By Richard Dinnick, Comicraft’s Sarah Jacobs, John Roshell, Mariano Laclaustra, Giorgia Sposito, Brian Williamson, Ariana Florean, Claudia Ianniciello, Iolanda Zanfardino, Neil Edwards, Pasquale Qualano, Rachel Stott, Fer Centurion, Color-Ice, Carlos Cabrera, Adele Matera, Dijjo Lima & Enrica Eren Angiolini
One of the biggest television events of 2018 is fast approaching, where we witness Jodie Whittaker take the reigns of The Doctor for the first time. So in the build-up to the launch of the TV show, the folks at Titan Comics have decided to go all out with this special zero issue, exploring the life and times of The Doctor over the course of his twelve previous selves, plus The War Doctor, leading up to the Thirteenth, using a framing device of Twelve telling Thirteen what to expect in her new life as The Doctor. It’s a nice primer for fans who may not be well versed in all the Doctors, giving snapshots into their respective lives and using fan favourite companions, and whilst it may be frustrating to have a Thirteenth Doctor comic with barely any Thirteenth Doctor in it, it does enough to get readers all the more hyped for her appearance.
Richard Dinnick has experience with multiple Doctor Who prose works as well as covering The Twelfth Doctor, so he’s no stranger to the universe and is able to develop his knowledge of Doctor Who to great effect. It’s a tribute to the greatness and the everlasting legacy of the character, and Dinnick nails the personality of each and every Doctor. Different phases and expressions are used again that fans recognise from the show, and everything feels natural rather than shoe-horned in.
Most of the companions are present in this book from the older, pre-relaunch series making it a real treat for fans of the classic show. Sarah Jane Smith, Ian and Barbara, Ben, Bessie, Polly, Jami, Tegan, Ace and more are all present here. There’s a distinct lack of companions post-Nine though, with no appearance from Martha, Donna, Clara, Amy or Rory for example. But given how many characters there are in a book with only so many pages, it’s understandable that not every Doctor Who companion is going to make it in.
The artwork changes with the stories going forward, even if there is only one writer, which works in the book’s favour by giving each a distinctive tone. It feels worth mentioning that whilst the artwork for the fourth Doctor is good, it’s just a little out of place for this comic especially when compared to the other art styles, almost too cartoonish in nature. The painted art of the First Doctor’s, meanwhile, was one of the standouts from the book, with Mariano Laclaustra and colourist Carlos Cabrea giving the story an old-school feel that helps embrace the 1960s atmosphere very well. It almost feels disappointing to have it so short. It felt like the more the book progressed, the more vivid the Doctors stories became. For example, The Eleventh Doctor’s story is set largely underwater in one of the more inventive tales, with Dijjo Lima stepping in on colouring duty. At the end of the day though, each Doctor story has their own unique feel, yet one message runs prevalent throughout the book, keeping it thematically linked throughout.
Change should be embraced positively, even though you might not know what it is. It’s a message that the book gets across well, not feeling too preachy, and it’s a positive, upbeat message that fits in well with the show. Change has come. And not a moment too soon.