The beginning of a new story arc and a new creative team means a whole new feel in issue #6 of the Tenth Doctor Adventures. Gabby Gonzalez is now “officially” the Doctor’s Companion, so of course their adventure starts off with the TARDIS landing the wrong time/place. Instead of the paradise the Doctor promised her, they’ve landed on the battlefields of World War I with shells landing all around and complicating their situation from the time they land. And if that’s not bad enough, there are Weeping Angels on the loose (because of course there are, this is Doctor Who and there have to be about three levels of impossibly bad things happening at all times).
Up until now, Titan’s Doctor Who comics (the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctor Adventures) have all featured new enemies. The Weeping Angels are the first of the television baddies to make an appearance, and as such have been eagerly anticipated by Whovians. When it was announced at NYCC that this issue would feature the Angels, the fans at the panel cheered so loudly that they could be heard in the next room. (This is not an exaggeration, Nancy was in said next room and texted me to find out what the heck was going on in my panel.) And although this is only the first issue of the new arc, Morrison and Indro have the suspense and horror essential to any Weeping Angel story down pat. Also, hat tip to Robbie Morrison for featuring a Scot named Jamie in this issue; even if his last name isn’t McCrimmon, it’s a nice allusion to one of the Doctor’s earlier companions.
That being said, this issue does have a problem common to many first issues in a new story arc: Morrison and Indro are telling a story with a lot of moving pieces involved, and I just wasn’t quite sure how all of them fit together. At times the story seemed a little disjointed as they tried to lay a rather substantial framework. I have faith in the payoff, and I’m not sure how it could have been structured differently than it was, but I got a little lost in trying to keep track of the many secondary characters. Also as a minor aside, although I know this comic is a spin-off of a British show, Gabby is an American character and wouldn’t have said “elastoplast” or tried to “boil a kettle.” These are very minor things and might come across as nitpicky, but they stuck out to this American reader.
On the whole, however, “Weeping Angels of Mons” features the kind of good writing I’ve come to expect from Robbie Morrison—I know he’s got a plan and I’m anxious to see where it’s leading.. I’m a little sorry that Morrison and Indro have abandoned the whimsy of Gabby’s sketchbook, but I can see how it wouldn’t fit a story set on a battlefield. Daniel Indro’s artwork and Slamet Mujiono’s colors combine to create a suitably apocalyptic wartime story, and I’m going to be seeing the last two pages in my head when I close my eyes for a very long time; they’re the stuff of nightmares given texture and shape. I give this issue 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
DOCTOR WHO: NEW ADVENTURES WITH THE TENTH DOCTOR #6
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artist: Daniel Indro
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Colorist: Slamet Mujiono
“A Rose By Any Other Name” Strip: Rachael Smith
Release Date: January 7, 2014