It’s always been a big regret for fans that Christopher Eccleston made just 12 episodes as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor. Thanks to the folks at Titan Comics, however, the Ninth Doctor now lives once again in his own ongoing series of timeline-hopping comic strip adventures.
This second volume picks up from where the first volume left off, with the Doctor, Rose and Jack travelling the universe – with the vague mission of locating any artefacts left over from the Time War and to find Jack’s missing memories (as mentioned in his debut TV story ‘The Empty Child’). As that synopsis suggests, these comics are not afraid to dabble with continuity – in fact, they are positively doused in it. In the two story arcs that comprise this collection, one sees the return of an old enemy – the Slitheen - and the other the return of an old friend (or several).
If this all sounds like the comics disappear up their own casual nexus then, don’t worry, writer Cavan Scott keeps things breezy and fun, with his fast-paced plotting and Russel T. Davies-esque dialogue. This trio of TARDIS travellers was always a delight on the show, and their camaraderie is well replicated here. Another nice touch is that the phrase ‘Bad Wolf’ is hidden throughout, just like it was in Eccleston’s tenure on TV.
Both story arcs (as well as the one-off special that kicks off the collection) are well worth your time. ‘Doctormania’, in particular, has a great set-up; the TARDIS lands on a planet where the Doctor – or rather his mysterious double – is the star of his own TV show called ‘Doctor Who?’ As could be expected, there is a hefty dollop of fourth-wall breaking going on here with an affectionate swipe at the Doctor Who fandom to boot.
‘The Transformed’ takes the TARDIS to San Francisco where the population are developing superpowers, in a story that makes use of the unlimited SFX budget of a comic. Meanwhile, a post-Tennant era Mickey Smith needs the Doctor’s help. Pairing the Ninth Doctor up with the older action-hero Mickey is a terrific idea, though Scott does have to jump through hoops to keep the timeline intact. Plus, it ends on an exciting tease for the third volume, with an unexpected appearance from some beloved classic series characters…
Brought to life with some great artwork from Adriana Melo and Cris Bolson, Titan’s The Ninth Doctor Volume 2 is a must-read for any fan of one of the shortest-lived Doctors ever. Simply put, it’s – dare we say it – fantastic.
DOCTOR WHO: THE NINTH DOCTOR VOL. 2 / WRITER: CAVAN SCOTT / ARTISTS: ADRIANA MELO, CHRIS BOLSON / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: 17TH JANUARY