DOCTOR WHO: ELEVENTH DOCTOR VOL. 1, ISSUES 1 - 5 / AUTHORS: AL EWING, ROB WILLIAMS / ARTISTS: SIMON FRASER, BOO COOK, MARC ELLERBY / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Titan Comics has made its Eleventh Doctor comics available in electronic format just in time for Christmas. Each consists of 30 pages, a 24-page story, some miscellaneous title pages and a one-page humor strip (yes it’s American spelling, unfortunately). Everything is full colour and each issue is self-contained though ideas do continue from story to story. It’s aimed at a younger audience, although not to the extent that it should put off adults.
Volume 1 sets up a new companion for the Doctor – forty-year-old Alice Obeifune (now also in the Doctor Who Legacy game), though her age doesn’t have much relevance until later in the run. The idea of a running villain is also introduced in the form of the SERVEYOUinc Corporation and its narrow-minded agent, August Hart. We also get another curious companion introduced later on – ‘60s skiffle musician John Jones who will one day become a cosmic rock god (think Bowie)
As to the individual stories, the first is a simple tale of hunting an alien creature in London and is of interest in the way the brightly-coloured creature contrasts with the drab opening scenes centred on a funeral and the introduction of Alice. The second is set on a fun fair world and introduces August Hart, who already knows them. What arc there is starts here. The style picks up in the third issue with a story told in flashback with the Doctor possessed and being rescued by Alice and a stranger. The stranger is musician John Jones who wandered into the TARDIS from 1962 and will become a rock legend. The final two issues tell a two-part story set on a space station under threat and whose security chief is the same August Hart who they meet again in his future.
Visually the issues are mixed – Boo Cook does a better job of drawing Matt Smith in the last two issues than Simon Fraser, though Simon’s work in the opening scenes of the first issue is powerful and effective. The quality of scripts is good and it feels like real Doctor Who. There are some gripes – the so-called London, 2014 in the first issue seems more like downtown USA than anywhere recognisably British for large periods, and Alice’s age isn’t well introduced. Both flaws are far from fatal.
If nothing else, Titan Comics should be congratulated for the introduction of Alice – the idea of a 900+ year old alien who looks to be in his thirties and a 40+ year old human is a good mix of characters, and it would be nice to have more older companions in the TV run. There’s some genuine moments of comic genius as well with John Jones. The one-page humor strip is, with respect to Marc Ellerby who scripts and draws it, forgettable.In summary, these are Doctor Who in comic form, and something of interest to any fan.