By Jody Houser, Rachael Stott, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Viviana Spinelli, Giorgia Sposito & Adele Matera
Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as The Doctor is already proving to be something that’s adored by both fans and critics alike, so for those who can’t get enough of The Thirteenth Doctor, in step Titan Comics with a fun series opener that fans of the show will adore. It pits the current #TeamTARDIS of The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham against a mystery that involves time-travelling thieves. It’s an interesting concept – if you had a vortex manipulator that could travel anywhere in time and space, it’s hard not to imagine that the temptation to steal stuff would be hard to resist – even if Perkins and Dotor Shulz may not be working all-too willingly for a treasure-hungry Tyrant, and The Thirteenth Doctor does an interesting job at establishing these new characters, whilst keeping most of the attention on the TARDIS crew.
Writer Jody Houser manages to make the most out of the anticipation that has been building to this release with a series of adventures called The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor that featured on the previous incarnations of The Doctor, culminating with a prequel #0 issue, but they are not required reading for newcomers who perhaps missed out on them and are looking for a place to start afresh with Who canon. It’s a lot of build-up but for a change of this magnitude in Doctor Who’s history, it’s almost required, especially when this issue reveals what has been trying to contact The Doctor through the previous one-shots. Even though there has only been a few episodes with The Thirteenth Doctor Houser nails her mannerisms and personality, and what is always important in a tie-in comic, artist Rachael Stott and colourist Enrica Eren Angiolini do an excellent job at bringing her to life.
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Stott and Angiolini do make an incredible pair on the artistic front with all of time and space to flesh out. The setting of an alien world allows them to have free reign to the landscape with Angiolini (who has support from Viviana Spinelli) really making the most out of the colours of the alien world that the Doctor’s crew find themselves on. The TARDIS console too is impeccably recreated in stunning detail, and if possible it’s just as stunning as it is on screen, capturing that alien and mystical feeling sometimes moreso than the show. It’s also important to note that Giorgia Sposito and Adele Matera do step in to do pages fourteen and fifteen, but there is no noticeable change as it flows really nicely.
The issue does an effective job at presenting what should be an interesting arc, with Hauser going big as to be expected. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the comics writers can touch on classic Doctor Who villains before the show does, and how they handle it – as the show has devoted time to entirely new creations for its first season with Jodie Whittaker. Will Yaz, Graham and Ryan’s first encounter with the Daleks or Cybermen be on the page? It’s hard to call at the moment, and it doesn’t look likely in this first arc. And one thing that looks positively interesting is the possibility of a multi-Doctor crossover in the future, given their popularity with Titan, it’s hard not to imagine something like this would appeal to them.
But for now, it’s the Thirteenth Doctor show. And Jody Hauser’s series has, like Whittaker, hit the ground running.