Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Volume 1
Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colours), Valeria Favoccia (Artist), Jody Houser (Writer), Sarah Jacobs (Letters), John Roshell (Letters), Viviana Spinelli (Colours), Giorgio Sposito (Artist), Rachel Stott (Artist)
Titan Comics, BBC
7 May, 2019
The Thirteenth Doctor and her companions Yaz, Ryan, and Graham are enjoying a one-of-a-kind celestial occurrence when they are interrupted by a temporal anomaly. They save the man trapped in the anomaly, Dr Leon Perkins, but his scientist partner, Dr Irene Schulz, is still in need of rescuing from an intergalactic jewel thief and child-napper known only as the Hoarder. Can the Fam save Dr Schulz and the children stolen by the Hoarder?
For everyone who loved season 11 of Doctor Who and the new Doctor, this first volume of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor is an incredibly fun jaunt through time and space. As someone who devoured season 11 despite not being a Doctor Who fan, I found this book an enjoyable read because it doesn’t waste time setting up the dynamics between the characters or re-introducing them. The book plunges headlong into the story within the first few pages and the reader is swept along for the journey.
I was actually surprised at how action-packed this book turned out to be—one doesn’t get a moment to acclimatise before the protagonists find themselves having to solve a mystery and fight against alien police. If you are unfamiliar with the newest characters of the Who-verse, you might want to check out the new season so you understand who they are and what they do.
Having said that, it isn’t necessary to understand the Who-lore to enjoy Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. Writer Jody Houser has created a sci-fi story that manages to be accessible for everyone, and transcends its Doctor Who origins. I love how Houser drops snippets of information—like Yaz being a police officer, and that the Thirteenth Doctor is still struggling to remember things after her regeneration—to not only nudge along the plot but to also give readers an idea of the characters’ backgrounds and skills.
I really love how well-plotted Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor is. It moves at a brisk pace, each panel and each page filled with valuable information that adds to the plot and unravels the mystery further. The 100 pages of this story speed by so quickly that it is easy to overlook just how well-written Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor is. Writing like this reminds me of why I love comic books!
Even though I like a fast-paced story as much as the next person, I did sometimes miss the character moments that made me love season 11. The Thirteenth Doctor has a lovely relationship with all her companions, especially with Yaz, but there isn’t time in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor to explore those relationships further. There are new characters who have their own story, not to mention a new villain, and those elements supersede interactions between the Doctor and Yaz, or Graham and Ryan. I feel like the addition of those character moments would have added a great deal to my enjoyment of the book, but their absence doesn’t detract from it in any way.
I’ve been reading a few comic adaptations lately and have noticed how often comics eschew drawing the characters like their live-action versions. It’s a stylistic choice, and I understand that, but I’m glad that the art team on Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor has been more faithful to the actors when illustrating this book. One can instantly recognise them and Rachel Stott and team even manage to capture some of Jodie Whittaker’s quirky mannerisms, which is quite the achievement! There’s a sense of movement in almost every panel that is really hard to emulate on a comic page but Stott and team have managed to do it nonetheless. The character work is excellent, but the locations, the exteriors and interiors, are exquisite. I’m a sucker for a wide shot of a room and in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor there are plenty of interiors that make my heart sing.
Then there is the colour work which honestly rivals BBC’s production of Doctor Who. Giorgio Sposito and Enrica Eren Angiolini go all out with an extensive colour palette that brings every page of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor alive with energy. It is such a beautiful book to look at!
I’ve been dying to read Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor ever since it was announced and I’m thrilled that the story is as exciting as this new set of characters deserves. The first female Doctor and her band of inclusive companions haves fast become favourites in the Who-verse. With comics like Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor expanding the universe further, there is no doubt that the Thirteenth Doctor will continue to make a massive impact on Whovians everywhere.