On the private moon above the Pentaquoteque Gallery of Ouloumos, Gabby Gonzalez and the Doctor are running into some trouble figuring out what happened to block-transfer sculptor Zhe Ikiyuyu—trouble in the shape of Zhe’s Apprentice, who views them as competitors for his/her job (that’s right, the Apprentice is both male and female). Jealousy doesn’t even begin to cover the Apprentice’s feelings…murderous rage might be closer. Since this is Gabby’s first trip on the TARDIS, you might think she’d be scared witless, but that wouldn’t really make her Companion material, would it?
It’s no secret that I love Titan’s Doctor Who comics, and a large part of this is that the non-TV Companions (Gabby in the Tenth Doctor series, Alice and Jones in the Eleventh Doctor series) are as well-written and fun to watch as Clara Oswald in the Twelfth Doctor series, except without all of her baggage. I love Clara to the egg-moon and back, don’t get me wrong, but it’s fun to watch Companions at the beginning of their time with the Doctor, before traveling with him changes them as it always does. Gabby is creative, smart, and full of energy, which makes her a perfect match for the Tenth Doctor. She sees the wonder in things, just like he did before Bad Wolf Bay and the metacrisis, and she brings that side of him out in the course of their travels. Excellent writing by Nick Abadzis really brings their relationship to life.
This is a story arc about mind-bending art, and Elena Casagrande and Arianna Florean deliver the goods. The block-transfer sculpture resembles computer generated art, psychedelic fractal art, and everything in between, which Casagrande and Florean make work (I especially loved the butterfly/mouths, which were drawn on some pages and photographic transfers on others). There’s less of the full-page sketchbook art I loved so much in issue #4, but Gabby’s voice still comes across loud and clear thanks to bits of the sketchbook text being inserted in many of the panels. The combination of all of these artistic styles and techniques makes for a very innovative comic—exactly what you’d hope for from the Doctor Who franchise. In case you couldn’t tell, I love this issue. It gets 5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
Coming up next for the Tenth Doctor, a new arc featuring the Weeping Angels. I’ve been waiting for this one since it was teased at NYCC, so I’ll be back with a review of issue #6 (out 1/7/14).
DOCTOR WHO: NEW ADVENTURES WITH THE TENTH DOCTOR #5
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Colorist/Gabby Sketchbook Artist: Arianna Florean with Azzurra M. Florean
Cover Artists: Verity Glass and AJ and Elena Casagrande & Arianna Florean
Release Date: December 17, 2014