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.





The Paternoster Gang - Heritage 2 (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 4 December 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Paternoster Gang: Heritage 2 (Credit: Big Finish)
Writer: Guy Adams, Gemma Arrowsmith, & Dan Starkey
Director: Ken Bentley
 
Featuring: Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart, & Dan Starkey

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released October 2019

Running Time: 4 hours

The Paternoster Gang returns for their second boxset, titled Heritage 2. So far I’ve not really latched onto any real theme or links between the boxsets or even any episodes, so why they’ve subtitled it Heritage, and even gone so far as act as if this is a sequel to the first set, I have no idea. They don’t need to be linked, just release a boxset of random adventures, who really cares?

This set I overall found less interesting than the first. The opening story (Dining with Death) was especially drab. It felt so bog standard. A couple of warring alien races who despise each other trying to find some sort of diplomatic solution, and somehow Madame Vastra becomes their mediator. The two races feel vastly different about everything! What one finds mormal the other finds appalling...how will they find common ground. I’ve forgotten most of the details already.

The second story, The Screaming Ceiling, I found to be the best of the set. It has a creepy old house that may be alive and eating people. Not too far from feeling like fairly standard Who fare, but it was well executed at the very least.

The set concluded with a story about the legend of the titular Spring-Heeled Jack. A man or creature from British lore that had batwings, spit blue fire, red glowing eyes, and could leap higher than most men. It’s exactly the sort of legend you expect Who to explore. In fact it has in and Eighth Doctor comic from Doctor Who Magazine. I’m surprised the show proper has yet to dive in to it. That said I have been indifferent to both takes on it so far, so maybe it is better left alone.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with this set. When the first set came around, I worried I’d find it uninteresting, but the characters were so charming it earned my recommendation. This second set has done the opposite. I went in expecting charming characters that would hold my interest, and came away completely indifferent. Also, why they are pretending there is some arc with the boxset’s subtitle is beyond me.



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