AUTHOR: JODY HAUSER | ART: RACHAEL STOTT | PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS | FORMAT: PAPERBACK | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Fans of the latest incarnation of TV’s fearless Time Lord adventurer will feel at right at home with this bright, colourful, breezy space romp in which Jodie Whittaker’s thirteenth Doctor gurns her way through a perfectly pleasant time-travel adventure involving a nasty alien collector. Those who like their Doctor Who with a bit more edge and excitement might, as with the current version of the TV show, be inclined to look elsewhere for their thrills.
A New Beginning is very safe and anodyne, Doctor Who with its claws fully clipped. In the far future the Doctor and her “fam” (grit those teeth!) – Yaz, Ryan, and Bradders off The Chase - are watching the light display generated by some duelling sentient nebulae. A strange phenomenon brings them into contact with a couple of temporal scientists whose experiments with a primitive form of time travel have led them into enslavement and they find themselves travelling the Universe collecting trinkets for the pleasure of a giant alien who calls himself The Hoarder. But the pair try to draw the line at his request to capture children who he intends to imprison as hostages for extortion and blackmail purposes. But wait, here comes our rainbow-coloured Doctor with her three spare part companions (they’re generally as useful here as they are on TV) to save the day with a brisk wave of her sonic screwdriver and few glib quips and jokes.
A New Beginning is terribly unexciting stuff. As with too many episodes from the most recent series there’s no real sense of danger, no sense of stakes – high or otherwise – and a real sense that the story makes no attempt to make the most of the potential offered by its comic strip format where, let’s face it, the Universe is the limit. There’s nothing especially wrong with A New Beginning but precious little to particularly recommend it. It’s briskly written – Hauser has perfectly captured the rhythms of the core character relationships and the off-hand way they speak – and Rachael Stott’s art is terrific, catching the likenesses of the core cast with almost uncanny realism. Whittaker’s Doctor is astonishingly lifelike even down to her tendency to grimace, and her dialogue sticks firmly to the ‘goofy, wacky, vaguely portentous’ style of the character we’ve seen on TV since she first appeared last October.
But it’s all a bit ‘so what?’ to the extent that it’s not bad, it won’t frighten the horses; it’ll briefly entertain those who find bland stuff like this endearing or engaging. It’s stripped-down Doctor Who with Titan Comics disengaging from the show’s fan-pleasing mythology much as the TV series has done and, also like the TV series, it’s not yet found anything particularly interesting or exciting to do with what’s been left behind.