Once upon a time at a science-fiction convention, legendary writer Neil Gaiman was asked how to simply sum-up the television series Doctor Who to someone who had never seen it, before they sat down to watch any random episode. One might think this a daunting task given the show’s infamously complex continuity. After all, Doctor Who is over fifty years old and has spawned innumerable media including novels, radio plays and stage plays. And comic books, of course!
Undeterred by the questioning conventioneer, Gaiman spake thus.
“…There’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome.”
It is a simple yet elegant summary and Titan Comics’ current Doctor Who crossover mini-series, The Lost Dimension, is born of the same easy accessibility. The title page opens with a description of The Doctor as an immortal alien, who can regenerate a new body in moments of great stress and notes that The Doctor’s various incarnations are only allowed to cross their own timeline and interact with one another on the “dire days” when “the fabric of the universe is threatened.”
This, clearly, is one of those dire days.
(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)
The issue opens with The Tenth Doctor having a vision of one of his past incarnations in pain, before he and his current companions (aspiring artist Gabby Gonzales and her best friend, Cindy Wu) are pulled from the time stream and forced to land on a futuristic power plant. A power fluctuation in the space station turns out to be responsible for the turbulence but it’s nothing The Doctor can’t fix. What proves trickier, however, is a sudden manifestation of the strange energy that seems to have attacked The Doctor’s past self…
Despite being the third part of The Lost Dimension, a new reader could easily jump into the Tenth Doctor series with this issue and follow the action of the story without difficulty. This chapter also neatly fits into the on-going action of the series’ regular storyline, without disrupting anything as is frequently common in comic-book crossovers. Fans of The Tenth Doctor who have never read the comics before will appreciate writer Nick Abadzis’ command of the character and hear David Tennant’s voice in their heads as they read the dialogue.
The artwork shows an equal level of care and craft. Though artists Carlos Cabrera, Mariano Laclaustra and Fer Centurion usually work on The Twelfth Doctor series, they prove just as capable of caricaturing David Tennant as they do Peter Capaldi. The action sequences are as thrilling as anything you’d see on the show and the colors by Hernan Cabrera look fantastic throughout.
Sadly, the issue is not without flaw. The fast pace of the story doesn’t allow any time for Cindy and Gabby to be revealed as characters to new readers. As a result, neither of them show their usual spirit. A larger problem is that The Doctor doesn’t really do anything in this story except type on a computer, which – while causing things to happen – doesn’t speak to the usual hyper-kinetic tone of The Tenth Doctor, who usually runs around shouting “Allons-y!” as all heck breaks loose.
Still, if this is your first trip on The TARDIS in comic-book form, Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #9 will prove a satisfying adventure. The artwork is great and the story, despite a bit of flatness in the characters this time around, is good. Fans of the TV series, however, might want to see where it all began in Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Vol. 1 – Revolutions of Terror.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.