WRITER: Rob Williams
ARTIST: Warren Pleece
LETTERER: Richard Starkings + Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
DESIGNER - Rob Farmer
EDITOR - Andrew James
ASSISTANT EDITOR- Kirsten Murray
COVER BY: Simon Fraser
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2015
A new set of adventures begin for our heroes, opening with a visit to Berlin garnering unwelcome attention from some East German soldiers. Soon, a near-fatal experience in space faces the Doctor and Jones before a mysterious 'non-comet' consumes the TARDIS. It threatens to break down the Doctor's ship in a permanently destructive fashion. But then the strange comet heads for Earth!
Just why is the TARDIS seemingly putting up no fight against the flames of the comet? And how can ARC assist, given his connection to the Entity? A whole different ball game may play out on the ground level of our small blue-green world, and some not-so-friendly acquaintances of the Doctor's are poised to make their presence known.
Yet another winner would be my immediate assessment for this story. Things certainly get off to a flying start as we see the Doctor and Jones bantering whilst on a motorbike chased by East Germans who may well believe they have Western spies to apprehend. On a personal level to me, the Cold War will always have much resonance so I was glad to see a (brief) call-back to such times in one of Titan's ongoing comic book lines.
Furthermore, this latest designated team of creative talents on the Eleventh Doctor line do a great job, and make Conversion a fine 'jumping on ' point for those unfamiliar with either this series or Titan Comics various output in general.
Warren Pleece was last involved with the two-parter storyline of Issues 7 and 8. While not working for this title a number of months he seems to have gone away and acquired more insight into the very quirky (but enthralling) style that Doctor Who is meant to have. I found his panels showing the bike/helicopter chase a great 'grab' at the start. Also the later sections with the Roman soldiers and the melting TARDIS control room shone brightly as examples of how to tell an action story with real purpose and thematic depth to it.
There is a barnstorming cliffhanger to bridge into issue 13, tying in with the story's title and featuring a race of foes that the Doctor may ever so slightly tire of given his long-term association with them.
With much adherence to the Matt Smith era's style clearly evident, this effort builds further on the strong televisual foundations, due to the huge scope afforded by the comic book medium. By this point I have come to expect writer Rob Williams to produce gold for the huge extended universe that is this franchise. His choice of giving Romans a part in proceedings is also fitting given their memorable role in the Series 5 finale The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang.
A lot of set-up is done in this issue, and is successful; making us care for the rather hapless tin-plated soldiers who may wield a sword well enough, but could never grasp the basics of machine gun or space ray weaponry. How the Entity will make the returning monsters for this new storyline operate in a different fashion to before remains to be seen. Given the previously clever use of twists and 'added spice' to well worn tropes in earlier stories for this TARDIS crew, I except very good things.
Bonus Humour Strip:
Marc Ellerby is a consistently sparky writer month-in month-out. Here he produces a fun one page work focusing on a game of football at Leadworth. Bow-Ties For Goal Posts features just the Doctor and Rory this time round, with a brief reference to River Song. I did find the lack of knowledge by the Doctor of this far-reaching sport a little odd, especially given his direct use of a football several times on TV (e.g. with Craig in The Lodger) . Perhaps he was coming of a draining recent adventure and his considerable set of memories was clouded briefly? But a cleverly done X-Men reference more than makes up for this.