Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Holiday Special #2 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 11 January 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Holiday Special #2 (Credit: Titan)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

49 Pages

Published by Titan Comics -  December 2019

The second and final part of the Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special comic from Titan is another case of writer Jody Houser (writer of this series) setting up something fun and at least mildly intriguing in one issue, but then we rush towards an ending in the second. Admittedly, this isn’t the worst offender by any stretch, but it is a pattern I have felt often during the run. The first issue had the heroes investigating their memories having been wiped and replaced, stumbling across tin soldier guards and elves...and a seemingly baddie Santa. This issue wraps it up, with the baddie Santa turning out to actually be Krampus (a yuletide monster that is being absolutely overused in media lately).

There have been quite a few direct to video Krampus movies, a pretty solid theatrical film, and even within Doctor Who media Krampus keeps popping up.  The character has shown up on audio with the Eighth Doctor, and has not only appeared in comic form via Doctor Who Magazine...but Titan themselves had a version already! In short: it’s been done to death and now it feels old hat. 

The issue is fine I suppose, but I have to admit that I lost interest when Krampus became the enemy. The story also hints that Santa may actually be real too. Which is silly but does hark back to a very old First Doctor comic in which the Doctor had to help Santa save the day. But that jokey wink isn’t really enough to make me care.

This issue not only wraps up the Holiday Special, but also serves as something of an ending for the Thirteenth Doctor’s first year of adventures in Titan’s pages. The next issue due out is the launch of “Year Two.” On the whole I haven’t been too impressed with this series. It set up interesting stories, but I often felt let down by the final issues.  It kept feeling like empty set up and then a rushed ending. The art is great, the stories have potential, and from the opening issue they had capture the character’s voices...but there never seemed to be enough meat in those bones to make a proper stew. Maybe Year Two will improve on this...but based on Houser’s work so far, I am unsure if she has any way to put a structure to hold her neat ideas on. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Holiday Special #1 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 20 December 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Holiday Special #1 (Credit: Titan)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

49 Pages

Published by Titan Comics -  November 2019

Christmas Specials may no longer be a major part of the TV series, but Doctor Who can't completely escape the holiday. Titan Comics has decided to fill the void by offering up its own holiday story featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her cohorts.

The gang is plotting their next trip, but when they discuss the possibility of a carnival or amusement park, they recount the last time they made such a trip, but their memories don't line up at all. They each have their own version of what happened on a certain trip, and the Doctor needs to know why.  So they head off to investigate.  It takes them to a planet they don't recognize but based on their encounter with a being from that planet they had been there before.  And this leads them to a castle with Santa Claus who has nutcracker robots or something.  They are jailed for calling him Santa though. 

It's only the first half of the story, with the second half to be resolved in the next issue.  It's a fine set up, but Santa Claus has certainly been covered in Who of Christmas past (both on TV and in the comics of yesteryear). While it is nice for those missing the Christmas Special to have something, even a comic, to fill the hole...I can't say I am terribly bothered by the loss of the Christmas special.  I always enjoyed them, but the show was clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to Christmas themed episodes. They did 13 of them, and I think the theme had run its course. The Doctor can't always bump into an adventure with killer Christmas Trees, Robot Santas, evil Snowmen...or just get lazy with it and call the town Christmas just to get it out of the way.  I'm fine with the show moving on.

That all said, this is so far a decent start to the story, and I am hopeful that for once this team manages to end a story and not rush to the ending. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #12 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #12  (Credit: Titan)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Rachel Stott
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

30 Pages

Published by Titan Comics Septembet 2019

The Cosair storyline wraps up in Issue Twelve of Titan’s Thirteenth Doctor comic book. I can’t say I’ve been enamored with this story. The Cosair has felt like such a cliche. And while there was some interesting ties to earlier stories with the re-introduction of the Hoarder...it all wraps up so fast it felt rather lame. I will spoil the ending, so read no further if that worries you...but my main recommendation is that this story isn’t worth it.

The Doctor and the Cosair are in a cell discussing their predicament and their life choices. After a heart to heart, the Doctor frees them with the sonic (she waits until the heart t heart is over to admit she can do it). They then rescue the companions, who seem to be hanging in a birdcage below the Cloud City from “The Empire Strikes Back.” Then just call up the Time Agents from earlier stories who arrest the Hoarder. That it. He is arrested and the Cosair sails off in her Space Sailboat.

It feels like they have some intriguing set ups in the Thirteenth Doctor book, but the endings always feel rushed and underwhelming. This story has felt especially underwhelming. It’s a shame because they’ve got great art and the voices of these characters nailed...but the storytelling has left something to be desired.





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #11 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 19 August 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
hirteenth Doctor - Issue #11 (Credit: Titan)
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini & Comicraft

32 Pages

Published by Titan Comics August 2019

The Doctor and her gang help the Cosair out with their first joint heist...and the artifact turns out to be far more impressive: a Star Whale.  But there is clear tension as the Doctor is unsure of the Cosair's motives, or who her employer is.  Things only get more difficult when the authorities show up, and hte Cosair abandons the Doctor's friends to get the Star Whale out with the Doctor's TARDIS.  The Doctor was certainly not happy to leave her friends behind, but was even more upset to discover who the employer actually is: The Hoarder.

Overall I would say I have only mildly enjoyed the Thirteenth Doctor comic book.  I haven't loved every issue or truly eaten it up in the same way I enjoy reading the Doctor Who Magazine ongoing strip...but I do enjoy it. I find it entertaining but not exceptional. But I do enjoy how Jody Houser has continually tied her stories together.  The first story was quite good, and while the second was underwhelming, it did tie into the first with the two time travellers fro mthe opening story returning.  Now the third story has kicked off, and the antagonist from the opening story has returned. It's nice to see the continuity, even if I am not blown away by every issue. 

This issue does a decent job of building the story, and upping the stakes. It isn't a brilliant story, but it is well told, entertaining enough, and has good artwork.  In short: it gets the job done. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #10 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 16 August 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
hirteenth Doctor - Issue #10 (Credit: Titan)Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini & Viviana Spinelli

32 Pages

Published by Titan Comics July 2019

In the latest issue of the Thirteenth Doctor, we get to know the Cosair, the Doctor’s old Time Lord friend first mentioned in “The Doctor’s Wife.” She is essentially a thief with a heart of gold, and while the Doctor initially tries to get the Cosair to return the item she stole in the previous issue, the Cosair convinces the Doctor that she us stealing items for the right reasons, returning artifacts to their original homes for a third party. 

The previous issue gave the loosest of set ups for this story, with the Doctor accused of theft and then tracking the real thief. This installment sets up the real plot of the storyline, which is that it is going to be a heist story of some kind, with the Doctor probably having conflicts with her old friend in order to pull it off. 

It is a fine issue, even if I have so far found the Cosair to be a fairly generic swashbuckling anti-hero type. Perhaps more layers to the character will arrive as the issues come. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #8 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 24 June 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #8 (Credit: Titan)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Rachel Stott
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

30 Pages

Published by Titan Comics 22nd May 2019 

The latest arc involving alien flesh eaters and a mysterious podcast gets wrapped up in the latest issue of the The Thirteenth Doctor. It wraps the story up in a nice quiet bow.  For a story that was about trekking through various time periods to solve a mystery, it ends in a surprisingly simple way.  The reveal of who is behind the podcast seems pretty obvious, but it doesn't really play it as some extra big threat.  

Overall I would say this story was decent and could be a good read, but it also feels like they just tired of the plot, and wrapped it up quickly to move on.  I'm not sure there was a better way to end the story, but I can't help but feel like the initial reveal that something bigger and more mysterious was going on than a simple threat of alien flesh eaters feels dry and forgettable in the way the story concludes.  

Once again the art has been great, the characters are all there in the writing, but the plot just doesn't seem like it truly came together for Jody Houser this time.  There were solid premises but no real meat to it.  I mean it ended and I had no feelings about it whatsoever. I wouldn't even call it a unsatisfying conclusion, just a totally forgettable one.  

Luckily, a new issue will come and with it a brand new story.  Hopefully the next one will reignite the flame.