In Review: Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #1

This could be the most perfect Doctor Who comic ever created.

The covers: A foursome to collect if you truly love the Doctor. The A cover is by Alice X. Zhang and it is a beautiful image of the Doctor looking to his right with determination, while Clara is just behind him, looking worriedly to her left. The characters look like the actors who play them and the colors are terrific, with that combination of blue and violet being beautiful. The B is a Photo Incentive cover created by Will Brooks. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) has on his sonic sunglasses, even though he’s holding his sonic screwdriver. Behind him is Clara (Jenna Coleman), with arms folded, giving him a “You’re so childish” smile. A gigantic clock (Perhaps from the show’s opening credits?) is the image behind him in blue. An excellent cover and the one I purchased. Interior artist Rachael Stott and colorists Hi-Fi created the C cover. The Doctor is rocking out on his guitar, with Clara just behind him, holding the Sonic Screwdriver ready, while the TARDIS is behind them. I love Stott’s work and she’s created a fun cover, from a very revealing angle for the Doctor. Looking at this image again, I’m going to have to go back to my local comic book store to find a copy of this. The final cover, the D, is by JAKe and it’s the most cartoonish of the frontpieces. Clara is in the foreground, with a smile on her face, while the Doctor is behind her, sporting a mischievious grin. Their background is a computer swirl of blue, appearing to be from Who‘s opening credits from the 1970s. This, too, is an excellent cover. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A, and D A

The story: “Clara Oswald and the School of Death” by Robbie Morrison opens on Raven’s Isle, on the west coast of Scotland, at Ravenscaur High School, September 2015. Christel Dean is packing her bag to leave the classroom she teaches in and is talking to herself. “Okay, Christel, grab your things and get going. Don’t stop for anything. Or anybody.” That’s when a piece of chalk floats up to the blackboard and scratches out “I MUST NOT MURDER MY TEACHER”. She bolts for the door, gets in her car, and takes off in the pouring rain. She picks up her phone and reaches Clara’s answering machine, but she leaves a message that her dream job has turned into a nightmare. As she barrels down the road her headlights show several schoolchildren blocking her path. She turns to avoid them and goes off the road and into the wilderness below. The children near her car. “You can’t go, miss,” one says, “you’re one of us.” The children have no pupils in their eyes. She gets our of her car to escape the youths, and they, in unison, open their mouths and emit a high pitched wail. The water swells around her and something appears. If this were an episode, this would be when the opening credits begin.  The story then moves to where the Doctor is, and it’s very funny. Then readers are shown where Clara is and what she’s doing. Naturally, she’s soon joined by the Doctor and they’re investigate what happened to Christel. The final four pages focus on several new characters and somethings they shouldn’t have found. This is the type of story that one wishes would be made into an episode: it’s funny, smart, scary, and absolutely entertaining. This is how the Twelfth Doctor should always be written. Overall grade: A+

The art: I picked up a physical copy of this book because it’s written by one of my favorite artists, Rachael Stott. I really enjoyed her work on last year’s Star Trek/Planet of the Apes miniseries, so I was anxious to see what she would do with the Doctor and Clara. I don’t mean to repeat what I’ve already said about the story, but this is how the Twelfth Doctor should always be illustrated. The details that Stott puts into her panels makes her work incredibly lush. Look at the details on the first three pages that show Ravenscaur’s exteriors and interiors. The foliage that surrounds the school is wonderfully spooky. The transitions between panels one and two on Page 1 and panels three and four on Page 4 are cinematic. What’s revealed on Page 6 is surprising, but Stott doesn’t fully display the antagonist, saving that for a future issue. The Doctor looks magnificent in this book. I’ve never seen him looking so expressive: he’s funny, serious, silly, and absolutely devious with every smile. His surroundings are beautiful and vast, with the double paged splash on 10 and 11 spectacular. When Clara appears on 13 she’s doesn’t speak until halfway down the page, but she has already communicated much to the reader with her looks out the window. Her close up in the first panel on 14 is terrific, with the reflection in the glass spot on. Page 21 has a fantastically freakish point of view final panel, with the last page’s splash being deviantly disturbing. Every page and panel is a present to Whovians. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Completing the excellent visuals of the book are the colors by Ivan Nunes. The second page has a preview of the solid work Nunes does on characters’ flesh — Christel looks three dimensional with his work applied. The young woman’s car is sensationally colored in yellow and mustard. The Doctor’s setting is a much brighter location than that of Ravenscaur, but it’s aged nicely with colors to support its design. When the Doctor uses his Sonic Sunglasses Nunes uses a nice collection of colors to tech up the panel. The best coloring job of the book is done in that first panel on Page 14, which mirrors reality superbly. Green becomes the color of dominance on the final two pages and it’s absolutely fun, while maintaining an alien air. The sounds are also super on this book with bright colors that make them explode off the page in volume. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, recordings, screams, yells, screams, and the “To Be Continued…” are created by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. I’m so appreciative that this pair was allowed to make the sounds so big, with the SLURRRPPs being the funniest sounds I’ve encountered in some time. The screams are also terrific, especially those on 6 and 22. Winning, in every way. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This could be the most perfect Doctor Who comic ever created, and it’s only the first part! If it continues to look like this, take all my money, Titan Comics! 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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