Writer - Cavan Scott
Artist - Adriana Melo
Colorist - Matheus Lopes
Letterers - Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
Senior Editor - Andrew James
Assistant Editors - Jessica Burton + Gabriela Houston
Designer - Rob Farmer
Published April 13 2016, Titan Comics
Their epic encounters with the Unon and the Lect now some way behind them, the Ninth Doctor and his two human friends Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness are ready for trials and tribulations anew. A visit to a world, where the cult of a certain "Doctor Who" seems to have taken popular cultural entertainment and its consumers by storm, causes consternation for the last survivor of the great Time War between Time Lords and Daleks. As much as he has a healthy self-regard, he is not prepared to be the cause of such unbridled joy and reverence. But metallic beings with considerable weaponry are also operating close at hand, and this challenge may be up the centuries-old-hero's street to a greater extent.
The triumvirate of Rose, Captain Jack and the Christopher Ecclestone variant of the ever-enduring Doctor only had a small clutch of adventures on TV together (especially if taking into account that two-parters were always just the one overall story during that time of the show's history).
The decision to persist with this particular TARDIS team after the success of the mini-series was a wise one and most welcome to my mind. The lack of complete trust the Doctor and Jack have with one another, coupled with a grudging respect ensures that things are never that cosy. Rose's naivety on one hand, but great ability to empathise and give good counsel on the other, make her one of the best companions even to this day. Cavan Scott knows his Doctor Who as well as anyone and makes sure that the three core characters are front and centre and take the reader along with them on their journey full-bloodedly.
This is a relatively straightforward and no-frills action adventure beginning, but it also plays out in a coherent and meaningful fashion, which sometimes is a noticeably lacking trait when a TV tie-in product is concerned. The traditional cliffhanger is well done, even if to some long-term fans it trades of the much-used device of having 'an evil version' of one of the regulars.
We meet a good clutch of supporting characters who do their role in fleshing out the latest world the TARDIS has landed on, and it remains to be seen which play the largest role in the plot. Yani and Penny are two intriguing female players in the mix, the former being sweet and deferential, the latter having various hidden layers much alike an onion.
Dialogue is consistently up to the mark that the initial Russell T Davies series of modern Doctor Who was so celebrated for. I have repeatedly stated my regard for the Moffat/Capaldi era we are currently in (even with a noticeably longer season interregnum), but the work of the versatile RTD still sets respectably high standards to this day - whichever of the many forms Doctor Who fiction can take its form in.
The art here perhaps is still to win me over as much as I ideally would like it to. I was very impressed by the combined efforts of Blair Shedd and (on a semi-regular basis) Rachael Stott for the 2015 mini-series. Now, for this new arc taking place within a regular monthly series, Scott has been united with the services of Adriana Melo. Whilst the consistency and textures needed to tell a coherent visual narrative are all perfectly sound, they seem to portray the main three protagonists in a way I do not associate from my various memories onscreen. Taken as a different interpretation in its own right, there is nothing technically wrong. Sometimes a whole story, complete with its visual twists and turns, needs to play out in full for me to truly appreciate its merits. Hopefully this is such one instance in the ensuing 'episodes' to come.
My many years as a comic addict have involved just as much anticipation with the letters page section (complete with pithy responses from the editors), as with the main comic story itself. So it is welcome that Titan have opted to make views known in this somewhat traditional form, and bestow some small honour on devoted followers of these well-crafted tales. A clutch of three letters is included here this month, although it is actually Cavan Scott himself who kindly responds to comments on the stories he puts so much thoughtful work into.
Once again there are some nicely done (full-page) alternate covers, and (smaller-sized) previews for next months' allotted selection, and in generous quantity for this inaugural issue. These serve to demonstrate the many artistic voices that can be so finely aligned with the evergreen Doctor Who core concept.