In Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #12

This requires the first installment to understand the story, though the visuals stand on their own.

The covers: A twofer this month to put in your always expanding collection to protect from the ravages of time. The A cover is by Kevin Wada. It shows a stylized Doctor crouching low to look at the reader, while Gabby runs by him in the background, trying to escape some unseen foe. Nicely done, with a very cool 1980s flair to it with its sharp angles and pastel colors. The B cover is the Photo cover featuring David Tennant as the Doctor in his brown pinstripe suit, holding out his activated sonic screwdriver, staring up at a something causing an eclipse of the sun. He looks worried at this occurrence, so hopefully he can stop it. Good image, but not enough David. Overall grades: Both B+

The story: This is the second part of “The Fountains of Forever” by Nick Abadzis. I didn’t read the first part, so I was hoping I wouldn’t be too lost. I was really lost. The book opens with Cleo and Dorothy stuggling over a trumpet-like device, which is opening a hole in space, while making the Doctor transform into a previous incarnation — in this case he’s becoming Doctor Nine. Dorothy wrests control of the item and is blasted with a bolt of energy, which deflects onto Cleo. There’s a spark, and Gabby, walking down the street with her friend Cindy, has a cellphone appear in her hand. Checking the screen, she tells her friend she has to go because it’s an emergency. Cindy knows it’s the Doctor and says, “Like I’d miss this,” and follows after her. The same spark has Cleo waking up in the apartment, finding everyone unconscious. She sees the object on the floor, grabs it, and bolts for the door with a mean smile. The Doctor rises, back to his normal tenth self, and he and Vivian try to make sense of what happened to them and Dorothy. Outside of the Time Lord, I didn’t know any of these people and didn’t know their motivations by the end of this book. It was entertaining, though. I found the person that Cleo was working for to be interesting, especially after he name dropped several groups. I’m interested to see who has contacted Dorothy and what her plans are for her. There’s a new character/entity introduced in this issue and it’s very reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m intrigued, but obviously need the first part to understand this tale. Overall grade: C+

The art: I did like the visuals by Elena Casagrande & Eleonora Carlini; I didn’t need the previous issue to enjoy this element of the book. I like how the characters looked: The Doctor, in both his incarnations, looked like the actors who played him on the small screen; Cleo was a cool looking character who gets to do a lot and go through a lot of emotions, with her hair being fantastic; Dorothy was very much in the model of a matriarchal character, with her hair being almost frozen — and I liked that; and Gabby and Cindy looked like besties, but with very different emotions. The settings are very impressive. The apartment where the opening takes place is nicely detailed, and shown from many different angles to show that Casagrande and Carlini know exactly what this location looks like. The streets that Gabby and Cindy are walking are even better. The best location is at the headquarters of where Cleo’s employer works. I’m a sucker for settings with lots of books, as they instantly make a location cool, and he’s got them, but it’s their inclusion in those scenes that make it seem as though they’re tomes of forbidden knowledge because they don’t fit into the rest of this setting smoothly. When Dorothy speaks with someone the imagery seems straight out of an episode; it’s very theatrical, yet very simple. To be to the point, it’s perfect for the moment. Several pages included dropped in backgrounds. They start out okay, but the final page just looks too much like a photograph. I would have rather this been drawn than photoshopped. Overall grade: A- 

The colors: The opening page told me that Arianna Florean knew exactly what she was doing on this book. The first panel has passive colors to present a sense of normalcy for the story, but in the second panel a strong orange is used to accentuate the pain coming off the transforming doctor. The third is a photoshopped photo of the space portal with a strong white ring to show the energy. The bright orange returns in the second panel to highlight two characters’ struggle, and the final panel shows the natural coloring of the apartment’s setting. Florean is hitting all the right points with this story. The exteriors are set at night, but Florean smartly uses a dark, dirty violet for the night sky, rather than painting it in ebony. The third panel on 11 shows some nice work with colored lights in the city, and I love the blues used at the bottom of the page to show the windows from the outside. Excellent work throughout by Florean. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt are partners in this issue creating dialogue, narration, sounds, music, cellphone writing, and next issue’s tease. I don’t think either is responsible for the massive sound on Page 2 as it’s somewhat out of focus and seems too planted in the artwork. However, what this duo does is good. I’m very happy to see that the narration is different from the dialogue, which is a necessary difference that all letterers should follow. Overall grade: A

The final line: This requires the first installment to understand the story, though the visuals stand on their own. I’ll be back to see how this finishes…Right after I track down the previous issue. Overall grade: B+

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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