Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor [2016] #1 - Titan Comics

The first in an “ongoing” series which brings “Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor back into the world of comics”, Issue One of “Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor” must surely have come as something of a surreal disappointment to many of its 10,576 readers in April 2016, including even those who had mourned the end of the television series in 2005 and felt their incarnation of the Time Lord "was never coming back". Admittedly, Cavan Scott’s narrative starts out excitingly enough by depicting the “tight-knit TARDIS crew” racing for their lives before the heavily-fanged maw of a giant extra-terrestrial centipede. But events then soon degenerate into utter farce as the time travellers arrive near to the Delamar solar-needle on Gharusa Prime, discover that the population’s favourite television programme is “Doctor Who”, and realise its star is none other than the short-haired Gallifreyan himself; “Can I get a selfie? That would be so cool? I’m your biggest fan.”

Disconcertingly however, the realisation that the Time Lord’s adventures have been turned into a series of “minisodes” on a datapad, including “the untransmitted pilot”, is just the beginning of “Doctormania”, with Captain Jack soon being revealed as the President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society” and the Doctor realising he "faces his toughest challenge yet”  by having to sing at a concert for his fan-club. To make matters worse though, the freelance author then decides to inject his unfunny script with a highly illogical invasion of Chumblies, and the appearance of a second Ninth Doctor, complete with multiple-gunned Whomobile. Little wonder an exasperated titular character shouts “This is ridiculous… None of this makes sense” as his ‘identical twin’ merrily blazes away at the ‘Dalek-esque’ robots with his “futuristic-looking vehicle” and drops a payload of EMP mines upon them.

Just as bemusing as Scott’s script is Adriana Melo’s inconsistent and oft-times scratchy pencilling. The majority of the sketch card artist’s panels for this twenty-page periodical undoubtedly capture both the vibrant pace of the BBC science fiction television programme and its readily recognisable actors. Yet every now and then, particularly at the book’s conclusion when the Doctor’s impersonator is revealed to be a Slitheen, her illustrations become incredibly undisciplined and rough, almost as if the Brazilian was in a desperate rush to finish the job…
The regular cover art of "DOCTOR WHO: THE NINTH DOCTOR" No. 1 by Shea Standefer

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