The regeneration of an old Doctor can mean only one thing: it’s time for a new Doctor, and with him, an new series of comics. I’m a relatively new Whovian, having spent the past month catching up on Doctor Who Series Five and Six, and finally understanding what friends and respected professionals have been saying for some time; Doctor Who Is Cool. With the premiere of the second half of Series Six just a few days away, I wanted to take a look at some of the recent Doctor Who comics by IDW featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
Writer Tony Lee captures the fun and energy of Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor without missing a beat. The current volume of the Doctor Who comic book series picks up after the end of the Fifth Series of the television show, with Amy and Rory married. Apparently not wanting to step on showrunner Steven Moffat and co.’s toes, the stories featured in the comic do not involve River Song or any of the ongoing mysteries in the show, but still manages to deftly touch on the show’s continuity, like Rory’s time as a Roman Soldier, or the Doctor’s penchant for football, making this book a valuable and worthy contribution to Who-lore.
IDW has done right by this series, arranging for an array of talented artists to assist Tony Lee in bringing the Doctor and his companions to the page. Any series that features covers by Tommy Lee Edwards and Mark Buckingham deserves a look, with interior art by Andrew Currie (frequent collaborator of Bryan Hitch), Tim Hamilton (Eisner-nominated artist of the Fahrenheit 451 adaptation), Mark Buckingham, Matthew Dow Smith (artist of the previous Doctor Who series, no relation to that ‘other’ Matt Smith), and now Josh Adams (son of legendary artist Neal Adams), among others.
Like the show this book is derived from, it is no stranger to balancing comedy, action, and sci-fi ridiculousness over the course of each 22 page issue. Where the first issue was a standalone tale showing what happens when Rory’s spam email infects the Tardis, the next arc hops to 19th Century England amidst the Jack the Ripper killings. A later arc brings our familiar trio to the resort planet Multiword (“Where every timezone is a holiday!”), a mashup of the Old West, the Prehistoric Era, and Nazi Germany as our heroes defend against deadly Sontaran soldiers, with the help of a thespian robot Tyrannosaurus Rex. The first eight issues offer a nice mix of big, over-the-top adventures too big for a television budget, as well as quieter, standalone stories that remind me of some of my favorite episodes of the show like ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ or ‘The Lodger’.
The real crown jewel was the special standalone issue #5, featuring art by Fables’ own Mark Buckingham. En route to Wembley Stadium in 1966 to see England vs. Germany in the World Cup Final, the Tardis instead drops our three favorite time travelers off a thousand years early, in the middle of a ground war between the Anglo-Saxons and invading Vikings. Take a look at some of Bucky’s black and white artwork from the issue here. As much as I enjoy seeing Buckingham draw the exploits of Fabletown’s residents, I would happily welcome him back to the Tardis for another issue or two of interior artwork, in addition to the stellar covers he has provided recently.
This past week featured not only the finale to the recent Multiworld trilogy, but the release of the excellent 50-page Doctor Who Annual 2011, which included a quartet of tales from creators including Josh Fialkov, Blair Shedd, Matthew Dow Smith, Mitch Gerards, Dan McDaid, series writer Tony Lee, and incoming artist Josh Adams. Fun, offbeat stories that are well worth your time, especially Lee & Adams’ short, which leads directly into next issue’s new story, a good jumping-on point for new readers.
For the die-hard Whovians out there, I heartily recommend this new series to anyone looking for a bit of time-traveling fun between the upcoming new episodes. Consistently strong writing and art make this an obvious purchase, and it is very easy to imagine the adventures shown in the comic book as the moments taking place in between the episodes.
Now, courtesy of IDW, we present Tony Lee and Josh Adams’ full tale from this week’s Doctor Who Annual 2011, as well as an exclusive preview of September’s Doctor Who #9, kicking off a brand-new story arc.
Doctor Who #9
Tony Lee (w) • Josh Adams (a) • Mark Buckingham, photo (c)
Arriving on a familiar looking space station, the Doctor, Amy, Rory, and new travelling companion Kevin—a cybernetic dinosaur—find a scientific crew under attack from a giant, Cthulhloid space squid! With the security robot destroyed, it’s up to the Doctor and his friends to save the day, but who will sacrifice themselves to save the many? With art by the Josh Adams!
* 2 regular covers will be shipped in a 1-to-1 ratio
* Variant Ben Templesmith cover.
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
And don’t forget to have your sonic screwdrivers ready for this Saturday’s premiere of Doctor Who Series Six, Part Two: ‘Let’s Kill Hitler,’ on BBC, BBC America, or your local equivalent. If you can’t wait, here’s a prequel to the episode to tide you over. Geronimo!