Comic Review: Doctor Who #1 / Written by: Andy Diggle / Art by: Mark Buckingham / Publisher: IDW / Release: Out Now
Whovians recently bid farewell to the Ponds on the Doctor Who mid-series finale, The Angels Take Manhattan, but not everyone was ready to see them go. Luckily for us, the couple’s adventures with the Doctor continue in IDW’s Doctor Who, Vol. 3 #1, written by Andy Diggle, with art by Mark Buckingham.
Doctor Who #1 is the sort of adventure we’ve been missing from the past series and a half of the television show. There’s something delightfully reminiscent of Russel T. Davies’ touch – and the episodes from Steven Moffat’s first series as showrunner – in the Doctor’s excursion into the Victorian era.
The issue itself is structured much like a typical episode of Who. The book opens on a nineteenth century séance, complete with an assistant hiding under a table to creep out the customers. Though the medium is faking it, there’s more to her than meets the eye. We cut away to the Doctor and the Ponds in the TARDIS, where Amy and Rory are sharing a tender moment.
A common complaint amongst fans was that Amy was never given the time to grieve over the kidnapping of her daughter, Melody. Amy’s immediate bounce back to fighting form after the traumatic events of A Good Man Goes to War came off as highly unrealistic, even in a show about a 900 year old time-traveling alien. Here, Amy and Rory are seen coping with the loss of their child as best they can while the Doctor remains cheerfully oblivious.
Team TARDIS make their way to the Crystal Palace for an after-hours tour of the Great Exhibition, where of course, misplaced technology and clever hijinks await. Diggle’s characterizations are spot on and when the Doctor says he’s never wrong, you can almost hear Matt Smith’s voice echoing in your head.
Buckingham’s art is the issue’s most glaring weakness, though it does have its moments of beauty. A lesser dedication to verisimilitude might have benefitted the artwork overall, as one gets the sense that Buckingham is trying very hard to replicate the facial expressions of the Doctor Who cast. Additionally, some panels have an unfinished feel to them as details are traded in for solid blocks of unadorned color.
That being said, the book’s minor flaws are easy to overlook as the story is so very Doctor Who. The series’ launch is perfectly timed, as Whovians settle in for the show’s hiatus and it’s just what the Doctor ordered to get us through the long wait.