It’s been a while since I checked in on the Tenth Doctor’s adventures, not because I haven’t meant to, but because Titan delivers such a wealth of Doctor Who comics every month that sometimes a few issues get past me. Nice to have that problem instead of the standard Whovian “is it time for the new season yet?” issue, though, isn’t it? (And for the record, we’re almost there, poppets. September 19th.) And so when I picked up this month’s Tenth Doctor comic, I found myself smack in the middle of an arc. Normally I hate that, because it means there’s all sorts of stuff going on and I have no idea which end is up. This time, however, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
I had read previous Tenth Doctor adventures, so I was familiar with the Doctor’s current Companion, Gabby Gonzalez, but it seems Gabby’s friend Cindy Wu has joined the TARDIS crew while I wasn’t reading. (Can I just take a moment to say how great it is to have two Women of Color as Companions? Because it is. I really appreciate Titan bringing some diversity to the TARDIS with their comics, because on the TV show the only color we’ve gotten lately is TARDIS blue–do not cite Danny Pink to me, since he was never actually a Companion.) While I’ve been gone from the comic world, we’ve also met aging movie star Dorothy Bell, her assistant, Vivian, and a religious cult. Oh, and the aliens that are coming to Earth in a mysterious black ship that’s big enough to block out the night’s sky. This could have been completely overwhelming for a new reader, but Nick Abadzis does a great job of juggling the four stories that are happening here: the approaching aliens, Dorothy’s metamorphosis, the cult’s religious fervor, and the dynamic between Gabby, Cindy, and Ten. I quickly found myself immersed and equally interested in all of them without feeling like any were being short-changed. I got all the information I needed to catch up with the action on the fly, and I soon developed a sympathy for Cindy, who I get the feeling has been relegated to a Rory Pond tag-along role thus far…I’m hoping she’ll have her own “Roman” moment in the next issue.
I enjoyed the art in this issue, which reminded me a little of the bold lines and colors I admire in Ms. Marvel, and I particularly liked the renderings of New York City. They’re realistic enough (especially the spread of Dorothy and Gabby flying past the Empire State Building) to make me think they’re photographs overdrawn with ink, but I can’t really be sure of that. What I can be sure of is that these images capture the beauty, energy, and light of the city I live in without distracting from the drawn characters, or being jarringly disconnected from the rest of the book. The red auroras around Dorothy’s improvements are gorgeous as well, especially those of the extra bridges she places between Jersey and Manhattan.
Extra points to Gryffindor (I mean Abadzis) for sucking me so completely into a storyline already in progress, and to the entire creative team for ensuring that I’ll be back for the next issue. Tenth Doctor #13 gets 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts from me.
DOCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR #13
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Pencils: Elena Casagrande
Inks: Simone Di Meo
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Release Date: July 29, 2015