Showing posts with label 12th Doctor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 12th Doctor. Show all posts

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14
"Invasion of the Mindmorphs" (Part 1 of 2)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Rod Fernandes

In a stark contrast to the high-stakes and cataclysmic endings seen in the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor series, Robbie Morrison opts for a surprisingly subdued and emotional two-parter for his Year Two finale - one that sees the Doctor playing matchmaker as he befriends two comic-book creators. The duo produce the Time Surgeon comic, a Doctor Who-inspired series that takes elements from the character’s lore and jumbles them together to produce an amusing parody of the real Doctor. It gets a bit Meta – a Doctor Who comic within a Doctor Who comic – but it is a fun insight into how normal people must deal with the urban myth of the Doctor. This isn’t the first time Morrison has tinkered with the idea, as he featured the Time Surgeon comic during his previous foray into meta-based storytelling, “The Fourth Wall”. In an effort to ‘get the story right’, the Doctor takes the bickering creators on a tour through time and space, introducing them to prehistoric dinosaurs and bizarre new worlds. It’s fun to see the pair gradually falling in love with each other, similar to how Ian and Barbara eventually became a couple after travelling together.


Rachael Stott returns to the series for its two-part season finale, and her artwork suits the more emotion-driven narrative of this adventure. Stott has a knack for channelling Peter Capaldi’s mannerisms onto the page, especially the maniacal glee with which he throws himself into adventures. I also liked her work on the opening pages of the Time Surgeon comic, creating a version of the Twelfth Doctor cobbled together from the rumours of others. Obviously, the fictional artist took the ‘punk rock’ aspect of the Twelfth Doctor’s personality a tad too literally as the Time Lord has a Mohawk, earrings and a neck tattoo. I also liked Stott’s take on the Master, known as the Minister in this fictional universe, and I would love to see her working on a Third Doctor series one day in the future.

This penultimate episode of the Twelfth Doctor’s second year of adventures offers a refreshingly different take on the ‘season finale’ with a relatively laid-back storyline that is a departure from the apocalyptic events of last year’s “The Hyperion Empire”. This story feels like a Christmas Special, minus all the seasonal trimmings that comes with that annual event, and it’s great to see Morrison focus squarely on the effect that the Doctor has on others, and their perception of him.


Score - 9.3 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 14 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 3 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Hernan Cabrera

The Twelfth Doctor’s sojourn into 17th Century France comes to a close in this issue as he finds himself up against creatures from the dark dimension attempting to use a total eclipse to gain entry into our world. While the plot is fairly straight-forward, the interplay between the Doctor and his latest temporary companion, Julie d’Aubigny, sparkles throughout the issue. Robbie Morrison weaves his story of dark matter creatures invading the Earth nicely around the real-life historical figures of La Maupin, Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV. I am a fan of this swashbuckling era and The Three Musketeers so it was great fun to see the Doctor running around in this era – while most writers would have gone for the musketeers as supporting characters, Morrison instead features d’Aubigny – a lesser-known but absolutely fascinating figure. The monsters at the heart of this storyline felt slightly underdeveloped, evoking memories of Nashta Verada and Morrison’s own creation – The Fractures. That said, they were brought to life on the page in brilliant fashion by Mariano Laclaustra with some truly haunting images, like the one below.


Laclaustra’s work on this story-arc, and this volume, has been absolutely out of this world, both figuratively and literally. It is always a pleasure to see an immense talent at work and Laclaustra is certainly that. I have to marvel at his ability able to recreate 17th Century France in intricate detail, transporting the reader there with a strong sense of authenticity. I’m a sucker for the historical stories in Doctor Who’s repertoire, and this creative team does a brilliant job at achieving the right balance of fact and fiction, educating whilst entertaining – which was Doctor Who’s original remit back in the early 1960s. I also like this concept of introducing temporary one-off companions to accompany the Doctor ahead of his Season Ten appearance later this year as it has allowed the writer’s to introduce some fun alternate takes on the female companion – making use of both the past and future to find potential candidates. Overall, this was a fun swashbuckler of a story-arc and I loved seeing the Doctor getting into sword fights and rubbing shoulders with iconic French historical figures. I wholeheartedly recommend this storyline to fans who loved Season Eight’sRobots of Sherwood” as it achieves that same balance of humour, action and history.


Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 13 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 2 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

The Twelfth Doctor's adventures in 17th century France continue as he and new companion, Julie D'Aubigny, attempt to find out more about the sinister darkness consuming the high ranking officials in King Louis XIV's court. Robbie Morrison taps into a period of history that I was largely unfamiliar with, and creates a story so enthralling that it makes me hit Wikipedia to find out more about these real-life figures. If only my history teacher could have made learning this fun! My only experience with this era in French history is the equally fictional The Three Muskeeteers by Alexandre Dumas, and it's great fun to see the Doctor embroiled in this period of swashbuckling adventure, accompanied by a feisty female protagonist. Morrison does a great job at delivering the necessary exposition to explain how Cardinal Richelieu has tapped into the inter-dimensional energy that has extended his life beyond his original date of death – it never feels forced and flows naturally alongside the plot. Once again, Mariano Laclaustra switches art styles to depict the flashbacks, bringing an interesting 'sketchbook' narrative into play that helps distinguish the past from the present and injects a palpable feeling of 'storytelling' to events.


Laclaustra's artwork is simply breathtaking throughout this storyline, and every panel is rich with atmosphere, conjuring up the darkness and suspicion of the era. Even in the quieter moments within the TARDIS, Laclaustra experiments with his artwork adding visual effects such as blurring to remove the focus from the foreground when the Doctor and Julie examine the sliver of dark matter. Laclaustra does a great job with the interior of the TARDIS, using various light filters to exaggerate the gadgetry and illuminous nature of the time machine. It's a great juxtaposition to witness his artwork transition between these futuristic settings into the low-tech world of 17th Century Paris. His likeness of the Doctor is staggeringly realistic, and partnered with Morrison's authentic dialogue – this is the perfect antidote for those Doctor Who withdrawals since last Christmas. I'm a huge fan of the historical storylines in the Doctor Who universe, and I really admire the talent of writers who are able to weave a thrilling adventure in amongst the established lore of the time period. If you've been curious what the Doctor has been up to throughout 2016 whilst he has been off our TV screens, then this is the place to go to find out. Absolutely top-notch storytelling and one of those tales that you'd swear you'd seen on the TV before.


Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 12 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 5 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Even though it was obvious that this series would need to hit the reset button to restore events to normal, Cavan Scott and George Mann manage to make this final chapter engaging and utterly thrilling throughout. Focused firmly on the Twelfth Doctor and Rassilon, this issue sees these two characters working together to use the Cybermen’s Cyberiad against them and restore the original timeline, thus undoing the death and destruction caused by the Cybermen. The grandiose nature of this reset button feels very Russell T. Davies in nature, mirroring similar unlikely deus-ex-machinas seen in previous season finales “Last of the Time Lords” and “Journey’s End”. Sure, it gets a bit timey-wimey and convenient, but the sheer emotional impact of the moment ensures that the somewhat shaky logic of the reboot is overlooked. The epilogue, which shows the Twelfth Doctor maintaining memories of the death and destruction, is rather poignant and reminds me of “Heaven Sent” and the internal and private torment that the Doctor carries about inside of him. Even though the events of this miniseries are undone by the end, it leaves an indelible mark on Gallifrey’s rebel time-lord.


With the heavy focus on the Twelfth Doctor story segments, Ivan Rodriguez handles the reins for this final issue and his art style is perfect for the dark and bleak future that the Cybermen have created. He puts in an incredible amount of detail and emotion into the panels where the Doctor is becoming incorporated into the Cyberiad, particularly the Tenth Doctor’s conversion into the Cyber-king, which is quite chilling to see. It’s quite unnerving to see the Doctor broken and beaten across these various timelines, so once the reset occurs, it is a relief to see the Cybermen’s work being undone across a series of panels spanning multiple timelines. Overall, this has been a great little miniseries which took the concept of a multi-Doctor storyline but added the unique twist of keeping each incarnation of the Doctor separate and encountering the same threat. While some readers might be angry that the story hinged on a ‘cosmic reset’, it should be noted that many televised Doctor Who stories do the same, so it’s not unfamiliar territory for the franchise.

Scott and Mann definitely should be applauded for creating a brilliant adventure that ties deeply into the events of “Hell Bent” and providing a worthy ‘sequel’ to that chapter. I’m sure it was tremendous fun for the writers to unleash the Cybermen against all the different eras of the Doctor, and part of me was disappointed that we didn’t see more from the first eight Doctors in this storyline, although given the limited space available, it makes total sense why the comic was restricted to the most recent four. With the bar set so high for its Doctor Who event series, Titan Comics will have a hard time beating “Four Doctors” and “Supremacy of the Cybermen” next year!


Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 5 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11
"Terror of the Cabinet Noir" (Part 1 of 3)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

While I love the science-fiction and interplanetary adventures commonly seen in Doctor Who, I also have a soft spot for the historical fantasy epics that the series occasionally delves into, so it was particularly exciting for me to see this latest Twelfth Doctor adventure delving into 17th Century France for a bit of a swash-buckle. Making use of real-life historical figures from the era, Robbie Morrison crafts an authentic historic tale that feels like quintessential Alexandre Dumas, but with the addition of shadowy creatures that reduce men to bones. That’s what The Three Musketeers was missing all this time! Morrison takes his time to establish the time period and the threat facing the Doctor, before delving into the history of his new companion. Even though the Doctor only appears in the final few pages, Morrison makes this an immensely readable tale with a charismatic leading lady in Julie d'Aubigny aka La Maupin. I have to confess I was ignorant of La Maupin and her role in 17th Century France, but Morrison’s flashback sequence and the brief biography in the back pages helped get me up to date, and actually taught me something about history – which ironically was part of the initial remit of Doctor Who.


After wowing me with the three-part storyline “The Twist” earlier in the year, the dream-team of Mariano Laclaustra and Carlos Cabrera return for another story-arc, bringing their beautiful vision of 17th Century Paris to life onto the page. Laclaustra’s art is simply amazing and the colours by Cabrera just bring out the very best in his work – as with their work on “The Twist”, the background scenery is so evocative and immersive. The pair are fantastic at conveying the horror of the situation too, from the creepy opening sequence in Notre Dame Cathedral to the unnerving moment when La Maupin sticks her blade into Captain Verlock and he pulls it out of his chest, revealing his possession. Part of me wonders whether the creatures lurking in the shadows and inside the bodies of the Cabinet Noir are related to the Nashta Verada from “Silence in the Library” or perhaps the Fractures from Morrison’s earlier Twelfth Doctor storyline “The Fractures”. The creative team do an absolutely fantastic job at cultivating the tone and mood to this storyline and as with Morrison’s work on “The Weeping Angels of Mons”, it feels like a historical serial that should have appeared in the show itself. It’s a great idea, wonderfully atmospheric and perfectly scripted. This is how you do a Doctor Who historical storyline, no doubt about it!


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 11 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 4 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Things take a deadly turn for the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors as their various timelines begin to crumble around them and each incarnation finds themselves assimilated into the Cybermen’s hive-mind. With a reset button no doubt waiting in the wings, Cavan Scott and George Mann have some fun with the ‘doomed’ timelines featuring the earlier incarnations of the Doctor, testing each of them to limit. Even though these tragic events are destined to be undone, there is something chilling about seeing the Ninth Doctor blowing up the Earth to prevent the Cybermen from accessing it, or the Tenth Doctor merging with a Cyber-King to prevent it from attacking the Sontarans. I suspect that somehow the actions of these Doctors will somehow have some ripple effect that will allow the Twelfth Doctor to succeed against his foes – or perhaps the technology that Rassilon has implemented in the Eye of Harmony may provide the solution to undoing all of the Cybermen’s work.


Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Geovanni do a superb job of capturing the desperation and emotion in each section of this multi-layered story, particularly in the Tenth Doctor’s chapter. The pained and determined expression on his face after he thinks Gabby and Cindy have died feels utterly authentic to the character and David Tennant’s portrayal of him. There’s plenty going on in this penultimate issue and both artists rise to the challenge with confidence. While the multi-narrative structure of this event has slowed the pace down at times, it remains an effective and innovative way to tell a multi-Doctor storyline without having the characters meet. Evoking memories of the universe-ending climax to “The Pandorica Opens”, this penultimate episode certainly increases the tension to unbearable levels and I cannot wait to see how Scott and Mann intend to resolve this truly epic cliff-hanger in the space of one issue. It’s a tall task, but I have every faith in the two writers after their amazing work in their individual Doctor Who titles.


Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 4 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 10

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 10
"Playing House" (Part 2 of 2)
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Rodrigo Fernandes

Taking the ‘Haunted House’ trope and subverting it nicely with a dash of Cluedo, Labyrinth and the Eleventh Doctor episode “Hide”, George Mann creates a thrilling Twelfth Doctor adventure that leaps off the page with energy and excitement. I was particularly impressed with how well-developed the secondary characters were, especially the Mother searching for her husband and children. It was exactly the sort strong supporting cast that we’re used to seeing in Doctor Who, and it was great to see Mann capture that in his script. Talking of supporting cast-members, Hattie’s time in the TARDIS comes to a conclusion somewhat sooner than expected as George Mann hands the reigns back to Robbie Morrison for the remainder of the Year Two series. Even though her tenure as companion was quite brief, I found her to be very fun and different from Clara Oswald – mainly due to the fact she came from a colony in the future instead of modern-day Earth. While the first year of Twelfth Doctor adventures had a ‘season arc’ involving the Hyperions, this second year feels a bit more scattered in its approach with no connecting tissue linking the stories – this isn’t a negative – but considering the tighter story-arcs seen in Titan Comics’ other Doctor Who series, it is a noticeable change of pace. Perhaps when Mann takes over full-time for Year Three, there will be a more visible theme to the stories and stronger continuity in-series.


With some magnificent double-page spreads that look like an M.C. Escher painting on acid, Rachael Stott confidently takes on the challenge posed by Mann’s complicated script, ensuring that the story remains easy to follow, yet able to communicate a sense of wonder with its visuals. Clearly a die-hard fan of the series, Stott pops in some lovely little Easter eggs into her artwork – did you spot the K1 Robot from the Fourth Doctor debut serial, “Robot”? Her take on the Twelfth Doctor is fantastic, and she consistently finds dynamic ways to depict him on-panel, capturing the character’s energy with ease. She’s a great fit for this series, and it must be a real thrill for her to be creating brand-new Doctor Who adventures ahead of the latest series.

Since the departure of Clara, the Twelfth Doctor series has felt rejuvenated and full of potential and the promise of another new companion ensures that the series will keep moving forward. It’s great that Titan Comics is here to fill-in this unbearable wait for new Doctor Who episodes, giving us a glimpse into the Doctor’s post-Clara life, before he meets Bill in Season Ten. As the ‘flagship series’ in the Doctor Who range, this is an utterly vital purchase for fans wanting to continue the story beyond “The Husbands of River Song” – with next issue offering yet another jumping-on point, there really is no excuse to miss out!


Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 10 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 9

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 9
"Playing House" (Part 1 of 2)
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Alexandre Siqueira

This issue of the Twelfth Doctor comic sees the return of series artist Rachael Stott and this time she is accompanied by a different colourist, Alexandre Siqueira, who brings out a whole new edge to her artwork, imbuing it with a darker tone that fits the punk rock attitude of the Doctor's new companion, Hattie. This change in style definitely suits the more Gothic sensibilities of this storyline, which riffs on the typical haunted house trope in a similar manner to the Eleventh Doctor episode “Hide”. George Mann's script flows along nicely, introducing the Doctor and the reader into the mystery of the seemingly haunted house with a gentle pace, building up the mystique with every page. Despite the foreshadowing, the punchline cliffhanger ending to this installment still comes out of nowhere to surprise readers and poses far more questions than it answers. It's a great little reveal, and much like the Doctor, I slapped my head for not realising the truth behind the house sooner. When the twist ending of a story causes you to have that reaction, then you know it has been extremely well written. I also liked the Cluedo-inspired double-page spread from Stott showcasing the search throughout the house which, intentionally or not, also mirrored a similar spread from Mariano Laclaustra back in Issue 6.


Removing Hattie from her own timeline allows Mann to explore the character in greater detail, and while she takes a backseat at times to the exposition of the plot, she seems to be an interesting counter to Clara Oswald – wanting to go back into the TARDIS at the first sign of trouble at the haunted house and questioning the Doctor's decisions. It's also fun to see the Doctor exploring more of his musical side, which was a recurring element of Season Nine that received a positive reaction amongst the audience and made this Twelfth incarnation of the Doctor appear more human and relatable than he was during his initial appearances during Season Eight. These post-Season Nine adventures do a great job at showcasing the different sides to the Twelfth Doctor as he interacts with new companions, preparing for his relationship for the Season Ten companion, Bill. With no new episodes appearing until Christmas, Titan Comics are providing Whovians with in-continuity tales that follow on from the last televised episode, “The Husbands of River Song”. It's a great opportunity for the publisher to take the lead and given the dramatic events of “Supremacy of the Cybermen” and how it has directly followed on from “Hell Bent”, it is clear that Titan Comics is the best place for Whovians to get their fix of Doctor Who goodness.


Score - 9.2 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 9 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 3 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 3 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 3 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Cavan Scott and George Mann continue to thrust the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors into battle against the Cybermen across a variety of different time-zones in this third issue of the Supremacy of the Cybermen miniseries. Splitting the narrative four ways has become something of a double-edged sword for this series – while it ensures the storyline has the right amount of epic scope as the Cybermen traverse time and space to dominate the galaxy, it also means that the issues feel a bit cluttered as each Doctor vies for attention. Given some of the dramatic events of this episode, it is clear that the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctor plot threads are going to be rewritten and undone before the end of the series with no lasting effects, which again diminishes some of the impact of those sequences. That said, it is great fun to see the Tenth Doctor fighting alongside the Sontaran armies against hulking great Cyberkings and the Eleventh Doctor battling hordes of Cyber-Silurians. Scott and Mann do their best to keep all four sections moving along at a fast pace, but sometimes it feels that the Twelfth Doctor section is the only essential element of the story. Hopefully the other sequences will have more of an influence on the main plot in the final two issues of the series.


Ivan Rodriguez and Walter Geovanni continue to handle art duties with Rodriguez handling the ‘past Doctors’ adventures as Geovanni focuses on the central Twelfth Doctor plot thread. This division of artists hammers home the separation between the ‘real’ story and the ‘disposable’ plot threads of the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Rodriguez does a great job at conveying the increasing peril and lack of hope for the past Doctors as each adventure comes to a downbeat ending with the Cybermen achieving victory in each timeline. This issue also references the one-page prologues that appeared throughout the rest of the Titan Comics Doctor Who books which saw every incarnation of the Doctor attacked by the Cybermen at various points in their existence. This precision attack into the Doctor’s past reminds me of the Great Intelligence’s attempt to kill the Doctor during “The Name of the Doctor” and I wonder if a similar fix will be implemented to undo the damage to the time-stream. Even though much of this story will be undone by a cosmic reset button, I am eagerly awaiting the explanation that Scott and Mann have to this grand dilemma that the Doctor finds himself in. The writing duo have certainly stacked the odds against the Doctor here and I literally have no idea how he can get himself out of this predicament! While this event may have some minor structural flaws, it remains fully engaging and a treat for old-school Doctor Who fans. This has been the perfect way to celebrate the Cybermen’s 50th anniversary!


Score - 9.4 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 2 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 2 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 2 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Ivan Rodriguez & Walter Geovanni
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Cavan Scott and George Mann’s second issue of their Doctor Who epic event “Supremacy of the Cybermen” continues to weave its multiple narratives together, making use of dual artists to distinguish between the ‘present day’ events of the Twelfth Doctor and the Cyber-President Rassilon, and the altered timelines of the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. The pair have also written short one-page prologues featuring the other eight incarnations of the Doctor having encounters with the Cybermen which contradicts the established timeline, hinting at some time-travelling manipulation on the part of the Cyber-army. This suggests that unlike last year’s event “The Four Doctors” which took the form of a traditional multi-Doctor serial, Scott and Mann intend to keep the various incarnations of the Doctor separated throughout the duration of this event and will focus on the alternate timelines each of them find themselves in. This is a great decision and allows Titan Comics to present a different approach to the multi-Doctor story-arc and keeps the action shifting between narratives.

Including the Sontarans and Silurians in the event is another master-stroke, which not only demonstrates the extent of the Cybermen’s influence over the time-stream but also offers recognisable secondary threats for each Doctor to deal with. The one nit-pick of having four narratives running concurrently throughout the comic is that it does feel slightly cramped at times and there isn’t a great deal of advancement made in each section. While the initial issue had a great deal of shock value by throwing the readers (and the Doctor) into the deep end, this follow-up feels a bit slower in pace and focused on explaining the situation each Doctor finds themselves in. That said, the connections to the television show are the strongest they’ve ever been as this story acts as a direct sequel to Season 9’s closer “Hell Bent”, following Rassilon after his exile from Gallifrey and giving readers more ‘screen-time’ on the Doctor’s home planet. As such, this whole story-arc feels more integral to the continuity of the series, picking up directly on loose plot threads from the show itself.


Ivan Rodriguez continues to provide art duties for the ‘past Doctors’ sequences, whilst Walter Geovanni stands in for Alessandro Vitti on the ‘present day’ Twelfth Doctor story-arc on Gallifrey. Despite the use of two different artists, this series flows together nicely and could have even benefited from four different artists working on one Doctor each. That said, Rodriguez does a brilliant job on the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctor narratives, bringing both the Silurian and Sontarans to life on the page. Geovanni’s take on a Cyberman-infested Gallifrey is equally impressive and reflects many of the visuals introduced in “Hell Bent”, even providing a brief flashback to the events from that key episode. While Geovanni’s panels lacks the same grittiness and intensity seen in Vitti’s artwork from the previous issue, it is still a strong showing from the Brazilian artist and suits the change in scenery from Karn to Gallifrey well.

Overall, this was a worthy follow-up to the series’ amazing first issue and it certainly maintains much of the momentum and pace from the Cyberman’s invasion of time. At times, the comic does feel a bit dense with four narratives competing for prominence but that just adds to the ‘season finale’ feel of the series. Scott and Mann have both proven themselves to be consummate fans of Doctor Who and its lengthy history, and that shows in their energy and desire to push the boundaries in their storytelling. This is a storyline that could only be told in the comics, reaching far back across all of the Doctor’s past incarnations and changing history with alarming levels of destruction. Sure, there will probably be a cosmic reset button at the end of this adventure, but its great fun to watch two die-hard fans of the series play about in the Doctor Who sandbox with such glee.


Score - 9.2 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 2 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 8

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 8
"The Twist" - Part 3 (of 3)
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

George Mann’s three-part introductory story-arc for the Twelfth Doctor and his new companion, Hattie, came to an end with this issue as the Foxkin revealed themselves to the human colonists aboard The Twist. After centuries of hiding in the shadows, the Doctor’s interference brought the creatures out into the public eye, but rather than being reviled and feared, the Doctor was able to convince the colonists to accept the secondary race. I must admit that this didn’t quite ring true to me and it felt like a slightly rushed ending that wrapped up the various plot threads into a neat bow. That said, this storyline worked well as an introduction to the Doctor’s latest comic-book companion as Mann tapped into the punk-rock persona of the Twelfth Doctor and paired him with a musician for his pre-Season 10 adventures. Hattie seems like a great fit for this incarnation of the Doctor and I appreciate Mann’s attempts to provide the Doctor with unconventional companions, as evidenced from his Eighth Doctor miniseries featuring Josephine Day.


Mariano Laclaustra has been an absolute revelation over these past three issues as he brings The Twist to life with such rich and evocative backgrounds. His artwork has been stunning throughout this storyline, thanks in part to Carlos Cabrera’s awesome colouring. Laclaustra’s artwork just exudes a cinematic flavour and his design of Hattie, Jakob and the rest of the punk-rock inhabitants of The Twist is just fantastic! Even the lupine designs of the Foxkin were enchanting, and offered a refreshing take on the werewolf myth.

Overall, this was an excellent debut for George Mann as he quickly makes the Twelfth Doctor series his own by introducing a bold and exciting new companion and grasps the post-Season Nine persona of the Twelfth Doctor instantly. While there were some minor problems with the ease of the solution to the Foxkin dilemma, the story as a whole held up really well and showed plenty of promise for the further adventures of the Doctor and Hattie in this title.


Score - 8.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 8 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Review - Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 1 (of 5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 1 (of 5)
"Supremacy of the Cybermen" - Part 1 (of 5)
Written by: George Mann & Cavan Scott
Art by: Alessandro Vitti & Ivan Rodriguez
Colours by: Nicola Righi

Last year’s Doctor Who comics event, “The Four Doctors” had a suitably epic feel as the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth incarnations of the Doctor dealt with the after-effects of the War Doctor’s involvement in the Time War. While that event was a fun call-back to the classic multi-Doctor adventures of the past, and dealt with plot threads from the series’ 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”, this latest event looks to the future and directly addresses plot points from the recent season finale, “Hell Bent”. Deeply entrenched in the series’ continuity, the Twelfth Doctor sequences in this issue feel like a natural continuation of the Doctor’s adventures in Season Nine, mopping up the loose ends from “Hell Bent” like a janitor working overtime. I love the way that writers Cavan Scott and George Mann literally immerse the reader in Doctor Who’s rich and complex history, cherry-picking elements from all of the featured Doctor’s eras. There’s a real sense of importance from this issue, perhaps due to the fact it spins out of the recent series and makes changes to the status-quo in regards to important characters such as Rassilon and Ohila.

Wisely keeping the Doctors separated for the time-being, this opening issue felt operatic in tone as Scott and Mann balanced the four Doctors in their separate timelines, cutting between each narrative throughout the issue and ending each plot thread with a cliff-hanger. Not only does the story feature Cybermen, but two other iconic Doctor Who monsters make their appearances under the thrall of the Cybermen. Judging from the partial conversions, it seems that Scott and Mann will be making use of the concepts and technologies introduced in “Nightmare in Silver” – yet, there are plenty of references to Cybermen of all eras here. I certainly hope we see some old-school “The Tenth Planet” Mondasian Cybermen at some point, as I love their classic mesh cloth design. I also appreciated the synopsis at the front of the issue, which reminds readers of each Doctor’s last encounter with the Cybermen – pointing out that the Ninth Doctor has yet to meet them in that body – a fact I’d overlooked. Given that Rose has no knowledge of the Cybermen when she meets them in “Rise of the Cybermen”, I suspect something will ‘reset’ the status-quo of that particular timeline – not a complete surprise, given that London has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic waste.


The art team of Alessandro Vitti and Ivan Rodriguez easily rise to the challenge of this daunting multi-Doctor story spanning multiple time-zones and planets. The scenes taking place on Karn effortlessly evoke the nightmarish landscape of the ruined planet, bringing back memories of the classic Fourth Doctor adventure, “The Brain of Morbius”. I’m not sure how the art is split between the two artists, but the whole issue felt consistent throughout, with both artists complementing each other nicely. With such a varied narrative, Vitti and Rodriguez’s artwork is absolutely vital in ensuring readers don’t get confused during the scene changes, and their distinctive background work helps achieve a firm separation between plot-threads. There’s a real sense of pace to this adventure, partly down to the strong script and also due to the absolutely pitch-perfect artwork from both Vitti and Rodriguez. Their grittier style offers a different take on the multi-Doctor storyline, much darker and grimier than Neil Edwards’ work on “The Four Doctors”, and it perfectly suits the Cybermen’s invasion of the Doctor’s timeline.

Without a doubt, this is the best Doctor Who comic that Titan Comics has published to date. Filled with plenty of continuity nods for hard-core Whovians like myself, “Supremacy of the Cybermen” is a delight to read. Scott and Mann have captured the grand operatic stylings seen during Steven Moffat’s run and delivered a worthy sequel to “Hell Bent” that presents the Cybermen as a worthy challenger to the Dalek’s claims of ‘supremacy’. Joined with artists whose style encapsulates the doom-laden tone of the book, these writers have really made an event out of this storyline, which acts as the perfect cap to Titan Comics’ second year of publishing Doctor Who comics. If you haven’t read a single one of their comics since July 2014 or you’re a lapsed reader who has left the numerous series’ behind, you should rush down to the local comic store with your cash in hand, or begin downloading furiously from Comixology, because this story is THAT important for Doctor Who fans, and you won’t want to miss out!


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen # 1 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the mini-series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7
"The Twist" - Part 2 (of 3)
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

With this latest issue, George Mann and Mariano Laclaustra continue to chart the adventures of the Twelfth Doctor in the absence of new televised episodes, filling in the blanks until the 2016 Christmas Special airs. Mann’s script takes familiar cues from past Doctor Who adventures, such as human colonies in space, and modernises them with his own little twists. Fans of classic Doctor Who serials will notice a thematic similarity to adventures such as “The Ark” or “The Ark in Space”, mixed with a smidgen of Red Dwarf, with the Foxkin adopting a similar role to The Cat. The plight of the Foxkin reminds me of the Silurians, with both races living alongside the humans in peace until conflict breaks out. Despite these similarities to other stories, Mann ensures that the tale remains very much his own and interplay between the Twelfth Doctor and his two new companions helps drive the narrative of the story.


Mariano Laclaustra’s artwork remains as breathtakingly gorgeous as ever, although I prefer the more urban backgrounds of the Twist compared to the more generic outdoor sequences seen in this installment. Laclaustra’s visual design of the Foxkin is fantastic, encapsulating the mix of human and vulpine elements in the creature. I also greatly admire Laclaustra’s attention to detail throughout the issue, and his take on the Twelfth Doctor, Hattie and Jakob is absolutely brilliant, offering a cinematic quality to the story.

Rather than stretch this storyline out across five issues, Mann has condensed it into a tight three-parter, which allows him to write in the traditional three act structure with a beginning, middle and end. While this installment has its fair share of exposition, it does set up the adventure for a strong conclusion and I wonder whether the Doctor will be bringing both of his newfound companions with him in the TARDIS, or whether one of them will stay behind to broker peace between the humans and the Foxkin. This has been a strong story-arc for the series, propelling the comic into the unexplored regions of the post-Season Nine era of the show.


Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 7 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 6

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 6
"The Twist" - Part 1 (of 3)
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Mariano Laclaustra
Colours by: Carlos Cabrera

It’s all change for the Twelfth Doctor for this latest issue of the comic series as George Mann takes over writing duties from regular script-writer, Robbie Morrison. Replacing Rachael Stott on art is the wonderful Mariano Laclaustra, who brings a whole new flavour to the series that suits this new jumping-on point. Aside from the creative team changes, the series has also moved forward chronologically to feature stories post-Season Nine without Clara Oswald as the Doctor’s companion. Taking place after “The Husbands of River Song”, these stories are in the unique position of offering readers brand-new adventures taking place between the annoyingly long hiatus between Seasons Nine and Ten, which airs in 2017. As such, the Titan Comics staff are able to fill the space with new, temporary companions until the series returns with the recently announced Bill, played by Pearl Mackie. I'm actually quite excited to see the comic series creating adventures ahead of the televised episodes, rather than slotting ‘untold stories’ in-between the continuity of existing episodes.

Upon opening up the comic, I was struck immediately by the beauty of Mariano Laclaustra’s artwork on this issue. While the Argentinian artist has worked on Doctor Who before on a number of stories, his artwork really stands out in this issue, thanks to the amazing colouring from Carlos Cabrera. I’ll be honest, I've never really considered the effect that the colourist has on an artist’s work, but seeing Laclaustra’s work in this issue compared to his guest stint in “Unearthly Things” in last year’s The Twelfth Doctor # 11 really emphasises the difference it makes. I also love the attention of detail given to Laclaustra’s artwork, especially in those huge awe-inspiring double page spreads. The added coat of ‘grime’ given to Laclaustra’s artwork helps established the dilapidated streets of the Twist, evoking memories of The Hoop from Alan Moore's The Ballad of Halo Jones, another British sci-fi classic! I wonder if that series, and its eponymous female lead was an inspiration on Mann’s writing.


The change of writer and artist certainly adds a new tone to the Twelfth Doctor series, adding a touch of gravitas to proceedings following the events of the Season Nine finale. While Rachael Stott’s art is fantastic, it does have a more light-hearted feel to it that wouldn't have captured the same grittiness that Laclaustra’s art manages to. That said, there are definitely similarities between the two artists, especially when it comes to the depiction of the Twelfth Doctor, capturing Peter Capaldi’s mannerisms with alarming accuracy. George Mann’s storyline works well, riffing on classic science-fiction tropes of cramped, dystopian colonies of the future whilst introducing what appears to be werewolves as the storyline’s main threat. Mann also introduces a pair of potential companions to travel with the Twelfth Doctor during these comics set within the Season Nine hiatus. While it’s early days yet, I'm quite interested in seeing more from Hattie – the punk rocker from the 40th Century – as she offers a refreshing alternative to the usual companions usually featured on the TV series.

This was a very impressive start to a new status-quo for the Twelfth Doctor, and I'm surprised that there wasn't more fanfare on the cover to promote this as a jumping-on point for new and lapsed readers. For fans itching for more Doctor Who during the series’ hiatus, this is absolutely essential reading. With a cracking script from George Mann and beautifully cinematic art from Mariano Laclaustra, this is shaping up to be an excellent series-defining arc for the comic book. I cannot say enough good things about this issue, it is an excellent addition to the Doctor Who canon and deserves to be read by the entire fan-base! Titan Comics has proven itself to be impeccable with its ever-expanding Doctor Who range of comics, with each series offering readers something entirely different from the others. I’d argue that the Twelfth Doctor series is the one most likely to appeal to mainstream audiences, telling in-continuity tales about the current incarnation, so it is great to see it deliver some absolutely spell-binding stories.


Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 6 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 5

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 5
"The Fourth Wall"
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Marcio Menys

After a four-part storyline involving the Sea Devils, Robbie Morrison and Rachael Stott switch gears for a nice “done-in-one” which takes full advantage of the comic-book format to deliver a story that could never be told on the television. This isn't the first time that one of Titan Comics’ series has played about with the confines of the comic-book format – the Eleventh Doctor series did a whole adventure in reverse, and then a subsequent storyline that split the narrative in four ways across colour-coded panels. Here, Morrison actually references the comic book universe, bending the fourth wall from the outset with a Twelfth Doctor monologue not unlike the one from the beginning of “Before the Flood” – it’s quite an effective opener as the reader feels like they’re being addressed by the Doctor, only to turn the page and discover it is a comic-book reader within the tale itself. In fact, Morrison takes full advantage of that page turn to have a monster jump out at the reader, and I have to admit that it did take me aback whilst reading digitally on my tablet. A true “behind the sofa” moment in comic-book form!

As a Londoner and comic-book geek, I instantly recognised the Forbidden Planet London Megastore as the location being used for this storyline and Rachael Stott does a tremendous job at recreating the environment, both the interior of the store and the street on which it is located. It’s actually quite eerie reading a comic about a fictitious version of a place you frequently visit, and the attention to detail was amazing. It’s a nice touch and definitely adds to the story more than creating a generic comic-book shop would have. There’s also a fun scene where the Doctor de-constructs modern American comics, referencing Iron Man and Wonder Woman and comparing his own rogue’s gallery against them. There’s a fantastic energy to Stott’s artwork and as a super-fan herself, she is clearly enjoying every moment she is working on the series. It’s great to see her take on The Boneless, as she literally lifts them off the page and into our world.


Reusing the absolutely brilliant two-dimensional Boneless monsters from “Flatline” is a stroke of genius, as is transferring them from street graffiti into comic books. Morrison’s script crackles with wit and mirrors Jamie Mathieson’s own episode by removing the Doctor from the action, trapping him in a comic-book instead of the TARDIS, and focusing on Clara’s attempts to thwart the Boneless. As such, the comic feels like a genuine “spiritual successor” to “Flatline” and fans of that episode would do well to pick up this issue! It’s probably a coincidence, but I liked how the temporary companion for this episode resembled Pearl Mackie, who has been revealed to be playing Clara’s replacement, Bill, in the new series. In fact, I almost thought it was a sly cameo and sneak peek at the character until I realised her name was Natalie. Still, given how actors have cameoed in the show prior to their full appearance (Karen Gillan, Peter Capaldi and Freema Agyeman), I guess we could pretend that this was Pearl Mackie’s cameo, but in comic-book form!

This was an absolutely fantastic “done in one” adventure, and while I'm not normally a fan of breaking the Fourth Wall, it wasn't overused and made sense within the context of the story. I mean, even the television show does sly winks and nods to the camera – remember William Hartnell wishing us all a “Merry Christmas” during "The Daleks’ Masterplan"? I also loved the return of the Boneless as Robbie Morrison took the iconic creature and re-purposed them perfectly in the comic book world, much like how he took the Weeping Angels and relocated them to Mons during World War One in the excellent "Weeping Angels of Mons" storyline. While relying on popular monsters from the TV show could easily be a crutch for most writers, Morrison does simply trade on their names and instead builds interesting and different adventures that naturally develop the creatures. I'm really enjoying the work that this creative team are putting out, especially since it seems to be relatively self-contained as opposed to the ongoing narratives seen in the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor comic-book series. While all of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who output is absolutely spectacular, fans would do well to pick up this series for a monthly fix of Time Lord tales, especially given the current drought of televised Doctor Who stories.


Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 5 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 4

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 4
"Clara Oswald and the School of Death" - Part 4 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Ivan Nunes

Robbie Morrison and Rachael Stott bring their first story-arc together to an action-packed conclusion, as the Doctor and his companions attempt to prevent the Sea Devils from taking over the world. With all the narrative cards on the table, this final installment is largely driven by action set-pieces which allow Stott’s artwork to take the centre-stage, especially with the double-page spread that opens up the issue. There’s a sense of joy to Stott’s work and it’s clear that she’s enjoying the opportunity to work on the character, bringing her “A-game” to each and every panel. While I wasn't overly enamored with her redesign of the Sea Devils, I do love her take on the Twelfth Doctor, which captures his mellower Season Nine persona perfectly, and her interpretation of Clara is brilliant too, specifically the moment when she rescues the Doctor from the crumbling ruins of Ravenscaur School. There’s a strong energy to her work that really gels well with Morrison’s scripts, and I’m looking forward to seeing her conjure up more science-fiction settings for the Doctor and Clara to visit.

Morrison has weaved a really fun story over the past four issues, taking a few jabs at public-school mentality and David Cameron along the way. It’s interesting how the choice of artist can influence the tone of the story – with certain other artists, this could have been a much darker adventure, but Stott’s style manages to keep things upbeat and light-hearted throughout, reminiscent of the Russell T. Davies era of the show at times. It was also fun to see him reinvent the Sea Devils, bringing them forth into the “NuWho” era of the franchise with a new look and more aggressive personality, not unlike the recent reworking of the Ice Warriors and Silurians. I also liked the inclusion of Kate Stewart and Osgood – while neither of them contributed directly to the storyline, it was fun to see Morrison acknowledge the supporting cast. Perhaps we might even see the Paternoster gang in a future storyline too?


Overall, this was another strong storyline for the Twelfth Doctor comic series – on first appearance; this story-arc doesn't seem to be setting up a “big bad” for the Year Two of stories, which suggests that Morrison may be adopting a different format for this run of adventures, possibly focusing more on unconnected adventures, rather than tying them together with a theme as he did in the previous series. Rachael Stott has proven herself to be a worthy addition to the Titan Comics team, and she shows all the signs of a rising star in the comics industry and I hope her work on Doctor Who will increase her profile, as she is a real talent. With great scripts and fantastic art, this really is a golden age for fans of Doctor Who comics as Titan Comics are producing some absolutely brilliant spin-off media here that is just as important as the show itself. If you’re missing this, you’re missing out…


Score - 9.5 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 4 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 8th Doctor # 5 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 8th Doctor # 5 (of 5)
"A Matter of Life and Death"
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Emma Vieceli
Colours by: Hi-Fi

With this final issue of the Eighth Doctor miniseries, writer George Mann had the unenviable task of creating another standalone adventure through time and space that also served as a conclusion and thematically wrap-up to a miniseries of seemingly unconnected adventures. Balancing across a narrative double-edged sword, I was worried whether he would be able to pull off a satisfying conclusion to this laid-back jaunt through the past, present and future. Of course, my misgivings were proven wrong as Mann, along with series artist Emma Vieceli, delivered a strong finale to what has been one of the most delightful surprises of Titan Comics recent Doctor Who output.

With all the dexterity of a scripting ninja, George Mann starts off the adventure in a similar standalone fashion before revealing a shocking secret about the Doctor’s latest companion that throws the previous four adventures under a whole new light, even adding a dash of “timey wimey” goodness, thanks to a cameo from the Twelfth Doctor. Despite the juggling act of single issue plot-threads and the series’ over-arching loose ends, Mann never loses focus, with a strong script that keeps the reader on-board with every shocking revelation. Fans of the modern series will also notice a nice touch of foreshadowing with the Eighth Doctor’s solution to the Synth problem, mirroring the conclusion to “Forest of the Dead” and River Song’s eventual fate. The revelations surrounding Josie’s origins and her ties to the Doctor make perfect sense, really adding to the continuity of this mini-series and shedding new light on why these specific adventures were hand-picked by the Doctor.


Throughout the past five issues, Emma Vieceli has demonstrated an amazing skill as a storyteller, making use of varied panel shapes and sizes to add motion to her stories. She has been a fantastic addition to the Titan Comics roster of artists, accurately capturing the Eighth Doctor’s romanticism and energetic personality onto the page. Every issue of this series has been a joy to read, thanks to the joint efforts of Mann and Vieceli, as the writer and artist both work off each other’s strengths. When producing licensed material of a recognisable franchise such as Doctor Who, it is important to capture the atmosphere of the source material onto the page, and despite Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor only appearing twice on-screen, Mann and Vieceli have completely nailed his personality traits through his vocal tics and facial expressions. You can almost hear McGann’s distinctive cadence when you read Mann’s dialogue in your head – although, perhaps this is due to the wealth of audio adventures that McGann has starred in for Big Finish Productions.

While this series of adventures wraps up the loose plot-threads nicely, Mann wisely leaves the door open for more potential stories between the Eighth Doctor and Josie – something that hopefully Titan Comics will consider. While I doubt that the publisher could sustain another ongoing series alongside the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor comics, hopefully they will consider revisiting the Eighth Doctor for another mini-series once the upcoming Fourth Doctor miniseries comes to an end. Or maybe we will see the Eighth Doctor and Josie return for the next Doctor Who comics summer event? Hopefully, this experimental miniseries has proven to Titan Comics that there is an appetite for the classic Doctors out there, aside from the obvious ones, and we will see more obscure eras explored in future miniseries! I’m still pining for a Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe mini-series – complete with black and white artwork!


Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor # 5 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 3

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 3
"Clara Oswald and the School of Death" - Part 3 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Ivan Nunes

This penultimate episode of “Clara Oswald and the School of Death” is filled with the same chaotic energy of the preceding episodes as the Sea Devils, now unmasked before the Doctor and the reading audience, unveil their grand plan to influence political decisions regarding the environment. The more damage the Sea Devils can do to the eco-system via things like fracking and oil-framing, the more hospitable the Earth becomes to the creatures, enabling them to eradicate the human race and reclaim the planet for themselves. With the fictional Prime Minister Daniel Claremont sharing both the initials and a passing resemblance to real-life Prime Minister David Cameron, writer Robbie Morrison is able to use satire to make a statement about the environment policies of the Tory Party, as well as inferring that the private school elite are secretly cold-blooded lizards. I'm sure somewhere David Icke's ears are burning....

Rachael Stott continues to draw her heart out onto the page, showcasing her obvious love for the subject matter with every panel. You can tell from her artwork that this is a labour of love for her, and that passion is truly infectious. While I was initially unsure about the redesign of the Sea Devils, a brief bit of exposition for newcomers describes them as a warrior clan offshoot from the original incarnation of the creatures, complete with a lovely rendition of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor, Katy Manning's Jo Grant and Roger Delgado's Master from “The Sea Devils”. This falls in line with other alien races, such as the Silurians themselves and even the Ice Warriors, which have slightly differently designed variants, often based on rank and seniority. I loved seeing Stott's take on the Third Doctor's era that I sincerely hope that Titan Comics consider asking her to illustrate a miniseries based on that time in the show – perhaps once the Fourth Doctor miniseries concludes? There are so many potential time periods from the show's fifty-two years of continuity to choose from, Titan Comics could easily end up printing twelve ongoing series – although that might stretch the wallet's of even the most hardcore Whovian!


Morrison manages to keep the narrative moving at a brisk pace, quickly revealing the Sea Devils' plan and then promptly foiling it through the Doctor's ingenuity. However, the stakes are raised high in the final sequence of this issue and I wonder if the cameo from UNIT in this episode is a portend towards a more militaristic solution as seen in the classic Third Doctor adventure, “The Silurians”. As with the Silurian-based adventures, the Doctor points out that the Sea Devils have more claim to the Earth than the humans based on their pre-historic roots with the planet – however, while the Silurians were more open to negotiation, as seen in “The Hungry Earth” and “Cold Blood”, the Sea Devils appear more war-like than their land-dwelling cousins. I'm genuinely unsure of how the Doctor intends to defeat the armies of invading Sea Devils, although I suspect it will involve some sort of deus ex machina. While these new versions of the Sea Devils do come across like a mix of the Slitheen and the Silurians combined, they remain an interesting choice of monster and allow Morrison to rejuvenate a “forgotten foe” from the vaults – especially, one that is unlikely to return to the screens.

While initial episodes confirmed that this adventure took place during Season Nine, the appearance of the two Osgoods in this installment firmly places the adventure after the events of The Zygon Inversion”. With no new series of Doctor Who this year, the Twelfth Doctor comic series has the potential to fill the gap between Season Nine and Ten, possibly introducing new comics-only companions to replace Clara. If this does turn out to be the case, then Robbie Morrison's stories will become even more vital reading material for Doctor Who fans, offering the newest adventures of everyone's favourite time-lord until the show returns. As a relaunch of the Twelfth Doctor comic adventures, this storyline has done a tremendous job, capturing the spirit of Season Nine and bringing it to life on the page. Stott's artwork deserves all the praise it is getting, even from Peter Capaldi himself, as she captures the mannerisms and facial expressions inherent in the character. Quite simply, this series is the best medicine for any Whovians suffering Doctor Who withdrawal symptoms!


Score - 9.6 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 2

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor (Vol. 2) # 2
"Clara Oswald and the School of Death" - Part 2 (of 4)
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Art by: Rachael Stott
Colours by: Ivan Nunes

Wrapped up in an absolutely gorgeous Alex Ronald cover, this latest issue of the Twelfth Doctor series continues to deliver a dynamite storyline, thanks to the dynamic partnership of Robbie Morrison, Rachael Stott and Ivan Nunes. Ignoring chronology, much like the Doctor himself, I’m going to start off with the cliff-hanger reveal that the Sea Devils have returned – albeit in a modernised form, much like how the Silurians were revamped for “The Hungry Earth”. As soon as I saw that final page, my smug-o-meter nearly hit the roof, as I accurately predicted a revamp of the classic Sea Devils monster in my review for the previous issue. They are a fabulous enemy, and one of the first memories I have of watching Doctor Who from my childhood – as a result, I am slightly attached to their classic design and it may take a while for me to adjust to Rachael Stott’s re-imagining of the creatures.

The story itself feels like an amalgam of past Doctor Who stories, with the boarding school element reminiscent of “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood” and the alien species posing as members of the political elite coming straight from the Slitheen scheme from “Aliens of London” and “World War Three”. Also, the concept of an alien species manipulating children to achieve world domination was seen from the Krillitanes in “School Reunion”. Despite these ‘echoes’ of past storylines, Robbie Morrison manages to keep his script fresh and exciting – accurately hitting those classic Doctor Who story beats in the same way he has done in past stories such as “The Weeping Angels of Mons” and “The Fractures”. While all the writers of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who comic series are doing a fantastic job, Robbie Morrison’s work feels the most true to the spirit of the show.


Rachael Stott is fast achieving a reputation as a spectacular artist, and this issue offers further proof of that. Interestingly, the issue features a similar structure to the first, in that the Doctor and Clara are kept largely separate, with the Doctor finding himself outnumbered and in another scrape. Stott’s artwork captures the more light-hearted aspects of Peter Capaldi’s performance as the Twelfth Doctor, perfectly reflecting the slight change in his personality that occurred after Season 8’s conclusion. The sequence where the Doctor attempts to fight the disguised Sea Devils with a swordfish feels similar to his “spoon duel” with Robin Hood in “Robots of Sherwood” – another ‘echo’ that helps Morrison achieve his authentic Doctor Who flavour. Despite her natural affinity for the light-hearted sequences, Stott can also manage to generate tension and foreboding during some of the creepier sections, ensuring a strong balance between the humour and horror.

Overall, this was another kick-ass issue of the Twelfth Doctor comic adventures. I love the fact that Morrison is revisiting classic Doctor Who monsters, such as the Sea Devils, and giving them a new lease of life in this expanded universe canon. With appearances of Jack Harkness, River Song and even, Absalom Daak in the other Doctor Who comic series, it seems that Titan Comics is more willing to dig into the show’s rich continuity during this second year of stories, resulting in a more stronger line-up. Rachael Stott continues to woo my eyeballs with her wonderful artwork, and it’s clear that both creators have a true love for Doctor Who. It’s been a strong start for Year Two of the Twelfth Doctor adventures, and I am eager to see how Morrison and Stott plan to top this opening story-arc.


Score - 9.7 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor (Vol. 2) # 2 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...