Comic Review – Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #12

Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor Year Three #12 Cover

A lost and powerless cargo ship, trapped in a decaying orbit above a blazing sun. A crew slowly disappearing one by one. Numerous signs pointing to someone who shouldn’t be there living in the cargo bay.

Someone… or something?

It’s a typical mystery by The Doctor’s standards. The sort of thing he might knock-off as a warm-up before saving a planet or two. What makes this mystery unusual, however, is the wide number of potential suspects. The ship’s cargo includes 500 Heavenly Hosts – the angelic but easily corrupted service robots The Doctor once fought on the Starship Titanic. They aren’t the only angels on board, however, as the cargo bay is also hiding at least one Weeping Angel – the lonely assassins whose touch can send a target back in time!

As if things couldn’t get worse, The Doctor fell victim to the Weeping Angel and is now somewhere and somewhen else. Missy – the current female incarnation of The Doctor’s greatest enemy The Master – has stolen The TARDIS. And now Blon Fel-Fotch – a former enemy of The Doctor’s from Raxacoricofallapatorius – has arrived leading a platoon of the rhino-like mercenaries known as The Judoon. She claims to be working for The Shadow Proclamation now, but can she be trusted? And do Bill and Nardole really have a choice with at least one Weeping Angel still on the loose?

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Generally, I’ve enjoyed Titan Comics’ Doctor Who books and The Twelfth Doctor title in particular. Unfortunately, the quality took a recent nosedive in the wake of the current story arc, A Confusion of Angels. The first two parts of this storyline were plagued by artwork that seemed to be half-finished, with differing levels of detail and different thicknesses of inks used to depict characters in the same panel.

Artist Pasquale Qualano takes over with this issue, but proves to be equally lackluster in different ways. Most famous for his work on various titles in the Grimm Fairy Tales line, the only thing stopping Qualano from indulging in gratuitous cheesecake is the fact that there’s only one character (the ship’s engineer, who looks oddly like Zero Suit Samus) who has the proper proportions for such a thing and she’s barely in the issue. Mind you, that doesn’t stop Qualano from depicting Missy (of all people) in a suggestive pose!

This is small potatoes compared to Qualano’s other artistic failings. Panels are obviously and lazily recycled, with only a twitch of the lip distinguishing them. There are numerous perspective gaffes and oddly rendered panels where two scenes are separated by a close-up on a character’s face. There are dozens of just plain odd expressions that don’t match the action of the scene or the emotion indicated by the dialogue. Worst of all are the eyes, which seem to have been randomly drawn onto the characters without any sense of proportion to the rest of their faces!

This doesn’t do Richard Dinnick’s script any favors, but he’s far from delivering his best work either. The story here is far too busy, with too many threats to keep track of and the supporting characters largely having the personality of cardboard cut-outs even by the standards of the classic Doctor Who “base under siege” story. There’s too much peril in the plot to allow for time for establishing the cliche “trigger happy soldier” or “generic tough chick” personalities one would expect in this sort of story.

The only thing that makes this comic worth reading is the fact that Dinnick’s script has just enough clever ideas to make it worth muddling through the action sequences, despite the confusion generated by Qualano’s poor sense of blocking. Even then, only the most devout of Doctor Who fans who wanted to learn the fate of Blon Fel-Fotch after Boom Town will want to bother with this book.


Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #12 releases February 14, 2018.

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.

Comic Review – Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #13

Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor Year 3 #13 Cover

In the wake of the disappearance of The Time Lords, The Time Sentinels have set themselves up as the ultimate guardians of the space-time continuum. Under the guidance of the being they call The Lock Keeper, The Time Sentinels maintain a watchful eye upon the universe, ensuring that continuity and causality remains continuous.

One thing The Time Sentinels do not approve of is heroes getting in the way of their best laid plans and saving the worlds that good order dictates be vaporized into nothingness. As such, they are not fans of The Doctor, Last of The Time Lords, who would list “planet saver” in the Occupation blank of a job application if he were ever inclined to fill one out.

To that end, The Time Sentinels have kidnapped one of The Doctor’s current companions, artist Gabby Gonzales, as a means of luring him into a trap. When that, and setting up disaster after disaster as a means of getting The Doctor’s attention fail to work, The Time Sentinels arrange the boldest gambit yet – releasing The Circle of Transcendence  – an artifact of great power that The Doctor cannot possibly ignore!

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The only real flaw to Titan Comics’ Tenth Doctor series is the same thing that makes it so enjoyable – an involved and involving storyline. In the three years since Titan Comics has taken over the Doctor Who license, writer Nick Abadis has crafted a unique mythology as rich as any to be found in the classic or current Doctor Who TV shows. This is both a blessing and a curse, because as thrilling as the on-going saga is to those who have been reading the series since the first issue, this series is completely impenetrable to the casual reader. Even the inclusion of a summary of the current storyline and profiles of The Doctor and his current companions on the title page does little to help new readers out.

This is a shame, because Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #13 looks as amazing as it reads. Artist Giorgia Sposito and Colorist Arianna Florean have crafted one of the most amazing looking comic books, Doctor Who themed or otherwise, in recent memory. Sposito’s characters are all clearly drawn, with the largely female cast sporting a variety of body types and distinctive facial features. The aliens all possess interesting and unique designs. The action of the issue is paced well visually, with consistent angle-changes keeping even the scenes of characters just talking to one another from seeming static or boring. And the colors are all nice and eye-catching.

Technically there’s nothing to stop a Whovian who is curious about comics or a comic reader who wants to know what Doctor Who is all about from picking up this issue. It might be better, however, for them to start with the trade-paperback Revolutions of Terror – the first volume of The Tenth Doctor’s adventures. Another recent hardcover collection of The Tenth Doctor’s first year’s worth of adventures makes it easy for new readers to catch up on one of the best science-fiction comic books in recent years.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #13 goes on sale on January 31, 2018.


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.

Comic Review – Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #8 (The Lost Dimension – Part 6)

All around the universe, in different places and different times, something has awoken. At first impossibly large white holes began to manifest, absorbing or annihilating everything unfortunate enough to encounter them. Now, the holes are smaller, leaking some sort of anti-energy which possesses the minds and bodies of anyone unfortunate enough to be struck by it… and the anti-energy has come to Earth!

The Doctor – currently employed as a professor at St. Luke’s University in Bristol – encountered this anti-energy as he was approached by his friends at UNIT regarding the current crisis. He was also approached by Jenny – a “daughter” of sorts, created from a mingling of human and Time Lord DNA during an earlier adventure – who sought out her “father” for help after an encounter with the anti-energy of her own in deep space.

With The Doctor’s assistant Nardole and student Bill in two, the four quickly take refugee inside The TARDIS… only to find another Doctor and his companions waiting for them!  A paradox of this magnitude can only occur under the most dire of circumstances and two heads are rarely better than one with the egotistical Doctor is forced to work with himself. How much worse can things get? And how many more Doctors are likely to show up to stop this invasion from a lost dimension?

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The odd thing about the Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension event thus far has been how well its individual chapters have stood on their own. This tends to be the exception rather than the rule with comic book crossovers, which are usually written in such a manner as to encourage (if not outright require) the reader to have been picking up every single related issue. The third chapter, for instance, focused on The Tenth Doctor being drawn into the action and the events of The Lost Dimension were made to fit naturally into the flow of the on-going story of The Tenth Doctor’s comic book.

With this sixth chapter, The Lost Dimension starts moving forward with its main plot and bringing the various Doctors together to tackle a crisis that threatens all of space and time. George Mann does a fantastic job capturing the voices of the various Doctors and companions – no surprise given Mann’s extensive experience writing Doctor Who in both novels, comics and radio plays! The only real fault with the story is that the companions get abandoned early on and basically shrug it off, literally saying they need to stay free in case The Doctors need rescuing later.

The artwork suffers from a similar sense of incongruity. Both Rachael Stott and Marcelo Salaza are fantastic artists and, individually, their pages look fantastic. There is a good deal of difference between their personal styles, however, and it’s somewhat jarring visually as the book shifts from one aesthetic to another. Still, those Whovians who have been reading the story to date will find a lot to love about this latest Twelfth Doctor comic.


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.

Comic Review – Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #9 (The Lost Dimension – Part 3)

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Three #9 - Part 3 of The Lost Dimension CoverOnce 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.

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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.