The Ninth Doctor Mini-Series - Issue OneBookmark and Share

Monday, 6 April 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
 Ninth Doctor #1 (Credit: Titan)

Writer - Cavan Scott,
Artist - Blair Shedd,

Color Flats - Jesse Durona

Letterer - Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt

Editor - Andrew James

Assistant editor - Kirsten Murray

Designer - Rob Farmer

Weapons Of Past Destruction - Part One

 

This brand-new adventure directly follows the Doctor's cathartic experience of ensuring that "Everybody Lives" despite the terrors of Blitz-torn London and some misguided nanogenes. Now he intends to show his younger friends the wonders of planet Excroth, at a time of 'enlightenment' and 'artistic freedom'.

But things are very much not to plan, as is often the way for the Last Of The Time Lords. And it would appear that powerful technology that once belonged to the Doctor's people has somehow emerged from the Time War and into the galaxies' black market instead. And this could mean that another major war could end in the most disastrous of ways...

This mini series will be with us for a number of months, and starts so strongly that I dearly wish we had a fully-fledged monthly title to join the others in the range. But some is better than none, and given Christopher Eccleston's determination to stay away from any Doctor Who projects this is one of the easier ways to get some new visual material that will remind people just why the very first series of modern Doctor Who was such a firm success.

Having the trio of the Doctor, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness was a smart move as onscreen they only had three adventures together before the sudden regeneration into Tennant's Doctor, and the abandonment of the 'un-killable' Jack,

This storyline really could not be any easier to follow, but that is quite welcome in an opening issue. In any case the characterisation and dialogue more than make up for the rather basic plot, and show a dynamic where the Doctor and Jack are clearly not comfortable with one another and both feel they offer more to Rose than the other. This story is designed to be read with the recent events of 'The Doctor Dances' in mind, so the 'chummy' camaraderie seen in 'Boom Town' is yet to be the order of the day.

 

Whilst the heady banter between the two seasoned time travellers works fine, there is room for improvement. Perhaps the wonderfully relatable Rose has been left with material that is a bit too 'old-school' in style, as she just asks questions relating to the oddness around her, with the odd pithy line thrown in to bring some levity to the drama. As many recall, she has by this point in the show proven herself to the Doctor unquestionably. Hopefully she gets to be more positively proactive in later events to come.

The ending sequence is believable enough given the characterisation that has been presented to the reader, and no doubt many will speculate just how apparent disaster can be overcome as the cliff-hanger ending throws a real game changer into play.

As Cavan Scott elegantly manoeuvres events and no doubt has a number of ways to bolster the story arc over the course of a generous helping of five instalments. There is a scattering of material which only leaves us with more questions, such as the effect of time on events, and why the technology of Gallifrey has come to be in this location and point in history.

The visual work from Blair Shedd is very strong indeed, with Jesse Durona's colours helping create a visual treat. I would venture that the end product is even more impressive than the sterling work done on the Twelfth Doctor line. As can be hoped for, these protagonists look and 'feel' very much like the wonderfully lively people presented on the small screen a decade ago. I almost forgot I was reading something that is trying to get noticed on the very competitive comic book market; instead I had  flashbacks to those Saturday nights when Doctor Who was finally back on UK TV screens and seemingly for the long term as well. All thanks to the brilliant efforts of Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, Phil Collinson and many others.

            What worked especially well for this reviewer was the decision to have a number of silhouette panels; a technique that I have seen sparingly in the past from various comic book lines. To me they fit the tone and themes of this story handsomely. Also the variety of panels, size of images, and use of different scales as required for establishing events and characters also manages to work most effectively.

 

BONUS HUMOUR STRIPS:

On offer is just the one story this time - entitled 'TARDIS Holiday'. This is notable in being done as two linked episodes that occupy the latter pages of the comic. AJ writes and draws another amusing piece, where his distinctive 3D artwork stands out in a comparatively simple story. The TARDIS crew - identical to that in the main story - have decided to go somewhere special to break up the usual fare of monsters and/or political intrigue. However achieving an end result that will please all three of them is far easier said than done.