New Adventures With The Tenth Doctor #11- Fountains Of Forever Part 1Bookmark and Share

Friday, 20 November 2015 - Reviewed by Dan Collins
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #11 (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artists: Elena Casagrande
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Beancourt
Colourist: Arianna Florean
Editor: Andrew James
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: June 10, 2015

Last issue Gabby defeated the Shreekers but now she faces a bigger challenge:  mending things with her BFF Cindy. Is there room for a third wheel now that Gabby’s hanging around with the Doctor? As they attempt to sort things out, the Doctor tracks down some out of this world artifacts that are being auctioned off on the black market.  

Before getting into the ups and downs of this issue, there’s a big change to be noted. After finishing the Weeping Angels of Mons storyline, Robbie Morrison wrote a filler standalone issue for #10 before relinquishing the writing duties to Nick Abadzis. This is the first part of the next storyline that will take us through the end of the first year of these 10th Doctor comic book adventures.

This story gets off to a dramatic start but it’s more like Keeping Up WithThe Kardashians than Gone With The Wind. The very first page has a giant panel of Cindy’s pouty face while she is texting Gabby calling her a “bad friend.” That angst filled message is just a device to keep the main characters in New York for another adventure, but it ends up being one of the more annoying moments in this issue.  I had a lot of trouble identifying with these two characters, especially Cindy. All of their early panels together feel like bad reality TV, full of superfluous drama that does nothing for me as a reader. It’s only later when Gabby starts to understand her relationship with the Doctor that things become interesting. Those epiphanies won’t be new to the reader though, we’ve seen them before on the silver screen.  Moreover, after Cindy’s petulant start to this issue, I had already decided that I didn’t like her and nothing in the rest of the comic changed my mind. My only hope is that her character is meant to be irritating and grating and that as this story moves toward its resolution she will find herself becoming the hero much like Gabby did in the last issue.

So, one storyline feels like filler but what of the other? The Doctor gets off to a decent start, strolling through the city singing “New York, New York” and name checking Joey Ramone and the CBGB club as he tries to barge into the secret auction. As he thumbs through a catalogue of junk being sold off as alien artifacts he has a clobbering run in with a professional acquirer. Cleo has made a living stealing items of interest and selling them off to private collectors. She’s here looking for one particular device that offers its user a “fountain of youth.” The technology is too dangerous to allow in human hands, so the Doctor decides to team up Cleo to recover it. He forgets rule number one, don’t trust a mercenary, and ends up being betrayed by her multiple times.

I found this issue to be a somewhat challenging read. The entire secondary storyline with Cindy and Gabby didn’t hold my interest. Watching the Doctor on the trail of a deadly alien device should have been an enjoyable romp, but it wasn’t. I was irritated that Cleo kept making a fool of our hero and that he had ever trusted her in the first place. The artwork did its job but nothing above and beyond. The real saving grace to this story is the final two pages when the Doctor finds himself on the wrong end of the fountain of youth device. The last couple panels all but guarantee that you are going to come back for another installment. I’m hoping that things pick up in the next issue and that this is just a rough start to a new arc with a new writer.

Bonus Comic Strip: A Rose By Any Other Name by Rachael Smith

The Doctor is still depressed over losing Rose-The-Human so he immerses himself in the sitcom Chums. Rose-The-Cat tries to convince him that there are better things for him to do with his time, but instead finds herself completely enamoured with the show as well. After wallowing in self-pity for a long time the Doctor realizes that he isn’t good for anything anymore prompting his feline friend to suggest they travel back in time to when he was good at something. I thought this humour strip tucked away at the end of the main comic was enjoyable and poignant.