Titan's Ninth Doctor Comic - Advance Review!

Titan Books has been nice enough to share an advance copy of each of their Doctor Who comics series' premiere issues, and I've been more than happy to give them advance reviews. Bonus: I've liked each one! We already have ongoing series for the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, and April 1st, Titan releases a 5-issue mini-series starring Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor.

"Weapons of Past Destruction"
Writer: Cavan Scott
(has written or co-written a number of Big Finish audios, including all the ones that have "Project" in their titles)
Artist: Blair Shedd (a Joe Kubert School graduate and one of the few American artists to draw several Doctor Who comics stories)

Unlike 10 and 11, Doctor Who #9 doesn't have the kind of gap in his time line where the comics could explore a new and hitherto unknown companion. So the series looks at one gap we can infer from the television series, and that's when the TARDIS crew would have been composed of the Doctor, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness, just after The Doctor Dances and just before Boom Town. There's room there for them to get chummy and have some of the adventures Rose references to make Mickey jealous (among others). Writer Cavan Scott makes it clear that's where we are with several references to things that happen in The Empty Child et al.

The story he concocts offers up the mystery of a planet gone missing (or destroyed), and two robot(?) factions who, unfortunately, don't give Captain Jack much of a chance to be his lusty, innuendo-crazy self. That's a big missed opportunity as far as I'm concerned, though perhaps the comics are pitched at a generally younger audience, which feels strange to me, given that the show is meant to appeal to all age brackets. There's plenty of humorous banter between the characters nonetheless, plus lots of running and a slightly insane cliffhanger (like all the best Doctor Who stories, eh?). No attempt to characterize Doc9's speech patterns in a Manchester accent, in case you're wondering, which is probably a good idea. You'll just have to add that in. Where the story will take us next is anyone's guess, but it looks like Scott wants to tell a 5-part story over a greater canvas than one location can afford, and it's fun to see the 9th Doctor in locations other than Earth and its orbit (which his series was confined to).
As for Blair Shedd's art, it features strong likenesses that are thankfully not too stiff, and a painterly coloring job that adds a slick sheen to the proceedings. His robot designs are fun, and he's not afraid of odd angles and Frank Milleresque silhouettes to break up the pages. I really do hope he gets to draw more than these few places and things over the course of the next four issues.

And here's hoping this heralds future mini-series starring the other eight Doctors!


Jeff R. said...

Hm. I don't know if we know for certain that 'Rose' takes place immediately after the War Doctor's regeneration. There does appear to be a fair amount of Universal Time separating the new series from the fall of Gallifrey, in fact. Although that gap is probably only filled with companionless/failed companion stories if it exists. (Nine seems immediately familiar with the post-Gallifrey order of things, and has gained or assumed the authority to speak for the Shadow Proclamation...)

Siskoid said...

I don't buy it. In Rose, he sees himself in the mirror for the first time and makes a comment, so he's very new.

We know he's visited various disasters through history - the Titanic, Krakatoa and so on - which could just be a quick tour of the tragedy spots in the wake of the end of the Time War.

Everything else - the Shadow Proclamation, the psychic paper and so on, could all have been previously acquired as early as Doc8, but certainly during the WarDoc incarnation.

Audios, comics and novels how found thinner cracks to wedge loads of stories into, mind you (look at Big Finish's Doc5/Peri stories!), so it's doable whatever I may think.

Siskoid said...

Or how about those who claim he could go have tons of adventures right at the end of "Rose", when he dematerializes then comes back for her?

Jeff R. said...

I don't know...it still feels like the Time War is something at least 30 years in the 'past' and maybe as much as a few hundred, at the start of nuWho. From the point of view of people aware of the existence of time travel and time lords and such, in what used to be Gallifreyan Universal Time. And I don't think that the Doctor ever gets to skip ahead on that timeline but always has to experience it.

Siskoid said...

Then again, the way Borusa so quickly regenerates may mean the Doctor DOES skip ahead (though some skips are chronicled, like before The Face of Evil).

Since we don't return to Gallifrey (and can't) after the Time War, it's really not possible to know how long ago it was from the Doctor's point of view. He's still distraught over what happened, and all other time sensitive creatures are on their own time line somewhere, and know when the Time War INTERSECTED with their time. It would have lasted longer than their own experience and not touched them at every point.

Craig Oxbrow said...

And of course it's possible he visited the Titanic and Krakatoa later (from his perspective)...

LiamKav said...

In the pages of Doctor Who Monthly there was a plan to show the Eighth Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth. It had RTD and the BBC's blessing. The hitch came about when the writers wanted the Ninth Doctor to continue with Destari (one of Eight's companions), and the BBC were insisting that Rose was the only companion allowed to travel with the Ninth Doctor. I guess that as part of the relauch they were treating Rose as equally important a component of the show as the Doctor, which I can understand. That's just my guesswork behind the reasoning, but it did allow Moffat to sneak in the War Doctor ten years later...

Anyway, I don't think that rule will still be in effect, but it's interesting that they went with Rose. I guess she's just too tied to the Ninth Doctor.

As to the whole "he popped off and had a million adventures during the final scene of 'Rose', I've never bought it. I think it shows more long term thinking that the Doctor ever does. If he is capable of thinking 'why don't I go back and try and convince that girl from before who wouldn't come', he'd be just as well going back and picking up Sarah Jane or someone else."

Siskoid said...

I think Rose's presence is just as much a result of this being a mini-series and not an ongoing. With 10 and 11, they've got new companions so they can explore new dynamics and grow the universe a bit more. There's no time in a 5-issue mini to introduce a new companion and tell a meaningful story with it (presumably).


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