In Review: Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #1

An excellent premiere with three of Who's most popular characters. I'll be following this series, to be sure.

The covers: There are more covers for this issue than Time Lord regenerations–29 exclusives! Alice X. Zhang does the A cover featuring an adequate illustration of the Doctor holding his sonic screwdriver against a faded teal background with orange streaks. The B is a Subscription photocover of Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. I love photocovers, so this was the cover I purchased. The C is by Blair Shedd featuring the Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack with the latter looking overjoyed that his vortex manipulator has been activated. This is, again, adequate. Another photocover features John Barrowman as Jack riding a bomb with the TARDIS below him. I want this! The Alien Entertainment Exclusive cover is photocover collage of all three characters in good publicity shots with various backgrounds melded together. Also good. The American Dream Comics Exclusive cover is by Brian Williamson and Luis Guerrero with the Doctor and TARDIS below a sign that proclaims “Welcome to Bath.” The image was drawn with the Doctor holding out his sonic screwdriver close to the reader. Very nice. A close-up of Chris Eccleston against an exploding orange background is the Barnes & Noble Exclusive cover. Again, it’s a photocover, so I really like this. The BBC Shop Exclusive is uncredited, but I wish the artist was stated because it’s really nice. Against the backdrop of a planet, with a tiny TARDIS in rotation around it, stands the Doctor looking very pleased with himself. This is good! The Books A Million Exclusive is by the talented Joe Corroney, and it features a famous scene from the episode “The End of the World” as the Doctor and Rose hold hands as the Earth is destroyed outside. Fantastic in every way, and one to track down. The Exclusive from Buy Me Toys #1 is by Casey Heying and Admira Wijaya is quite sinister looking with the TARDIS in flames, Jack and Rose running from it in opposite directions, while the Doctor stands between them, looking to face the evil that committed this crime. Good image with really nice coloring. There’s also a Buy Me Toys #2 Exclusive that’s the same image with different coloring, making the TARDIS looking more destroyed by the fire. An Exclusive from Black Cat Comics is the same as the American Dream Comics, thought the banner now says “Salt Like City, Utah” with different colors. Still looks good. The same image is also used for Comic On The Green, thought it says “Scranton” with darker colors. Still liking this. An excellent recreation of Amazing Fantasy #15 on the Comics to Astonish Exclusive has the Doctor doing a good impersonation of Spider-Man, drawn by Mariano Laciaustra. Excellent! Readers can let their patriotism fly on the Diamond UK Exclusive with a photo of Eccleston standing before a waving English flag. I’m a Yank, and I like this, so I used it as the image for this review. The Fanexpo Exclusive features another photo of Eccleston, this time looking up at him as he looks astonished, barely holding onto the screwdriver, as an explosion goes off behind him. Great! The Williamson and Guerrero illustration is used again, this time by Fantasy Realm for their Exclusive, with the colors being darker as it proclaims “Cornwall, ON.” Still good. Christian Ward does the art for the Forbidden Planet Exclusive with blue energy streaking out of the Doctor’s screwdriver against a hot pink background. This is bold because of the coloring and looks good. The Gifts For The Geek Exclusive is by Lee Sullivan has an illustration of a pensive doctor in profile, with some kind of steel robot that looks like a futuristic centaur. The Doctor looks great, as is the coloring. Happy Harbor Comics returns to the Williamson/Guerrero combo, this time with an orange-yellow sky, with the banner stating “Edmonton.” Jeff Carlisle does the Hastings Exclusive with a bust illustration of the Doctor. Well done. Okay, Four Color Grails’ Exclusive might be the best photocover, as it features the Doctor standing before a holographic display of a galaxy. I love this! ISD Gaming’s Exclusive is by Williamson and Guerrero, proclaiming “Comic Fest Aguada Con” with a sunset background, and Limited Figures and Comic’s Exclusive is the final use of this illustration, proclaiming “Kansas City, MO” against a brighter orange background. The setting is the focus on the More Fun Comics Exclusive with the TARDIS tiny and parked with the Doctor leaning against it. Fun. Blair Shedd returns to do the Newbury Comics Exclusive with the Doctor in a bust shot, holding a glowing sonic screwdriver before him, and his two companions visible over each shoulder. Decent, but looks faded with this coloring. A patriotic cover by Mariano Laciaustra has the three leads and two alien characters posing an angle with the TARDIS behind them. Looks like a poster. Warren Pleece does the cover for the Strange Adventures Exclusive with the Doctor escaping a sinking TARDIS in a familiar looking setting. I like the Doctor and the coloring, but not the background. The final cover (“Thank the Maker!”) is by Zak Simmonds-Hurn for Thinkgeek, featuring an illustration of one of the Doctor Who toys in action aboard an alien ship. I like this a lot more than I thought I would. Overall grades: A B+, B A+, C B-, D A+, Alien Entertainment A, American Dream B, Barnes A+, BBC A, Books A+, Buy #1 A, Buy #2 A, Black B, Comics B, Comics To A, Diamond A+, Fanexpo A+, Fantasy B, Forbidden A-, Gifts B+, Happy B, Hastings A, Four A+, ISD B, Limited B, More B, Newbury C+, Pop A-, Strange B+, and Thinkgeek A-

The story: This adventure, by Cavan Scott, takes place between the episodes “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town.” I have to give Scott major credit, right out of the gate: I’m a big fan of stories that take place between episodes, so he’s got me in the palm of his hand early. This story is titled “Weapons of Past Destruction” and the Doctor is taking Rose and Jack to Excroth. The only problem is that Excroth isn’t there. The Doctor is seriously frustrated by the debris that’s in the planet’s place, while Jack and Rose joke at the lack of a landing place. The Time Lord is scrambling to find out what’s occurred, just as the TARDIS begins to beep, signaling the arrival of a big, huge ship. Naturally they end up on the monstrous vessel, and that’s when the Doctor and his companions encounter some individuals I’ve never seen in a Who tale before. I like the conversations with these individuals throughout the issue, and I’m a big fan of the Doctor lecturing his companions about appropriate behavior while with him; this issue has Jack getting this speech. The banter between all the leads was good and Scott has enough teases to let readers know there’s something going on with the alien races, but nothing is explicitly stated, so readers are in the same boat as the characters. There’s also a good cliffhanger, with one character really getting lost. There are some predictable tropes, such as the characters running from place to place and the Doctor providing a last minute save. I expect that, but I was hoping for something a little different from the norm. Still, this was a good read and has me wanting more. Overall grade: A-

The art: The impressive artwork is by Blair Shedd. I need to have my characters in any franchise book resemble the actors from the film or series they’re from. Shedd more than capably does this. His Chris Eccleston likeness is really well done. The first page opens with a tight close-up of the Doctor’s eye to pull back to show him entirely. He also gets some very solid emotions out of him, with my favorite being whenever he has his trademark smug smile of satisfaction (Page 8, panel three and Page 10, panel five). Rose also looks good, with a continual lost look on her face, mirroring Rose at this time in the series. Jack looks really young in this issue, but he was so young when he was introduced. He looks his best during his confrontation with the Doctor on Page 19. The settings are really well done, considering that the majority of them are aboard this ship that’s found them. It’s very detailed, comprised of several weathered panels. There’s also a sequence involving a lot of speed lines and it looks great. What I began to get tired of were the panels comprised of only silhouettes. A few are fine, but there are eight in this issue. By the time number five rolled about, it didn’t seem like artistic choice but a way to avoid fully illustrating a panel. Granted, I do feel that Shedd spoiled the reader with all the details he does do, but his only made these panels stick out more in a negative way. Overall grade: B+

The colors: This aspect of the book really is beautiful. One of the joys of the new adventures are the gorgeous scenes in space that the series can do with special effects. Jesse Durona is credited as being the color flatter for this issue. There are some tremendous colors, making the lighting of scenes seem natural. The interiors of the TARDIS are wonderful in green when the trio goes to its console. The interior of the alien ship is equal impressive with its brown and tans. I liked how these colors are echoed on the individuals within the ship. When these characters scan the Doctor there’s some really nice blue work done to create the mechanical view. The sound effects are also really well done. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The talented pairing from the Joss Whedon books published by Dark Horse comics, Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, provide the lettering on this book and it looks great. The dialogue is perfect and the sounds outstanding. I’m really happy to see a lot of sounds in this book because they make the tone of the book active. Overall grade: A+

The final line: An excellent premiere with three of Who‘s most popular characters. I’ll be following this series, to be sure. Overall grade: A-

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

    2 Comments on this post.
  • Mark C
    3 April 2015 at 8:57 am -

    Jesse Durina is listed as a color flatter. Color flatters aren’t colorists. They help the colorist by putting down primer colors. It says in interviews that Shed is th colorist.

  • Patrick Hayes
    3 April 2015 at 1:08 pm -

    There was an error in my earlier review of this book as stating Jesse Durona as colorist. It has been corrected to read color flatter. My apologies for this mistake, and my thanks to Mark C. for bringing this to my attention.

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