Saturday, 8 November 2014

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #1 - Titan Comics

Capturing the excitement, look, flavour and feel of a popular television series and placing it within a comic book format can be no easy task, especially when the subject matter is one that is as internationally well-known and loved as the British Broadcasting Company’s science fiction programme “Doctor Who”. However, “2000 A.D.” co-writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams would seem to have succeeded in doing just that with this initial instalment of a “stunning new era” for the Eleventh Doctor, and perhaps even more impressively, have additionally managed to specifically depict the awkwardly odd physical and vocal eccentricities of actor Matt Smith.

Admittedly, the title’s architects were never going to win any prizes for “After Life”, as it’s rather preposterous narrative somewhat haphazardly deals with both a “grieving young woman”, and a supposedly “terrifying cosmic threat”, as well as what the Timelord “gets up to when Amy and Rory aren’t around” following “the second Big Bang.” But as ‘companion introductory stories’ go Issue One of “Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor” should have amply entertained the vast majority of its 41,068-strong readership in July 2014, with its obligatory ‘bigger on the inside than the out’ interior TARDIS scene and a story depicting a depressed, self-doubting ‘new assistant’ who finally digs deep within herself and finds the strength, courage and resolve to find “a solution” which is “not just -- blowing things up!”; there’s even some nice panels featuring the modern-day inept U.N.I.T. who seem disconcertingly keen to disintegrate all and sundry.

All of these moments, whether they be dispiritingly sorrowful, or laugh out loud, are zanily illustrated by Simon Fraser and magnificently coloured by Gary Caldwell. In fact, a lot of the success of this ‘one-shot’ story has to do with just how well the characters are pencilled and the differing palettes used with which to appropriately colour them.

Devastated by the death of her mother, the misery and anguish of Alice Obiefune's loss is perturbingly magnified by the comic’s opening being predominantly populated by grey-scale pictures. Indeed, the only semblance of colour seen during the adventure’s early stages is the fleeting glimpse of a certain blue English Police box. This demoralising bleakness however, is then thrown into full vibrant life with the very sudden arrival of a “Rainbow Dog” and the Doctor sprinting after it; “Excuse me! Coming through!”
The regular cover art of "DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR" No. 1 by Alice X. Zhang

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