As an unabashed Whovian, I was beyond ecstatic when Titan Publishing emailed me to ask if I'd like a review copy of the new [Doctor Who](series:200668) comics they're unveiling. The comics follow the continuing (non-canon) adventures of Timelords Ten and Eleven, creating a fantastic way to keep the adventures going with our beloved David Tennant and Matt Smith. Did I want to review them? Uh, YEP.
Unfortunately, I can't post any actual panel images of the comics (that was a definite no-no, I was informed), but I can at least give you some of the variant covers, the gist of the stories, and my overall impressions.
So let's start with the Tenth Doctor, shall we?
Elena Casagrande is the main artist, and she manages to nail Ten's "sticky-uppy" hair and gawky, geeky stride with whirling greatcoat in style. Alice X. Zhang, likewise, gets Tennant's likeness down cold in the beautiful regular cover. Again, I unfortunately can't show it to you, but the image is perfect, capturing Ten's "this is serious business" face.
You know, this one:
The artwork feels a little loose at times, with faces sometimes blurring and feeling a bit indistinct, but there's a delightful panel in which Ten, in his very Ten-ish way, is wandering around, oblivious to people fleeing around him as he tries to get his timey-wimey device to go "Ding!" properly.
Writer Nick Abadzis also gets a world of credit for nailing the Tenth Doctor's rambling speech and verbal tics, an impressive feat to do in speech bubbles. And ramble, he does, to hilarious effect. Reading Abazis' dialogue is to hear Tennant's voice in your head, babbling away about how very clever he is and monologuing himself silly.
The story itself is a bit oddly paced, with quite a bit of time devoted to building up the Doctor's new companion, a Hispanic girl from New York named Gabriella, who, like many of the Timelord's companions, dreams of doing something more with her life. Through a number of run-ins with one another, when a demon-like creature starts haunting her neighborhood during the week of the Day of the Dead, Gabi is sucked into the chaos and becomes the Doctor's sidekick.
But the background of New York City is an interesting setting, and I have to wonder if it's meant to tap into the rapidly-growing demographic of Hispanic comic book readers. It's an entertaining story, but the real strength of it is Abadzis' dialogue, which will put a delighted smile on any Whovian's face.
The Eleventh Doctor's comic is definitely far more...Eleventh-y than is Ten's (naturally). While Ten's comic was a slightly darker subject matter with a bit more pathos, Eleven's story deals with, well...a giant, rainbow-colored alien dog looking like a cross between a Muppet and a Chinese luck dragon parade puppet. And the dog eats feelings - negative ones.
Writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams also do a deft job of capturing Eleven's personality and tone, more persnickety and blunt than his predecessor: The first words he ever says to his future companion, a down-on-her-luck London woman named Alice Obifune - as he sprints past chasing the dog - are, "Well, don't just STAND there with your face hanging out! RAINBOW DOG! Come on, we're losing him!" and with that, the chase begins. You can't help but laugh, as, just as it is when reading Ten's story, you read all of the dialogue in Matt Smith's fussy, exasperated tone.
You know, this one:
Just like with the artwork for Ten, the panel artwork for Eleven (done by Simon Fraser) can be a bit muddled, but it captures the zany, madcap feel that permeated throughout so much of Smith's run as the Eleventh Doctor, and the cover art, also by Zhang, is equally as stunning. It's a light-hearted story that is far more fast-paced than Ten's story, which, if you think about it, is appropriate for each Doctor.
All in all, whether a Tennant fan or a Smith fan, the comics are WELL worth checking out if you're a Whovian like me.
Want to buy them? Click the link!
And don't forget to check out the Doctor Who Comics panel at SDCC today at 3PM PST!
For more of our SDCC coverage, head do our SDCC 2014 page!