In Review: Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #2

This reads like a lost episode and will entertain fans of the Doctor.

The covers: Three covers to seek before they are lost to the winds of Time. The A cover is by Alice X. Zhang showing the Doctor holding star stuff in his hands, causing him to delight in their wonder before they flit away. The image is good, but the coloring seems to be done through a filter, dulling the joy of the moment. The B is a super Photo cover featuring Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston as Rose and the Doctor standing within an electric blue cave whose opening casts an orange glow at their feet. This is the one to get! The final cover, the C, is by interior artist Blair Shedd showing the crucial moment that ended last issue: the Doctor can’t hold onto Rose. Good emotion on her face, but the background is so painfully a dropped in photograph/computer composition it resembles bad blue screen work of the early 1970s Who episodes. Overall grades: A B-, B A+, and C C-

The story: The second part of “Weapons of Past Destruction” by Cavan Scott opens in dramatic style with Rose Tyler tumbling through the Time Vortex. She’s thinking, ‘The Doctor will catch me if I fall. He’ll never let me go.’ Inside the TARDIS the Doctor is scrambling over the controls to get Rose back while Jack gives encouragement. Sadly, all that’s retrieved is the nineteen year old’s jacket. Putting a hand on the Time Lord’s shoulder, Jack says, “Doctor, I’m sorry…It…It must have been the Time Winds. She’s gone.” Who-fans know better, and Rose has been found by someone. Part of the fun of Doctor Who are the characters and Scott has captured the three leads perfectly. This Doctor has all the wit, emotion, wonder, and never-say-die spirit that Christopher Eccleston brought to the role, the feistiness and sweetness of Rose, and the swagger of Jack Harkness. What the Doctor offers on Page 20 is brilliant. I could listen to these characters interact like this forever. Another highlight of the series are the aliens, and there’s a great one introduced on Page 5 who has a wonderfully appropriate and humorous defense on 18. The antagonists last issue were the Unon and the Lect, whose fighting could create a new Time War. They’re not in this issue until the end, but their presence is felt throughout. The location that Jack and the Doctor end up at on Page 12 could come right out of an episode. And that’s how this story felt, like a lost episode from the first season of the relaunch. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals and the colors are done by Blair Shedd, with a color flat assist by Anang Setyawan, and they are awesome. The opening page perfectly emulates a slow pull back from Rose against the Time-Vortex. Shedd’s likenesses of the characters to the actors is solid, and there are a few familiar faces that appear later in the story. His ability to have his illustrations emote is also good: Rose in the first panel on 5, her anger on 13 and 14, concern on 16, and disgust on 18; the Doctor’s anger and sadness on 3, determination on 6, and glee on 7; Jack’s seductive smile on 9 and 12, and his anger on 14. Glom also has a wonderful set of emotions, shown through his eyes and limbs. Shedd also does an impressive job with the settings which also look like as if they could come from a lost episode, such as the TARDIS’ interiors and the location that first appears on 10. I’m not a fan of computer use in comics for settings or to create action, but Shedd does this fairly well, such as when the TARDIS encounters trouble in the Time-Vortex and purposely making images blurred to create distances between objects, such as in the final panel on Page 9. The coloring is well done, with the interiors of this TARDIS being appropriately dim, the plethora of colors at the final location, and the terrific blending on Glom’s skin. The visuals on this book should please any Whovian. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt provide dialogue, sounds, signage, mutterings, yells, and the tease for next month. I love the big, bold font for the sounds, such as on the final page, and it’s impossible not to hear the mutterings on 16 and 17 in the characters’ voices. Overall grade: A

The final line: This reads like a lost episode and will entertain fans of the Doctor. 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.
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