In Review: Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #3

This is exactly what Who fans want! Action, thrills, and fun at a breakneck pace.

The covers: There are three different covers sure to please fans of the Doctor. The A cover is by Alex Ronald with the Doctor looking as if he just been discovered by a foe. He’s turned around in a forest setting with a spotlight that’s upon him. Two dark hands are reaching out, grasping. The pose on the Doctor is good and the colors are excellent, but it’s hard to really recognize any part of the setting. The B cover is the photo cover by Will Brooks which has the Doctor and Clara at her workplace. The pair are before a chalkboard that’s got several students’ scribblings upon it. She’s looking upon the Doctor with frustration as he’s telling the class to quiet down. He doesn’t seem to be the right adult in the room, as a paper plane is speeding at him. I had to pick this up since it features images of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. The final cover, the C, is based on a famous image of the Doctor done in black and white by Simon Myers. This is a close-up of the Doctor in leather with hands posed like David Bowie. A nice interpretation of this photo. Overall grades: A B+, B A+, and C A-

The story: The penultimate chapter of “Clara Oswald and the School of Death” by Robbie Morrison starts with some history of the Raven Peninsula, Scotland, in 1909. A disaster occurred then that had sinister beginnings. In the present, Clara and two students are in big trouble – they’ve come upon some Sea Devils and the creatures aren’t happy being discovered. The three are able to slow down their pursuers, but they’re just too fast. As they head toward their exit, a mysteriously clothed character appears, halting them in their tracks. Things only speed up from there. How Clara and the students elude the Sea Devils is excellent and the banter that’s spoken is outstanding: panel three, Page 5; panel three, Page 6; and the final panel on 8. Pages 12 and 13 gave an origin and understanding of the Sea Devils’ motives, including references to their appearance in the classic Malcolm Hulke story. Everything that comes out of the Doctor’s mouth is sensational in this issue and his logic to solving problems impeccable. I’m especially impressed with his “Thought so!” Clara is also very clever and her handling of her students and the Doctor behaving exactly as she would in the television program. The ending is the perfect cliffhanger, and I swear I could hear the classic closing credit theme as I finished the page. Outstanding in every way. Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals of this book are by Rachel Stott and that’s the reason I picked this up. She’s an incredible artist and I wanted to see what she would do with the latest Doctor and her companion. She does a sensational job with each looking superb. The first two pages don’t feature any familiar characters at all, focusing on the event that lead to the arrival of the Sea Devils and it looks great, showing characters, settings, and creatures involved in a dramatic event. When Clara first appears there’s no questioning that one is looking upon Jenna Coleman. Later, when Clara seems to be out of harm’s way, she’s given a strand of hair that’s continually in her face and it’s a beautiful addition to remind readers what the character has been through and it makes Clara fetching beyond measure. Stott’s version of the Doctor looks just like Peter Capaldi, with the “new” outfit he’s wearing fantastic. The point of view in the second panel on 7 is frightening and funny – the perfect balance for a Doctor story. Who fans will have to purchase this issue just for Pages 12 and 13 which shows the history of the Sea Devils and the appearances of three famous characters that made my heart rise uncontrollably (Dear Titan Comics: when “he” gets his own book, Stott must illustrate it!). The reveal on 19 is excellent and the final page a great tease of things to come in the finale. Rachel Stott is a superior artist. Overall grade: A+

The colors: One comic book creator who can always be counted on to do a spectacular job is Ivan Nunes, and he does a great job on this book. He does a spectacular job on the sky and water of the first two pages. That second page could have been very dark, given its primary location, but he colors things expertly, so every aspect of the art can be seen while evoking this unnatural environment. The forest that Clara and the kids run through is terrific in green and browns, and greens become part of the story with them turning luminescent on Page 5. Page 13 has subdued colors as the past is stated and it makes those iconic characters absolutely wonderful. The shading of characters’ flesh is also fantastic, giving them a three dimensional look. This is how every book should be colored. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, historical text, dialogue, sounds, yells, and next issue’s tease come courtesy of Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. Doctor Who stories are notoriously wordy given the title character’s predilection for using words and not violence to solve a conflict. There’s a lot of dialogue in this issue but none of it overpowers a panel or covers part of an important image, showing that this pair masterfully know where to place their text. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is exactly what Who fans want! Action, thrills, and fun at a breakneck pace. Highest possible recommendation. 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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