ADVANCE Review: Doctor Who the 10th Doctor #1
Whenever a license changes hands in comics it’s a big deal. Titan surprised a lot of people by grabbing the Doctor Who license from IDW earlier this year. And if Doctor Who the 10th Doctor #1 is any indication, the license is in good hands.
Nick Abadzis spends most of #1 on the new companion, Gabrielle. She’s an independent woman with an overbearing family, not unlike Rose. Abadzis gives us lots of information about her so that we have a firm grasp on her as a character before the final page arrives. What made a lot of the 10th Doctor’s companions very memorable were their ties to their specific time period. Sure, Amy had Rory and her parents by the end of Series 5, but otherwise what was keeping her in the present? Gabs’ family is a great anchor to keep her grounded as a character and gives her more opportunities to grow as a character outside her interactions with the Doctor. The family story points take up more time than they should in this #1. While this is a licensed property, and some knowledge of the characters is going to be needed, Abadzis could have cut the family time down a bit and focused on other things.
The biggest fault of this #1 is that the Doctor barely makes an appearance. Abadzis uses the Doctor to keep the supernatural aspect going, but otherwise this entire issue is about Gabrielle. This doesn’t keep the issue from being interesting though, as Abadzis keeps the focus on building the companion up as a worthy successor to the 10th’s other three companions. As stated before, Gabs is a lot like Rose when she began her time with the 9th Doctor. She doesn’t flat out accept everything strange but she acclimates to the situation well (which has been a complaint of mine from the 11th companions). I did like that by the end of the issue Gabs and the Doctor were in the same vicinity and the action was about to pick up. The focus on building Gabs up as a good companion now and saving room for action later looks to be a great story choice. I feel like a few of these complaints will be gone by next issue, and the score will be even higher.
Elena Casagrande’s artwork is superb on this issue. She captures the look of David Tennant without being a slave to pictures of the man. The few instances of stagnant panels were handled nicely and conveyed a great sense of flow. What really hooked me into the Russell T Davies sense of horror storytelling was the quick shot of the demon in picture frame. Creepy and has a weird sense of something just be off. Casagrande shows she has a great variety in her pencils, moving from talking heads panels to a fair amount of action without ease. Arianna Floren’s colors capture the livelier era of Davies. Colors are bright and pop off the page.
Doctor Who the 10th Doctor #1 gets 4/5.
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