If you haven’t been reading and following Titan Comics’ Doctor Who comics than you’re missing out. They have exceeded where the previous publisher IDW failed. I know that’s harsh, but when I got into Doctor Who my first thought was, “great, now I can read all those IDW comic books.” Well I didn’t read all of them, but I certainly read enough to know that I didn’t like was I was reading and didn’t want any more. I had that same fear with Titan and as much as I’ve enjoyed the majority of their releases, I was ready to toss it out with the trash should it go south. Thankfully it didn’t. Then came the question of, “well can they really do two Doctor Who series and not just have it be the same thing in both?” The answer to that is a resounding, “Yes.” They can in fact have two (with a third pending release) Doctor Who series that are completely different. I know that still sounds like an impossibility because they’re both about a madman in a box traveling through space and time with a companion. Sure they have different personalities and you’d think, “well that’s how they’re different”, but you’d be wrong.
It’s the companions. They’re completely different from one another and it’s those differences that make the different Doctors series unique from one another.
Another strong difference is the way that the stories are structured and in a way each mirrors the way the story was told in their own seasons. With the Tenth Doctor the story from the first issue has continued into the second, whereas the story in this issue is a standalone that ties into a larger arc. The events of the issue are localized to this chapter, but much like the Matt Smith run of the TV series, it’s feeding into a bigger plot that will be dealt with later.
So where have the Doctor and Alice landed? Rokhandi World which the Doctor describes as one of the most beautiful planets in the universe… but then why is he yelling at a mascot for a theme park? Well it seems in typical Doctor fashion he’s overshot the year and the political climate of the planet changed and they basically gutted it and turned the majority of it into a theme park. A theme park where even the employees are extremely happy… extremely! They’re so happy that the Doctor must get to the bottom of it.
The story is pretty short and simple, but it works because it builds the characters and introduces us to a larger plot that’s very interesting. Mostly because the people we’re dealing with already know more than us and the Doctor, which should prove interesting.
I really enjoy the character development between the Doctor and Alice. The Doctor gives a great monologue about the planet and while he’s said he overshot the year, his knowledge of the events are very detailed and even if Alice doesn’t realize it there were some parallels to her life and situation on the planet.
The art has a Frank Quietly feel to it that works well with the story. Simon Fraser continues to capture the essence of Matt Smith, without making it weird. It could easily be this strange photo referenced face attached to a comic book body, but instead Fraser finds a balance that works. There were some scenes that lacked a lot of fine detail and depth. Part of this is the line work and the other part is the coloring which is flat and basic in many places. There are times when it’s really good, but unfortunately it’s just not consistent.
I may end up liking one of these Doctor Who series more than the other, but for now they’re on par with each other in the best of ways. It’s been a long time since I read a licensed property as a comic and actually enjoyed it, yet alone two of them based on the same property. Whatever Titan and the creative team are doing to produce this I hope they keep doing it.
Writer: Al Ewing Artist: Simon Fraser Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/10/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital