By Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata & Enrica Eren Angiolini
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #4 concludes one of the most exciting Doctor Who crossovers in quite a while, wrapping up the adventures of the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz in the 1960s whilst in keeping with the canon established in Blink. Jody Houser’s script has nailed the distinctive feeling of pretty much every character; the mannerisms of Ten and Thirteen are spot on and it’s just pure joy watching the pair work together. The companions don’t get as much to do this issue; if only because there’s so many of them, especially with Martha round as well. But the scenes that everyone gets to share together is wonderful, and what’s more, you can totally imagine this being an episode of the show (60th anniversary adaption, anyone?) as artist Roberta Ingranata really captures the likeness of the characters.
Anyone worried that the inclusion of the Autons and the Weeping Angels in addition to the large cast of protagonists would lead to the arc feeling convoluted should rest easy. It’s skilfully paced and addictive reading – capturing a similar pacing structure to the episode of the show. The fourth issue; with zero set-up required, is all about delivering the high stakes concept that would justify the need for the multi-Doctors. It doesn’t feel resolved cheaply even if it’s a foregone conclusion that the group will come out on top by the end – it’s the thrill of reading it that Hosuer manages to keep very much alive
Ingranata’s artwork really captures the style of the characters and delivers some visually striking creative scenes. As usual with this book the moments set inside the TARDIS are where the book really comes to life. Enrica Eren Angiolini’s colours too are spot on – there’s a spectacular moment where the group are escaping in the TARDIS from the Weeping Angels (again) that has the cinematic quality of an episode of the show; and the word cinematic feels really appropriate here.
The book has all the trademarks of The Doctor-Doctor interactions and sets up the next issue with an effective cliffhanger. As always comes with The Doctor meddling in their history, the earlier Doctor learns more about what’s in store and ten’s reactions to seeing The Doctor open the TARDIS with the snap of her fingers is perfectly timed, and the two sharing their love of the word “spoilers” is trademark Who. Can we have a River/13 team-up next please, Titan?
It isn’t the first time that the series has touched upon companions interacting with previous companions and realising that they’re not always going to be travelling with The Doctor forever. The scene between Martha and 13 when Martha realised that she wasn’t around with her packed a powerful punch; as did the fam wanting to return home for a visit to their family. It’ll be interesting to see if Houser revisits this idea further down the line as there’s a lot of potential for the series to continue like this especially as it looks like the next issue is going to continue from where we left off.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor establishes itself as one of the best tie-in comics that fans could wish for; it’s far more than just fanservice and should be considered as every bit important to Who canon as the episodes themselves.