COMIC REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Eleventh Doctor Issue 3

There’s a devil out on the bayou, or so they say… Something stalking bluesmen through the swamps of Mississippi, offering them talent beyond imagining, worlds at their feet – in exchange for their souls!

When Alice asks the Doctor if they can visit one of her mother’s musical heroes, she’s initially disappointed. Is Jones, a forgettable singer whose talent seems to be that of disappearing in a crowded room, really the colossal talent who brought passion, creativity and meaning to her mother’s life?

And what does he have to do with the nightmarish deals taking place in the dead of night…?!

So far, the Eleventh Doctor series from Titan Comics has mirrored the television series’ now traditional format. A contemporary Earth story, a jump to the future with the new companion – and now, a leap two the past for the third story. Rob Williams has taken over writing duties from Al Ewing for this story. A tough act to follow judging from the first couple of issues.

The issue opens interestingly. The reader is taken to the home of the Delta Blues and introduced to a young boy who wishes to be the best guitarist around: and the man who offers him a way to achieve that goal overnight. Introduced last issue, Serveyouinc are back again. Of course, this return is overshadowed by the appearance of the Doctor who, it seems, has fallen victim to the promises of the company.

The rest of the issue, following the “title sequence”, is presented in flashback form and deals with how our intrepid Time Lord Hero got into that situation. The mechanism works well, though I have to say my own interest did wane as the issue progressed. The manner in which our Time Lord and his Library Assistant become involved is strong enough, but for some reason I found the issue somewhat lacking compared to the previous issues. I think this is in part down to the obviousness of some of the ideas here. Our new companion’s mother idolised a pop-star who it turns out had the charisma of a sun-dried jellyfish when he performed his first gig. I wonder how he will become such a star? Something to do with the strange deals being offered in the opening perchance?

That’s not to say this is not well presented, but Williams doesn’t have as fine a grasp of the Doctor’s dialogue as Ewing did and I found that a little jarring. I also thought that the issue concluded somewhat rapidly. No explanation is offered for how or why the company are offering to make people’s dreams come true or what the horrible secret cost truly is. While the “possessed” people (including The Doctor) make a credible zombie-style threat, this is instantly nullified in a couple of panels.

The Eleventh Doctor Issue 3Once again, it’s the colours of Gary Caldwell that stand out on the side of the art team. The mood of the story is brilliantly enhanced by the colour pallet – particularly during the night-time Bayou chase sequences. By contrast, I found the line work to be a bit lacking this week with likenesses (of our hero and the supporting characters) varying quite widely from scene to scene. That said, the story flowed nicely from panel-to-panel and that, really, is the true purpose of a page of comic panels.

Also, what in the name of Rassilon did they do to Bessie? I’m sure I’ll be scarred for life after that travesty of a transformation. Some things don’t need changing and certainly not into Monster Trucks with the word “BESS” painted on the side …

Title: DOCTOR WHO – The Eleventh Doctor Issue 3
Publisher: Titan Comics
Rating: 3 /5
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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