienced such a meeting before, and asking all the right questions to get to grips with the idea.

In terms of the art, two issues in it would be misleading to say there’s been a dramatic set-piece – the art has more or less kept pace with the thrumming heartbeat of the story, worlds not colliding but sliding gradually one into the other. That said, some of the backgrounds are still gorgeous – weirdly, Thirteen’s Tardis seems to work better in two dimensions than three! – and there is one visual shock-moment at the cliffhanger of the issue, as at least one of the main villains in revealed in a somewhat signature pose, but with colour choices that punch up the terror of its sudden appearance.

The result is a comic-book that mostly focuses on preparing both the Time Lords and companions for an upcoming pooling of resources and intellects, while, at least in one thread, deepening the mystery of what’s going on for us. There’s more here than initially meets the eye, and while much of the issue is taken up with static chat and biscuits, it weaves the implications of danger subtly round our heads in one of its threads, while staking its claim to an action cliffhanger in the other. If you’re two issues in, the chances are high that Houser, Ingranata and Angiolini have done enough by the end of this issue to make you want to read the third issue, and the fourth. The high-concept multi-Doctoring here has been neatly strung out while the hows, the whats and the who-nows have been gone through. While the Thirteenth Doctor is pondering on new and deepening complications, the Tenth ends this issue defending the Fam from a brash, sudden enemy, each working in their own signature way towards a collision we know is coming. It will be fascinating to see how these two Doctors, so reportedly similar, react when finally brought together and forced to face the reality of whatever is really going on in London, 1969.

When’s Issue #3 out again?...

Issue #2 of The Thirteenth Doctor Year 2 is out now. Issue #3 is published Wednesday March 4th.

Tony lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at

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