Not always, but sometimes, we’re offered a product to review and I don’t bother to show it to my team because I’ll keep it for myself. I always feel guilty when I do that.
But not this time.
Today Titan Comics launched two new Doctor Who series chronicling all-new adventures of the 10th and 11th Doctors. I read the 11th’s first because I’m a rebel and play by no one’s rules.
I enjoyed it so much it made me sad that the show returns in a few weeks without Matt Smith. Written by Al Ewing and Rob Williams, ‘After Life’ introduces us to the Doctor’s new companion shortly before she meets him for the first time. Alice Obiefune’s life is fittingly illustrated in black and white and shades of grey in the opening pages. Her mother has just died, she’s about to lose her job and be evicted from her apartment. The first splash of color we get is the TARDIS in the distance. The moment I spotted it, I got excited. I knew Alice’s life was about to change for the better. Or at the very least, get a lot more interesting.
In true Doctor Who fashion, Alice finds herself caught up in an adventure that involves an alien rainbow dog who feeds off negative emotions and the TARDIS. She’s clever, and we all know the Doctor loves clever. And she’s lonely. And we all know the Doctor is lonely, too. Note: I’m not sure where in the established timeline these adventures are supposed to fall. Possibly after losing Amy and Rory, but before meeting Clara.
Ewing and Williams did a great job creating a companion who can keep up with the Doctor, and prove herself useful in saving the day. When he inevitably asks her to join him in going somewhere, anywhere, you’ll cheer as she agrees. Don’t we all dream of a mad man in a box coming along to offer us adventure beyond our wildest imagination? Also, this issue gets bonus points for showing us the swimming pool.
Issue two, ‘Rokhandi Roll’, goes on sale September 10th, 2014 and I’ll be there. The glimpse of someone from Gallifrey in issue one guarantees I’ll be back. P.S. Another person of color as a companion is great, too.
Written by Nick Abadzis, the first issue of the 10th Doctor’s new adventures, ‘Revolutions of Terror,’ is a much darker ride than ‘After Life.’ The Doctor is tracking some sort of demon who both appears as the dead and causes those who encounter it to see terrifying sights. All over the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park, people are overcome with a feeling of dread and it’s not just because Halloween is approaching. Whatever this thing is, it’s scaring the hell out of people just by being around.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Castillo yearns to break away from her controlling and traditional Mexican-American family. She works two jobs (at the family’s laundromat and restaurant) and takes accounting courses not because she wants to be an accountant, but because being one would be beneficial to the family’s businesses. Even though the strange occurrences have affected her obnoxious soon-to-be brother-in-law (see above) and her grandmother, Gabby still does her family duty, working hard and going to class. On her way home from school, though, she finally comes face-to-face with the evil… and The Doctor.
This issue ended on a cliffhanger, which was disappointing because I was dying to know what happened next, but as the mystery/danger in the story was more complicated than the one in the 11th’s debut issue, it’s understandable that it wouldn’t be neatly tied up in one go. My assumption is that Gabby will be the 10th’s companion in this new series – it takes place after he left Donna Noble free of all memories of their time together – but before he regenerates and meets Amy Pond. If that’s so, I’m on board. She reminds me a lot of the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan: both are smart, sassy, hard-working, and desperately trying to break free from their somewhat oppressive upbringings.
Issue #2, ‘No Subway Out,’ comes out on August 27th, 2014.
I’ll be reviewing every issue of each new series for Project Fandom.