COMIC BOOK REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO: TENTH DOCTOR VOL 1, ISSUES 1 – 5 / AUTHOR: NICK ABADZIS / ARTIST: ELENA CASAGRANDE, ARIANNA FLORIAN / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Titan Comics has made its Tenth 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 the American spelling, unfortunately) that is for younger readers only. Everything is full colour, and stories are accessible to a younger audience though have some dark themes.
Volume 1 sets up a new companion for the Tenth Doctor – Gabriella Gonzalez (Gabby). She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, who works in the family launderette and family restaurant. Gabby has been used in the Doctor Who Legacy Game and is in her late teens, hoping to go to university. This seems to be the audience the story is aimed at.
The first three issues make a long, and somewhat complex, whole in which Abadzis takes time to paint Gabby’s life as the daughter of immigrants and drop in plenty of Mexican culture. Gabby is enamoured of the Doctor and helps him save the world from the Cerebravores – a race of non-corporeal psychic parasites. The fourth and fifth issues tell the story of Gabby’s first trip in the TARDIS and set up an Arts in Space concept centring on the use of block transfer (a reality altering mathematics) for creating art. The first ten pages of issue four are presented in a strange child-like drawing style, presumably to suggest Gabby’s diary. Here we get some of the flaws of these strips – a lot of time is spent getting the ideas right and this feels out of kilter with what seem to be intended to be easy reads and mostly stand-alone issues. The Tenth Doctor is also very talkative, meaning lots of footprint on the page just for his speeches, something that occasionally jars.
The artwork is consistent, the covers are often excellent in their striking simplicity (Issue 5 is a favourite). The stories are authentic in tone and it is nice to have something set outside of London for a change.
Harder work than the Eleventh Doctor titles, they still bring their own rewards.
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