Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Year Three #11Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 December 2017 - Reviewed by Dustin Pinney
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Year Three #11 (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Giorgia Sposito
Publisher: Titan Comics
FC - 32pp
On sale: November 22, 2017

Why can’t the Doctor stay still? Like Sherlock Holmes, does the Time Lord’s mind begin to atrophy without constant, bewildering stimulation? Is that why the universe has become home, with all its random, confounding chaos and beauty? Or, is it because staying in one place means that somewhere out there, without the Doctor, disaster is allowed to fester unimpeded?

The Tenth Doctor Year Three #11 implies an answer to the Doctor’s restless nature through companion Cindy. While Gabby is learning to tame the destructive power within her, best friend Cindy is going stir crazy. As wonderful as Zhe’s private moon over Ouloumos is, there’s only so much impossibility one can witness before it becomes mundane.

She eggs the Doctor on, fishing for an admission of boredom. Sure there’s a busted robot to tinker with, but that isn’t an adventure. The Doctor should be out there saving planets while preventing the Tardis from being sucked into a black hole, and trying to resurrect a broken robot at the same time.

It’s the promise the Doctor made to Gabby that keeps them there. In one eventuality Gabby was abandoned and her loneliness turned her into the Vortex Butterfly. The Doctor can’t allow that to happen. Yet Cindy is right. Their stay has turned dull, and the pair dash off for a short trip to pick something up to help with the robot repairs. Here is when we, the Doctor, and Cindy, learn the consequences of staying put for too long.   

Giorgia Sposito’s art is delightful as always. It strikes the perfect balance between fun animation, and spot on reality. The artist includes just enough detail to give the world real depth, while leaving room for the imagination, turning the reader into an active participant in the storytelling.

The real strength in Abadzis’ writing is the character interplay, themes and story momentum. He allows characters to speak to each other like people. Cindy and Gabby are properly flawed and courageous. Scenes play out naturally, without the need of constant running and shouting exposition. When something big happens, as they do in the second half of issue 11, it is earned and not a desperate attempt to raise the stakes.

Like many of the Tenth Doctor comics, the plots are simple, easy to follow, and packed with the kind of jubilant energy you’d expect from the Tenth Doctor. Some of the details, however, are more complicated and tough to get a hold on. Gabby’s abilities seem to make sense, but how it all works is fairly elusive. Which is not a major problem, it’s just that so much time is devoted to discussing it that exactly what’s going on and how it’s affecting her is a tad muddled.

The short backup story this issue is an adorable return of Donna and the Adipose.