Anytime a TV show is adapted into a comic I get a little nervous. Though both mediums function on an episodic format, they’re still very different in structure and story progression. Sometimes it works incredibly well and other times… well you end up scorning the comic’s existence. Previously when the Doctor Who license was held by IDW I had attempted to read some of the material and found it to be unenjoyable and frankly bad in both story and art. Because of that I again couldn’t help but be nervous about this series. Also launching this week is Titan’s Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor which is another cause for concern. Two Doctor Who titles with a third on its way? Could they be that different given the fact that they both see the Doctor picking up a new companion and exploring adventures in-between other adventures. Ultimately I ended up reading The Eleventh Doctor first; part of it was to preserve the Tenth Doctor a little longer and another part was because Matt Smith’s version of the character was fresh in my memory still.
The story actually begins with our new companion Alice Obiefune as she’s burying her mother. We see how Alice’s life has changed because of this and art is brilliantly all in grey. Alice’s mood is grey and so the matching artwork really captures her depression. Things in her life begin to fall apart as she loses her job and her landlord gives her the end of the month to leave before he sells the building. Her life is really in the dumps.
One day while walking the same path she looks over and sees a colorful alien dog and The Doctor following it. Of course she doesn’t know the Doctor yet, but she’s about to get an introduction. The alien dog runs up to her and barks at her before running off. The Doctor calls to Alice and tells her not to just stand there, but to hurry up and help him. This is how Alice and the Doctor meet… chasing an alien dog.
Writer’s Al Ewing and Rob Williams manage to capture Matt Smith’s mannerisms and delivery as you can really here Smith’s voice in the dialogue. That was probably the most impressive thing about the entire comic, the fact that it really came across as Matt Smith aka the Eleventh Doctor.
The other impressive feat that the writing team managed was Alice. Alice is their character sure, but that also means that there’s no template for her voice. There’s no way of knowing how the TV character would respond to Alice and yet she fit right in to the universe and she was different. She isn’t like other companions that have been whisked away by the Doctor’s bravado and charm. Instead he relates to her sadness, even if she doesn’t know it. She's so extremely sad that an alien dog that feeds off of depression ran up and had a full meal just standing in her presence; Alice fits in nicely with this story and I look forward to more stories that revolve around her.
The art is the right match for the story. Simon Fraser can draw strange and normal and frankly the opening sequence of no color to full color is beautiful and moving. My one and only complaint about Fraser’s art is the way he drew the Doctor’s mouth. It looks as if he’s attempting to draw the way Matt Smith moves his mouth, but it ends up looking very unnatural and strange. Otherwise his rendition of the Tardis and the world of Doctor Who was wonderful to see and leaps and bounds better than the art on previous Doctor Who comics. Colorist Gary Caldwell deserves equal praise for the coloring and for the opening. Fraser gives the emotion and Caldwell brings it out so no one can miss it.
For a Doctor Who fan I would definitely recommend checking this issue out. I’m looking forward to this series even more now and can’t wait to see what happens to Alice next on her journey with the Doctor. If you’re not a Doctor Who fan I don’t know if it will resonate with you the same way, but it’s still a well-written/plotted issue with great art and it might just make a fan out of you.
Writers: Al Ewing & Rob Williams Artist: Simon Fraser Colorist: Gary Caldwell Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital