Getting our Shift On! (Doctor Who: the Thirteenth Doctor #1 Comic Review)

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1

Writer: Jody Houser

Artists: Rachel Stott

Cover Artist: Babs Tarr

Variant Cover: Alice X. Zhang, Rachel Stott, Sanya Anwar, Paulina Ganucheau, Sarah Graley, Ariela Kristantina & Jessica Kholinne, Katie Cook, Alisa Stern,

Colors: Enrica Eren Angiolini

Color Assistant: Viviana Spinelli

Flatters: Sara Michieli & Andrea Moretto, Giorgia Sposito & Adele Matera (Pgs 14-15)

Letters: Richard Starkings, Comiccraft’s Sarah Jacobs & John Roshell

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1 regular cover by Babs Tarr

Summary with limited spoilers

The issue opens in 1999, as a pair of time-travelling scientists bicker while stealing a painting from a museum for unknown reasons. The comic then cuts to 3912, as the recently-regenerated Doctor, and her new companions Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin “Yaz” Khan, and Graham O’Brien take in the visual splendour of the Sentient Nebula of Blecplam Two and a Half. As the Doctor discusses the nebula with Ryan and Yaz, Graham points out a strange wormhole that appears nearby, with a hand stretching through, calling for help. The Doctor half-remembers encountering this phenomenon before (in the Road to the Thirteenth Doctor miniseries) in her three most recent prior regenerations. As the Doctor scans the distortion with her sonic screwdriver, Ryan tries to reach out to the hand on the other side, but distortion disappears before he can pull the person through. The Doctor makes up her mind to try and help whoever this person on the other side is, and she and her companions head off to the TARDIS. Using the TARDIS’s systems, the Doctor begins to track the distortion across time and space, making multiple stops to scan it further for more information. Cut to a large throne room drowing in treasure, as a mysterious alien is revealed to be the one behind the scientists’ theft of the painting from the beginning. The alien is controlling the pair, providing a shot for the woman, before demanding she and the man steal something else for them, however, the scientists refuse. Back with the TARDIS, the Doctor has successfully pinpointed the next appearance of the distortion, as the gang lies in wait for it to materialize. Ninety-six minutes later, as the Doctor begins to doubt if she was correct, the distortion appears, and the gang work in unison to pull the mysterious stranger on the other side of it free. Once they’ve done so, it’s revealed the stranger is the male scientist whole stole the painting. The Doctor scans him, revealing that the man’s been time travelling thanks to a vortex-manipulator, but his was sabotaged…


Opinions on story and art

This is a comic I’ve been eagerly anticipating since the BBC first announced Jodie Whittaker would be the next actor to play the role of the Doctor on the Doctor Who TV series. Having a woman take on the role of the adventurous Time-Lord is something the franchise is LONG LONG LONG overdue for, and I’m ecstatic it’s finally happened. And a new Doctor likewise means a new Doctor Who on-going comic series from Titan Comics. And this first issue is INCREDIBLY promising for this new series! Writer Jody Houser is already showing an excellent grasp on the voices of this new incarnation of the Doctor, and her new companions as well. Likewise, penciller Rachel Stott delivers some absolutely excellent visuals to match Houser’s wonderful words. Stott captures the physical likenesses of the new cast incredibly well, alongside the new interior of the TARDIS (I love the crystals, very Kryptonian). Her design work is equally effective, the suits the scientists are sporting look great, as does the mysterious alien ordering the pair about.  The stand-out moment of the comic has to be the two-page splash of the Doctor using the TARDIS to track down the distortion across the universe. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Drawn by Giorgia Sposito and colored by Adele Matera, those two pages are astounding!  Special credit should also be given to Enrica Eren Angiolini’s exquisite coloring, making the Doctor, the distortion and the stolen treasures all pop right off the page. Every member of this creative team is giving their all, and it very much shows and makes the comic shine! As an additional note, I really appreciate the high number of women involved in making this comic, even having women craft all thirteen covers for this first issue, as it should be for such a significant milestone for this franchise. It’s a wise move on Titan Comic’s part.

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Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron

A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!
This comic is OH SO MUCH FUN and a great follow-up to the new series itself. If you’ve been enjoying series 11 of Doctor Who, you owe it to yourself to pick this comic up, and to keep doing so as long as Jody Houser and Rachel Stott continue to work on it!
  • Jody Houser captures the voices of the new cast pitch-perfectly, making this an excellent companion to the show!
  • Rachel Stott’s artwork is breathtaking, and the likenesses of the cast is spot-on!
  • The plot is very fun and sets up a very engaging mystery.
  • The comic doesn’t offer much explanation towards the current status quo of the Doctor and the TARDIS, so those not following the show might be a bit confused.
  • An editorial caption referencing the events of “The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor” when the distortion first appears would’ve been appreciated.
Art - 9.5
Writing - 10
Plot - 9
Character Development - 10
Written by
A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!

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