This month Titan Comics brings the ninth doctor back to the helm of the TARDIS for a new storyline with some of the series’ most well known companions in tow. Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of the doctor was the first since the entire television series rebooted in 2005, and the leather coat-wearing “cool doctor” was the jumping off point of many new fans to the world of Who, even though he lasted only one year. Having a comic to flesh out one of the more popular doctors sounds great in theory, but is it good?
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #1 (Titan Comics)
The premise of all Doctor Who stories is that of a nearly immortal time lord, along with some human companions, who set out to defeat evil monsters and aliens using brains rather than brawn across time and space. Like with all other Doctor Who comics, writer Cavan Scott doesn’t spend much time on this backstory, instead jumping right into the plot as the Doctor, along with his companions Rose and Captain Jack Harkness, are already in danger of being eaten by an alien. The pacing is good throughout, as Scott begins the first of a three parter in which the Doctor lands on a world where he is not only known, but famous for being in a Doctor Who television show.
Artist Adriana Melo does a great job with the faces of the individual characters, especially since the Doctor and his companions are based off of the actors who portrayed them on the show and any mistakes would be magnified to those familiar with it. The layouts are pretty standard, with not much artwork popping out, but everything looks nice and has a flow much like an episode of the television series.
The plot is fun and interesting like the best of the Doctor’s adventures, but hits a lot of the same beats we’ve seen before in the Who comics and shows: Doctor discovers nefarious plot the general populace is unaware of/companion’s curiosity gets the better of them and they are either captured or find some pertinent information about the villain.
Since fans of the show know where these characters are ultimately heading it would be nice to open up the narrative a bit and explore some of the parts of their relationships the show couldn’t include in the one season the ninth Doctor appeared in. It’s hardly a problem unique to just this book, as all the Who comics seem to be additional episodes starring this or that doctor rather than expanding the mythos of the entire Who universe. This is probably intentionally left for the show, either by direct order or unspoken code, but you find yourself wanting less episodic adventure and more of the big picture which is what has been so good about the rebirth of the new television series.
Is It Good?
It’s a good start to the three issue arc, with the return of a familiar villain and more time with fan favorite companions Rose and Capt. Harkness. The spirit of the ninth Doctor is captured well, and newcomers to the Who universe will be able to jump in without much problem. For longtime fans it’s more like additional episodes of the first series, with few surprises.