Doctor Who: THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR Year 2, #3 Review @ComicsTitan - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Doctor Who: THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR Year 2, #3 Review @ComicsTitan

It's an all-you-can-slurp buffet. Tony brings his straw.

Written by Jodie Houser.
Drawn by Roberta Ingranata.
Coloured by Enrica Angiolini.

The third issue of this year’s Thirteenth Doctor adventures from Titan Comics is part culmination, part extension of the problems our familiar Tardis Fam are facing back in London in 1969.

For those just tuning in, we’re in the unseen middle bit of Blink, the Tenth Doctor story which introduced a world of fans to the jump-scare possibility of heart conditions, and the moving statues that zap you back in time so they can feed off your life force.

The Angels of course have additional TV form now – they had a highly successful couple of outings during the time of the Eleventh Doctor, a fact which the Thirteenth knows and understands all too well, mentioning her losses to Satan’s Statues in this issue, when neither the Tenth Doctor nor the Angels themselves have any knowledge of what they’ll go on to do, how they’ll slurp the complex space-time event energy of time travellers Amy and Rory Williams and leave them trapped in a past that was long gone before either of them were born. The Thirteenth Doctor has beef with the Angels that the Tenth, while he’s by no means happy about their involvement in his life at this point, can’t even imagine.

In terms of moving the plot along, this issue has one really key scene, with the Thirteenth Doctor and Martha Jones in the clothes shop where Martha’s been forced to work so she and the Tenth Doctor can survive while he builds time-travel detectors that endanger the local chicken population.

Something’s definitely not right down at Martha’s clothes shop. Something’s really, really not right. Fortunately, the Thirteenth Doctor remembers an old trick for dealing with things that go wrong in clothes shops, and she’s able to disarm an otherwise deadly foe, more or less it seems with a heavy burst of sonic nostalgia.

What that scene means though is that there are not just Weeping Angels to deal with, but something else as well. And whichever way you slice it, you have to ask the question why. Why would the Angels have followed the Tenth Doctor to 1969 after zapping him there? Or did they? We know – and at least one of the two Doctors knows – that the Angels love a juicy complex space-time event, that it can keep them going for aaaaages longer than a single, boring human life, all linear and flat and boiled-to-death as they frequently are. Throw a Time Lord at them, and it’s lunchtime. Throw a Tardis their way and they’ll eat for weeks. Possibly – just possibly – throw two incarnations of the same Time Lord in a paradox-risking proximity, and a Tardis at them, and it’s an all-you-can-slurp buffet.

Meanwhile though, the Tenth Doctor is busy saving the Fam from the eyes of an Angel when he backs into a Tardis that isn’t his own – at least, not yet. And yes, we get the meeting of Ten and Thirteen here, with the similarities and differences between them at least broadly differentiated – yes, they share a sense of bright, bouncy exploration, and, lest we forget, a moody side and a tendency to hide their darker emotions from their companions. And yes, if you look at them hard, they’re among the most empathetic of modern Doctors, able to forge bonds with people based not only on their superior intellect or knowledge of the future (which is basically cheating!) but also by understanding how people work – or at least understanding that significantly more that some other Doctors. Nevertheless, the differences between the Tenth Doctor’s sweeping, striding, slappable confidence that he knows the answer to any problem and the Thirteenth Doctor’s marked uncertainty, working the fundamentals of a problem rather than its initial symptoms, make for potential strain if they’re kept together for a significant length of time. Besides, Thirteen thinks Ten as he is in this period in his life – mourning the loss of Rose, refusing to engage with the blatant, obvious love that pours out of Martha or refusing to see it, is a bit of an idiot. If ever you wanted a slate of differences that having ‘a female Doctor’ would bring to the character, they’re more eloquently shown here than they as yet really have been on-screen. The Thirteenth Doctor does her own kind of covering action, but really, she works the deeper, the more fundamental and the more ‘human’ problems in any situation. There’s less braggadocio, and more solving of underlying problems with this no-nonsense, more intuitive version of the Time Lord’s character.

After the incident with Thirteen and Martha in the clothes shop, much of this issue takes place in a fairly static environment on board the Tardis, but as you’d expect when Doctors meet, standing still doesn’t necessarily translate into dullness. Ingranata and Angiolini come into their own here, delivering a Tardis interior that holds the interest of the reader when the renderings of characters become more and more notional, man in long coat and woman in rainbow shirt being about as far as the artwork goes in terms of character definition. Nevertheless, it all looks intensely pretty, because the backgrounds against which Jody Houser’s story unfolds keep us interested and occupied. Meanwhile, for all the fun to be had from the Doctor’s different selves encountering each other, the main story advancement brought into focus by their connection in this issue is that things are bigger and more serious than either has suspected up till now. And while not giving us an especially brass-band bold ending to the issue, Houser, Ingranata and Angiolini do collaborate to leave us on a point of escalation. Unseen, uncertain, but also unnerving, like the Tenth Doctor’s later experiences on Midnight, and arguably also like the Thirteenth’s experiences in Spyfall, something wants in to their safe haven. Something loud and powerful. Something which must be dealt with before Issue #4 will really progress.

There’s a deceptive sense of stillness at work in the issues of The Thirteenth Doctor in 2020 so far. Far more than following on from other incarnations’ explosive pace, the Thirteenth Doctor stands more still, works things out on a deeper level, often while doing a certain amount of foreground sonic-waving almost to meet the expectations of her friends, to project an air of confidence and control while the real work is going on inside her brain. That’s the kind of story this is – advancing by a single incident or two at the most in any issue, the actual volume of Things We know increases significantly nevertheless, deceiving us, leaping forward while standing still. Seeing that energy finally contrasted with the Tenth Doctor’s unstoppable Converse-covered feet, his jittery need to be moving, running, doing something, is both amusing in and of itself, fits the bill for a multi-Doctor story, but as is ever the case when Doctors meet, the dominant energy is always that of the later Doctor. Despite the fact that she’s landed in the middle of his business rather than vice versa, it’s the Thirteenth Doctor’s methodology and pace which dominate this story and its telling so far. While that’s only right and proper, the lengthy spree of ‘staying on board the Tardis, trading information’ that we get in this issue would begin to look stale were it continued far into Issue #4, and would also over-extend the level to which the Thirteenth Doctor herself would be comfortable in inactivity.

By the end of this issue, something wants in. Presumably in Issue #4, the Doctors’ responses to that threat will deliver some dynamic forward motion to push the story wildly forward. Check out Issue #3 and try and beat the Doctors to the punch, before Issue #4 delivers that energy – up till now, the Doctors have been working independently. From here on out, we’re dealing with two Doctors working – as much as is ever possible for different facets of the Time Lord – in harmony. You know you’re not going to want to miss that.

The Thirteenth Doctor Year 2, Issue #3 is released on 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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad