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Titan Comics Review – The Thirteenth Doctor #1

For the past four-years, Titan Comics have been publishing brand new Doctor Who comics. We’ve had a series for all the modern era Doctors as well as short runs for the 3rd, 4th and 7th Doctors. Now though, Titan is publishing brand new Thirteenth Doctor comics, not quite tying in with the release of her first episode, the debut issue is certainly a strong one and a bold new direction for the publisher from the strong creative cast working on this title.

One of the variant covers for The Thirteenth Doctor #1
One of the variant covers for The Thirteenth Doctor #1

SETTING THE STAGE

Writer Jody Houser kicks things off by introducing us to a couple of time-travelling scientists turned thieves, trying to steal a painting from a gallery in 1999. It turns out later that they work for some large skeletal creature who needs the painting for something. The rest of the comic sees the Doctor, Ryan,  Yaz and Graham encountering a fantastic living nebula travelling through space and then encountering a strange portal which someone is getting through, to meet the Doctor.

There are some cool little nods and easter eggs planted through the pages, the biggest of which is one of the scientists, Perkins, has opened the portal and travelled through it using a sabotaged Vortex Manipulator. During Rosa, The Doctor met a villain called Krasko who carried and used the device, as did Captain Jack during Doctor Who and later Torchwood. Could this all be a coincidence or could Houser be building up to something cool and exciting somewhere down the line? Part of me hopes so, maybe we will meet Krasko again and get some reasoning behind his actions in Rosa. Or maybe Captain Jack will be coming back. But the new series has taught me that things like this are just easter eggs and nods to things have come before.

Hopefully, though, Houser will expand on the elements of The Time Agency. We know Captain Jack worked for them and it seems to be a strange thing for a character like Perkins to own if the story doesn’t tie in with something like that later on down the line.

One of the interior pages of The Thirteenth Doctor #1, demonstrating the stunning art and colours
One of the interior pages of The Thirteenth Doctor #1, demonstrating the stunning art and colours

BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK

What really sold this issue to me, beyond the strong opening script was the fantastic artwork from Rachael Stott and colourist, Enrica Eren Angiolini. The likeness of actors Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole is astonishing. Titan Comics have always been great at finding artists who capture the likenesses our favourite Doctor Who characters but I have read a few issues hear-and-there where the art just hasn’t been up to the job. That isn’t the case here though and The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham look as lovely and alive as they do on screen.

Angilolini makes sure each page is just breathtaking. The colours really pop off the page and the quality of the paper really allows it to shine. I especially liked the pages set inside the new TARDIS. I don’t like the interior on screen but the pencils and inking really made me wish I could be lit like this on screen. I’m sold on the interior in the comics now they have to make me like it on screen!

Geeky readers like myself will also notice that the TARDIS uses a twenty-sided dice of the sort used in the game Dungeons and Dragons. Its touches like that, I really like to see on the TARDIS console. Well done.

OVERALL

Issue One is a really strong start for the new series of comics with the Thirteenth Doctor. The script is fantastic, the art is astonishingly good and the colouring is so bright and fantastic that I loved it from start to finish. I really struggled to get into the other Modern Doctor comics and I thought that might happen again. But not so, the Thirteenth Doctor comic has got off to a great start and I can’t wait to see where this series goes…