The Doctor and Clara in Vegas. It’s such a brilliant idea that I don’t understand why it hasn’t been done on the show before, and I am so very glad that the folks at Titan have run with the idea. Even if we’ve got a Wolf Pack instead of a Rat Pack (and I’m still thinking that’s a copyright issue), what location is more perfect for aliens to cross paths with the Mafia than Vegas? No place, that’s where. If issue #9 (the first of this arc) left us with some questions (and it did), then issue #10 does a hell of a job of tying everything up without being obnoxiously tidy about it.
When we left Clara and the Doctor, they were in a bit of a fix. Agents from the Cybock Imperium (which basically look like squid/octopi with little tentacle hands walking around on robot legs—by the way, what’s going on with all the tentacled species in Titan’s Whoniverse lately? Looking at you, Ninth Doctor Adventures.) had captured Clara and the Wolf Pack and were squeezing the life out of the Doctor. But come on, talking their way out of really bad situations is what the Doctor and his Companions excel at, so you know this isn’t going to last long!
And it doesn’t. Clara is on the verge of getting herself and the Wolf Pack out of their imprisonment when the Doctor arrives. Bonus points to Robbie Morrison for summing up the Doctor Clara relationship in three sentences: “No matter how much trouble I’m in, you always seem to get yourself in greater danger. It’s not a contest, you know.” “‘Course it is—everything’s a contest with you.” Brilliant writing.
I’ll leave it there so as to avoid spoilers, but I did like the character of Sonny, who was surprisingly well fleshed-out for a minor player—I was rooting for him the whole way. I also appreciated that Morrison, as always, tied up all the loose ends from the last issue in a very satisfactory way. He’s one of the few comic book writers I can trust to do that every single time and I will read anything he ever writes because of it. I loved the payoff for the story about the Time Gun of Rassilon, which was really well done, and as a Brooklyn girl, the mob being part of Murder, Incorporated made me smile. The only off-note in the writing for me was Kronos’s referring to the Cybock Imperium as “extra-terrestrial,” which is such a very Earth-bound term that I didn’t feel an alien would use it. After all, to a being from the planet Octos, aren’t humans extra-Octoan or something like that? That’s a very minor issue, though.
There is some really good art in this issue. I particularly liked the human getting hit with a disruptor blast (I know, I have problems): the effect of the skeleton enveloped with green light is so close to what happens on the show that you can pretty much see the whole sequence of events in your mind’s eye—human, skeleton, nothing. I also really liked Sonny’s flashback (in black and white, which I thought was genius) and the back-lighting of Sonny, Clara, and the Doctor running from an explosion, which was just gorgeous. The only time the art fell flat for me was the one-page spread that I believe was an homage to War of the Worlds or the B movies of the 50s. I appreciated the reference, but since it was only a few pages after Clara literally kicked some ass, to see a woman who had apparently fainted at the thought of being picked up by an alien…it just left me a little cold. I didn’t feel the damsel in distress was necessary. But other than that, lovely work by Brian Williamson, Mariano Laclaustra, and Hi-Fi. The cover, by Rian Hughes, was also great—it really captured the feeling of Clara and the Doctor in old Vegas, and I wouldn’t mind having a print of it hanging on my wall.
The teaser for the next issue promises us a gothic mystery, which, please. Let me just hand you my heart and my money right now, Titan. I look forward to seeing what “guest writer” George Mann will bring to what has become my favorite comic series of the year.
In the meantime, I give The Twelfth Doctor #10 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts. They would have gotten the full 5 Lightning Bolts except for that off-putting damsel in distress War of the World spread. Still a good, fun, well-paced read, exactly what I’ve come to expect from the series.
DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR #10
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artists: Brian Williamson & Mariano Laclaustra
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Humor Strip: Colin Bell and Neil Slorance
Cover Artist: Rian Hughes
Release Date: July 29, 2015