We are one month into the Eleventh Series of Doctor Who and the first full issue of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor arrives in stores later this week. Given the quality of Titan Comics’ output in general, and their Doctor Who line of comics in specific, it will surprise no one that Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1 is, in a word, fantastic. With a creative team led by Mother Panic author Jody Houser and long-time Doctor Who artist Rachael Stott, how could this issue be anything but amazing?
The title page provides those unfamiliar with the show and the current season all the information they need to come on-board. How The Doctor is a virtually immortal alien who can regenerate into a new body in moments of great stress. How The Doctor pilots a sentient machine called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) that travels through time and space and looks like an old-style British Police Box. How The Doctor has three companions at the moment – rookie cop Yasmin, aspiring mechanic Ryan and retired bus-driver Graham.
Houser’s script introduces our main characters well enough, though the story doesn’t allow for as much introspection as the show, given all the action that must be unpacked. As such, the companion characters come off a little flat, with the story only allowing brief character beats to be displayed, such as Ryan’s love of technology, Graham’s sarcastic humor and Yasmin’s natural compassion. This is a minor thing, however, and the story of this issue is a gripping one that could proudly stand alongside Chris Chibnall’s series so far.
What really sets this comic apart, however, is the artwork. Rachael Stott’s previous work on Doctor Who was widely acclaimed and rightly so, as this issue well proves. Beyond capturing the likenesses of the actors from the show perfectly, Stott is a master of the cinematographic style of drawing comics pioneered by Osamu Tezuka. The angles continually shift, as if captured by multiple cameras with dramatic close-ups and point-of-view shots. This gives the story a perpetual feeling of motion, even in the static scenes of characters merely talking.
Another point worth mentioning in detail is the color art. Primarily the work of Enrica Eren Angiolin (with assists by Viviana Spinelli), the colors in this issue are both brilliant and vivid, attracting the eye and seeming to glow upon the very page. The finished art looks amazing and there’s more than one page that would be worthy of being made into a poster.
While it’s unlikely any but established Whovians would seek this book out, a comic book fan who was totally unfamiliar with Doctor Who could pick up this book and easily come to understand the basic idea of the show and the current series. Those who are already fans of The Doctor will find this to be a perfect continuation of what they’ve come to love about Series 11.