COMIC REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Issue 1

The Eisner Award-winning Nick Abadzis (Laika) and fan-favorite Elena Casagrande (Angel, Suicide Risk, Doctor Who, Star Trek) take control of the TARDIS for their first five-issue arc with the Tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant!

Gabriella Gonzalez is stuck in a dead-end job in her family’s New York Laundromat, dreaming of college and bigger, better and brighter things.

So when a strange man with an even stranger big blue box barges into her life on the eve of the Day of the Dead celebrations – talking about an infestation of psychic aliens – she seizes her chance for adventure with both hands.

After Donna’s tragic exit, the Doctor thought he was done with new companions. But Gabby Gonzalez is going to prove him wrong… if she survives the night!

A new publisher means a new start for Doctor Who comics. Of course, a new start doesn’t necessarily mean the new Doctor (though he is coming … and he’s not too far away). Indeed, this new start sees the Tenth Doctor returning to the comic page once more for an ongoing series.

Titan Comics have pulled out all the stops with the presentation of their new licence. The cover features some stunning art of our hero on a colourful, almost crayon styled backdrop. This theme is carried across both (all three really) of the ongoing Doctor Who series that Titan have thus far announced. It’s a look I really like. On top of this, the designer in me loves the use of the Third / Eighth Doctor style font for the comic’s main title. The BBC logo leads perfectly into a bar of informational text. Combined with the really nicely designed “character overview” and “previously” page, we’re off to a good start.

Now that the design geek in me is out of the way we can move on to my favourite element of the issue. The pre-title sequence. I can’t remember if previous “New Who” comics did this ever, but having the first few pages, then a double page splash with the credits on and then moving into the story proper strikes me as a genius move. It really helps to sell the fact that we’re dealing with the same material as the television show somehow.

The artwork from Elena Casagrande combined with Arianna Florean’s colours results in some stunning pages. It’s important in a tie-in comic (although I’m more forgiving than some on this point) to get likenesses with actors right. I’m not of the opinion they need to be perfect but I do need to recognise the actor in the art, no matter how stylised it may be. In this issue, David Tennant is clearly present. On a related point, I did get a little confused around the middle of the issue as it seemed to me that one character inexplicably changed their outfit.

The writing itself is quite dialogue heavy – this is no bad thing but it’s credit to the art and lettering team that there is still plenty of detail in each panel. What I liked about the story (and to be honest, the synopsis I’ve added above counters this somewhat) is that the threat isn’t explained in the first issue. There’s no exposition, just a Mexican family in New York, a Time Lord investigating something and some strange happenings to be investigated.

I really liked that The Doctor was sort of periphery to this issue. The focus is very much on Gabriella and her circle of family and friends with the odd appearance of the wandering Time Lord. The issue ends with the two coming into contact, so I’m expecting more Doctor next month, but the structure of the issue really had me in mind of Classic era Doctor Who, where our heroes wouldn’t turn up until midway through the first episode once the scene and its players had been set.

DOCTOR WHO THE TENTH DOCTOR #1I’d recommend this to Doctor Who fans who are thinking about getting on board. I’d also recommend it to people who may not have any real knowledge of the television program. There’s enough intrigue here to get your teeth into and only really one reference to past adventures. In many ways, this issue reads a bit like the beginning of Rose. We’re introduced to people, there are hints of adventure and then we’re hit with the Time Lord without having everything explained at us in one go.

Welcome back, Tenth Doctor. Titan, can we please have some more “past Doctor” series? Pretty please?

Title: DOCTOR WHO – The Tenth Doctor Issue 1

Publisher: Titan Comics

Rating: 4 /5

Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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