What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It’s a bit of an anachronism to quote in the 1960s but that’s par for the course for the time-traveling alien known as The Doctor and his current traveling companion, British school-teacher Clara Oswald. And their recent adventures thwarting an alien invasion in Sin City have left them both homesick for Dear Old Blighty.
Unfortunately, The Doctor’s time machine – The TARDIS – rarely takes him where he wants to go. Yet it always takes him where he needs to be. And according to The TARDIS where (and when) he needs to be is Derbyshire in the year 1845.
This opinion would surely not be shared by a young lady named Charlotte, who is thrown from her horse after the sudden appearance of The TARDIS in the middle of the road where she’s enjoying a late evening ride. Naturally, The Doctor is all too happy to make amends by seeing Charlotte home and tending to her injuries, even before he discovers that Charlotte is just his kind of person – iconoclastic, a ferocious reader and far ahead of her time.
Alas, The Doctor will have little chance to pursue the new friendship or to show Clara the wonders of early Victorian Derbyshire. For strange business is afoot at North Lees Hall – the home of Charlotte’s guardian, Lord Marlborough. A sleeping sickness has possessed the servants, setting them to wandering at night and attacking their fellows. What is worse is Lord Marlborough cares little for this oddity, instead obsessing over an upcoming party…
Given the wide variety of genres that the whole of Doctor Who has tackled in over fifty years of stories, it proves hard to label anything as a “definitive” Doctor Who story. And don’t for a second think of describing any Doctor Who story as being “typical”! Yet what author George Mann has crafted with this issue – titled Unearthly Things – may well be one of the finest introductions to everything Doctor Who can be in any media – television episode, novel, radio play or comic book.
Simply stated, Unearthly Things is a ripping yarn. The story moves briskly but never feels rushed. The dialogue achieves a perfect balance of humor and pathos. And the hidden alien menace proves alien and menacing once it is no longer hidden, even as The Doctor explains the mystery with a heaping helping of gobbledygook and techno-babble.
Would that the art were up to the task of matching the story! I’ve found Mariano Laclaustra to be the most lackluster of the artists to work on Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor since the series began. Yet this issue represents their best work to date!
I believe that to be entirely due to the efforts of assistant inkers Fernando Centurion and Nelson Pereira. Laclaustra’s previous work was poorly defined and lacked detail past the middle distance. This issue possesses no such problems and a close examination reveals that to be entirely due to the superior inking.
Despite that flaw, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #11 proves to be an enjoyable read. The quality of the script more than makes up for the minor flaws within the artwork. If you haven’t read a Doctor Who comic before or even watched the show, this would be a good place to start.