COMIC REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Issue 2

When the Doctor last visited Rokhandi, it was a planet of such stunning natural beauty that an entire solar system had sworn to preserve it. What better place to take new companion Alice Obiefune on her first off-world adventure?

And it would have been a magical vacation… if the TARDIS hadn’t overshot by fifty years. Now the austerity-hit pleasure planet has become a ‘theme safari’ corporate hell, overrun by eerie, giant-headed mascots and a trillion tramping tourist feet!

But there’s something more sinister at play than rampant commercialism and ecological devastation… and the Doctor and Alice need to uncover all of Rokhandi’s long-buried secrets if they’re to escape with their lives!

Al Ewing writes Matt Smith dialogue beautifully. From the pre-title sequence rant – I love these pre-title sequences in this series – to his “not sulking” and an explanation of the sadness of history and progress. All that in the first few pages and The Doctor’s voice is clear as a bell in my head. I can’t think of a higher compliment for the writer of a tie-in comic than that.

I enjoyed this story a lot. The Doctor and Alice arrive at a Theme Park where not all is what it seems. There are shades of the 1988 story, The Hapiness Patrol here although the theme of no-one being allowed to be unhappy is given an even more sinister twist. Speaking of twists, Al Ewing brings elements of Moffat’s Eleventh Doctor era into the story as it is clear that The Doctor and Alice will visit Rokhandi again at some point a few years earlier. It is these little consistencies that help the comic feel completely aligned with the television series on which it is based.

The issue is stand-alone. A quick side trip for the Doctor and Alice but the issue also points towards the ongoing series. Not only is there the afore-mentioned trip to the planet in its’ recent past to look forward to, but unforeseen consequences of this visit are also teased at the end of the issue. We’ll be seeing more from the immoral Surveyouinc Corporation in the future.

The Eleventh Doctor Issue 2The art remains consistent. Simon Fraser has a simple line style that does a good job of capturing just enough of characters’ features to keep them consistent, recognisable and believable. Okay, there are a few panels where it appears a face or two is made of putty, but the features of those faces show the expression required by the story. Gary Caldwell’s colours enhance the art no-end, taking us from the bright sunny “happy” exterior into a dark and forboding interior. Great stuff.

Even if you haven’t picked up the first issue of this series, I’d recommend getting hold of this. Fans of Matt Smith’s incarnation of the Time Lord will not be disappointed and I have to say that as a long-time Doctor Who fan, I am not either. Ewing, Fraser and Caldwell have produced another excellent little stand-alone story that has elements of portent and can still be used as a jumping on point. I’m not sure how many issues these individual stories will last before the larger picture (including the mysterious watcher) comes more into focus, but I’m enjoying the format so far.

Title: DOCTOR WHO – The Eleventh Doctor Issue 2
Publisher: Titan Comics
Rating: 4.5 /5
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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