Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Series 10, When Dr Who gets Woke

DrWhoMarthaJones

Since it returned after a decades absence from television, Doctor Who has become a pop culture giant for sci-fi fans across the world. Under the guidance of showrunner Russell T Davies, the show gained huge emotional depth and sly relevance with its depiction of queer characters like Captain Jack Harkness or Cassandra. In 2005, this was ahead of its time.  Under Steven Moffat’s purview, the show has repeatedly come under criticism for its depiction of female or POC characters. This season has finally righted the show in more ways than one… Continue reading Series 10, When Dr Who gets Woke

Doctor Who The Four Doctors Review

320471._SX640_QL80_TTD_By Paul Cornell, Neil Edwards, Ivan Nunes, Richard Starkings, Marc Ellerby, Jimmy Betancourt,  Neil Slorance, Colin Bell, Rachel Smith

Titan’s crossover event of 2015 is collected in its entirety for Whovians to enjoy. So how does it stack up?

Compared to Prisoners of TImeThe Four Doctors is the most ambitious Doctor Who story I’ve read in comics. It makes numerous references to classic stories pre and post 2005 revival, and uses them to the fullest to enhance the story.

Paul Cornell has a great handle on each Doctor’s personality and relationship with their respective companions, as well as what story beats make Doctor Who enjoyable.

Cornell frames the beginning of the story with the War Doctor helping to destroy a Dalek ship alongside his allies the Voord. As the Doctor examines the ship for resources, the Voord question if the strength they’ve gained from fighting in the Time War will be undone after its conclusion by the Time Lords. The War Doctor gives his best non-answer, having more pressing concerns and trying to placate the Voord. Flash forward to long after the Time War, Clara is traveling with the 12th Doctor and discovers an event that will end the Universe involving the Doctor and his two previous incarnations. Trying to prevent this with the 12th’s knowledge, she travels to 1923 Paris, France to enlist the 10th and 11th Doctor’s companions, Gabby and Alice. Like all great time-travel stories, Clara ends up bringing about the very events she tries to avoid. The Doctors do come together, try to save the Universe and end up causing it’s destruction. With the help of their companions, they get a second (and third chance) and win in the end. They’re plenty of surprises along the way, creating the most intricate time-travel story I’ve seen since Rian Johnson’s Looper.

Handling the majority of art duties, Neil Edwards creates maybe the most “epic” looking DW comic I’ve seen yet. Each Doctor stands posing heroically against wide expansive backgrounds, and the TARDIS control rooms are rendered with a huge birds-eye view. Edwards has the difficult job of drawing not one, not two, but over four Doctors. It’s one that carries high standards and at times he doesn’t live up to it. Many times the 10th and 11th Doctors have almost the same face or bone structure, despite being portrayed by different actors on the show. It stands out even more when he creates splash pages rendering each Doctor in glorious, photographic detail. He has so much to draw in this series, so its a minor thing if certain characters share the same face. He excels at drawing the companions and making them distinct from each other in size, height and age, which helps develop out three female leads that occupy important roles in the comics right now. Seeing that Alice Obefune’s clothing is baggier than other companions, or that Clara is the shortest companion are little details that add to the visual storytelling and also add to the characters themselves.

Proving art for the backmatter stories, Ellerby, Slorance and Smith illustrate humorous little tales of the Doctors trying to one-up each other or every one of his companions having a self-help meeting to deal with the various issues of time-traveling with a near-immortal alien. Ellerby’s stories in particular are little moments set before, during and after the main story to explain how plot-twists happened. It’s an effective device, that adds levity the story and fills in the blanks of the plot.

Overall, The Four Doctors is a story full of twists, Easter eggs, and timey-whimey science. It’s more creative and engaging than the last great Doctor Who crossover and sets a standard for the rest of Titan’s output with the license. While the book has some minor flaws (in art, continuity bugs in accordance with the show’s), it is an enjoyable read and one of those rare event comics that lives up to its hype and purpose.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Disclosure: Publisher Titan Comics provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site and publisher or agreement on the review’s content.

Doctor Who The 10th Doctor Year Two #4

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By Nick Abadzis, Leonardo Romero, Arianna and Azzurra Florean, Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Someone or something is abducting the ancient ancestors to the Human Race and one lone caveman named Munmeth aims to do something about it.

After being turned down by the only neighboring tribes that are still around, Munmeth runs across Gabby and an unconscious Doctor in need of help. After the Doctor recovers, Munmeth takes him and Gabby along on his quest to find the missing Neanderthals only for each of them to be abducted along the way. Gabby is separated from the others and meets someone who strongly resembles a more evolved Munmeth on a spaceship.

The cold open with Munmeth I found somewhat dull in his narration of events and a lack of tension in his allies rejection to his pleas for help. Also, the way the Doctor recovers so easily after some basic treatment of herbs seems like a stretch. Which may fit in with the way 10th Doctor stories worked in the show when he was around, it’s hard to be sure. Rarely did it seem like he faced danger or injury in most episodes. Gabby herself has an interesting time adjusting to Munmeth in that she knows as a Neanderthal he will face extinction to Homo Sapiens despite all his positive traits. Which leads to one problem I had with the issue, scientific accuracy. Granted I don’t know much about prehistoric human history so I had to Google search if Hyenas and Wooly Mammoths existed at the same time (they did) but I had trouble believing that Munmeth was what a “Caveman” should look like. I wasn’t expecting Fred Flintstone, but maybe darker complexions, larger jaws and hands and more body hair. Of course Doctor Who isn’t always accurate in the details, but they do try at times. For now, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Abadzis that he did his research for the script. It was also a nice touch having the TARDIS neural link fail to translate some of the words Gabby used with Munmeth since he would have no equivalent context to understand them.

Art-wise, Romero does a solid job on pencils in drawing early humans along with a Mammoth and spaceships. Some figures in the distance can seem alittle too vague, but he uses good technique in storytelling. Romero stays consistent with drawing the human form, and their clothes and weapons. It may look like something out of 10,000 BC but the art doesn’t suffer. On color, both Arianna and Azzurra Florean do a good job of conveying the winter like environment as well as the rocks, trees and brush in the backgrounds. I sort of wish half the spaceships didn’t look so phallic, but if the flying saucer design works then I guess a pointed rod with a cylindrical base would too. I’m looking forward to see what else this art team can do when more aliens are thrown into the story.

Overall, this is a decent Doctor Who story that is a little light in delivery. The ingredients are there, but it doesn’t surpass some of the other DW comics that are also coming out. Then again, it’s nice to see the Doctor traveling to location that’s not a space-ship in the far future and fighting some elemental creature. Since this is the first installment of a two-parter, there is potential for the next chapter to be more exciting.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Disclosure: Publisher Titan Comics provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site or publisher or agreement on the review’s content.

Dr Who The 12th Doctor Year Two #1

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By Robbie Morrison, Rachael Stott, Ivan Nunes, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt

“Clara Oswald and the School of Death”. Much better than the last couple of DW stories I’ve read.

Clara is searching for one of her former coworkers who transferred to a school in Scotland and is joined late by the Doctor. Not much is revealed about the threat they face, other than it involves a remote location cut off by high tides and slimy aliens that burst out of glowing green eggs.

Morrison has found the best timeline for him to write the 12th Doctor, in a middle-ground early in the latest season. The Doctor is strutting around in his hoodie and plaid pants, Sonic Sunglasses ready to go. Morrison also takes advantage of his tendency to forget people he meets to possibly seed a future conflict. Morrison nails the voices of the Doctor and Clara at this point in their lives. He also gives the story that little spark, the thing that makes itfeel more immersive and I can easily see this as an actual plot in the show.

Rachael Stott is the new artist on the book and together with Ivan Nunes’ colors, make it a visually pleasing one. She nails the characters expressions and really makes the Scottish locals seem real. Stott does a great job at drawing the furniture and architecture in the book. As a side note, the Doctor’s outfit is almost spot-on. It’s a tiny thing, but always nice to see done. His plaid pants are more of a darkish green, but blue is usually chosen when the actual color is too hard to replicate (a multi-patterned coat for instance).

Overall, a promising start and an entertaining issue. The cast is well-established, the villain(s) are teased in just the right way and the art is great. This is probably the most well-rounded out of the 3-4 Doctor Who comics that Titan is publishing every month, which is good because it is operating under the most “constraints” in terms of following the show’s story-line so close after its ended.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Disclosure: Publisher Titan Comics provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site or publisher or agreement on the review’s content.

Review of Dr Who The 11th Doctor Year Two #4

DrWho11Y24

By Rob Williams, Warren Pleece, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt, Hi-Fi, Amoona Saohin, Marc Ellerby

The Doctor is on trial for war crimes, which he probably committed. The story is actually not as dark as it should be with a premise like that.

During the Last Great Time War, the Doctor caused trillions of deaths. However, he’s almost certain that he didn’t cause the deaths of a particular species whose last collective action is to kill him, or at least try to put his War Doctor incarnation on trial.

The (11th) Doctor takes a group of companions on a trip to one of his past battles, looking for clues as to how the events in the present were caused by the past.

Rob Williams uses this issue to flesh out the ‘timey-whimy’ aspects of the show like the Time-Lock that exists around the entirety of the events of the Time War, preventing anything from getting into it. While the show has proven that you can in fact get in and out of it, Williams plays up the mystery of how a companion of the War Doctor could be interacting with the current Doctor. He also plays up the Doctor’s anxiety and guilt over his past actions in how he treats his companions, even Alice whom he has recently invited to travel with him. Alice, to her credit, calls the Doctor out on his poor treatment of her. It feels as though Williams is conscious of the criticisms the show is facing right now and adapting them to his own take on the Time Lord.

The art by Warren Pleece starts off well enough, with a rough and sketchy style helping to illustrate the kinetic movement of the story. However, as he goes on he makes some odd anatomy choices such as human heads that are perfect circles or the Doctor’s head being so big it looks like his skull is the height of two human sized ones stacked on top of each other. Its only made more jarring as the beginning of the story Pleece illustrates the human form, while imitating the facial appearance of the actors who played the previous Doctors, in a very faithful manner. Aside from that, he manages to make the backgrounds very detailed and full of objects that look like they were props stolen from the show. The old-school Cyberman is a nice easter egg for the story.

Overall, a nice 11th Doctor story with some spotty art in places, a cliffhanger with real promise and a dream of mine to see realized. The back-up story by Marc Ellerby is a cheeky short about the Christmas Specials that by their nature feel sometimes tired. Combined with the main story, this issue satisfies most of the itches a Whoivan has for the Doctor in comic form.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent