Revolutions of Terror (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 25 August 2014 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
Titan Comics' Doctor Who series for the 10th Doctor
Revolutions of Terror
New Adventures with the Tenth Doctor
Issue 1
Written by Nick Abadzis
Illustrated by Elena Casagrande
Released 2014 by Titan Comics

This brand new series from Titan Comics allows all devotees of the Tenth Doctor to have some fresh adventures with the massively popular character that David Tennant brought to life. It is written by Eisner Award-winning Nick Abadzis (Laika) and visualised by fan-favourite artist Elena Casagrande (Angel, Suicide Risk, Star Trek) with colours by Arianna Florean.

Any newcomers to Doctor Who in general are provided with an introductory text on what the Doctor, the TARDIS and the sonic screwdriver are all about. There is also a brief reminder of the Doctor now being alone again, having had to sacrifice his friendship with Donna to save her.

Gabriella Gonzalez is the focus of this opening issue, along with various other residents of New York city looking forward to Halloween. She is a bright and lively young lady with clear potential in the real world. However Miss Gonzalez is rather weighed down by the inescapably tedious work that she must do for her family's restaurant business, along with a post in a Laundromat. Although she still determinedly goes to night school for accountancy training, something has got to give in her life. And it is anything but what she would expect.

The most notable of Gabby's family is arguably the irascible Hector, who at one point looks to pay the price for being brusque and dismissive. However Abadzis wrong foots the reader and you are left wondering what perhaps instead will occur in terms of this character's arc. A distinctive character outside of the main family unit is Councillor Ricardo Mendoza - who is allowing a ceremony to take place on the day of the dead and may possibly play a larger role in future instalments, perhaps as a villain or perhaps something else that is rather more 'grey' in nature.

Tennant's doctor is sidelined to the extent that we see the cheery and almost too careless persona that he habitually assumes in the initial stages of his adventures. Of course long-term fans of the show can trust that the sterner and more imposing side of the tenth Doctor is not far away and hints are given by his response to the monsters who begin to appear suddenly on the subway. Since the Doctor and Gabriella only meet at the very end - despite being in the same building somwhat earlier on - we will have to see how this latest addition to the doctor/companion dynamic will be.

This story understandably chooses to follow the formula that former TV producer Russell T Davies adhered to - when introducing a new companion in a season's opening episode. There is a considerable amount of story devoted to the Gonzalez family, their issues and some of the past deeds which perhaps should now be hidden - except that supernatural forces have other ideas. Despite the Tenth Doctor being a 'supporting act' he is still magnetic and engaging. There appears to be no surface pain despite his sadness over Rose being now with a mortal clone of himself, and Donna's cruel fate.

The themes of American history and sociology through the context of earlier generations of working classes labouring makes the overall story more substantial. In terms of there actually being 'Revolutions of Terror' - there is the backdrop of the 'Day of the Dead' festival that Mexicans around the world partake in. Given how Gabriella is scared early on by a flood in the Laundromat, and how her family past may tie in directly with the paranormal forces, there is a really effective creepy atmosphere. Having Halloween be taking place co-incidentally is a smart move by Abadzis who clearly appreciates Doctor Who's long-standing remit to be frightening.

The art is certainly striking and easy on the eye, serving the tone of the story well. Casagrande's past experience with Doctor Who comics shows and all the new characters that are involved are easily distinguished from one another. It is also believable that the large Mexican family are all related by sharing certain facial and behavioural traits. There is little immediate threat in terms of any characters being killed off, the closest we get to it being random bystanders being transformed into the various monsters instead.

Indeed the very authentic struggles of a young person trying to establish herself as a self-sufficient adult form the real heart of the story that we get so far. The comic reads well throughout, doesn't try to be too clever or deep but feels like a lot of time and attention has been put into it. I can only hope it will go from strength to strength.

Featuring at the end is an extra bonus with a Sontaran stand up comic performing an act to a full audience of his fellow clones. This comedian is rather less friendly to the Doctor than Strax, but still amusing. A smart reference to the Rutan in Horror of Fang Rock pops up for fans of the classic series, and indeed this one page extra would be perfectly at home with similar comedic pieces that feature in daily newspapers.