By Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, Enrica Angiolini, Shari Chankhamma, Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Sarah Hedricks.
Remixes of classic stories are a trendy topic now, especially in the wake of HBO’s Watchmen sticking the landing so hard on HBO, so it’s great to see The Thirteenth Doctor #1 offering a remix on one of the best stories from the Tenth Doctor, but this time putting the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions, Ryan, Yaz and Graham in 1960s England during the time that Ten and Martha were stranded there as a result of not understanding what they were fighting, the Weeping Angels, and being tricked into going back to the past without an easy route home. Eventually rescued by Sally Sparrow in present day England, the series never went fully into detail about their time spent in the 1960s allowing for Jody Houser to have virtually free reign with The Doctor in that period and inject some life into the arc in the form of the thirteenth Doctor, where we get to see how much has changed in three regenerations since.
Houser writes both Ten and Thirteen with skill and experience, nailing both their mannerisms, and although the two Doctors don’t meet this issue, The Doctor decides that splitting up is the best way to go about things and sends her companions after Ten and herself after Martha to follow a lead. It’s a classic Doctor Who set-up, building the atmosphere in the background and taking the audiences right into the atmosphere of the series itself. The team’s personalities are nailed on, and it helps that the companions point out the mannerisms of Ten being similar to Thirteen whilst Thirteen with Martha once again addresses almost immediately a plot thread from the past, by this point, Martha was in love with Ten, but Ten was oblivious and her feelings were unrequited.
The comic nails the look and feel of the 1960s and the style of the era thanks to the colors of Enrica Angiolini (with color flats provided by Shari Chankhamma), with the companions originally dressed for Woodstock but in true TARDIS fashion they end up once more in London. Artist Roberta Ingranata switches between gothic horror and the swinging 60s from one page to the next with effortless ease, making the most of the variety that Jody Houser brings to the table, and letters Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Sarah Hendricks do a good job at bringing the dialogue of Doctor Who to life. Both Tennant and Whittaker’s mannerisms are captured, and the fun that is to be had by pairing Thirteen with Martha for a good portion of the issue with neither knowing the identity of the other is a highlight, with the Weeping Angels taking a relative backseat. Hauser never forgets that this is the Thirteenth Doctor’s comic and not the Tenth’s, and wisely keeps Ten in a supporting role too despite his fan favourite status.
This is the first encounter that the current TARDIS crew have had with the Weeping Angels and it’s always good to see new companions handle famous monsters for the first time. They don’t get much more famous than arguably the best monsters of the post 2005 series, and it’s good to see that Hauser clearly respects the source material on display that Steven Moffat created in his best episode that he’s written for the series thus so far.
Launching year two of the Thirteenth Doctor’s in conjunction with the returning series of Doctor Who that’s airing on BBC proved a wise choice, as this tie-in comic does everything that fans of the show should hope for.