The Doctor Tackles Superheroes in Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #4
The fourth issue of the now-ongoing Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor series features a comic favorite: people getting superpowers. Only there’s a twist, of course.
First, the comic — written by Cavan Scott, art by Cris Bolson — does something that can only be done these days in the comics. It mixes up characters from various eras of the show. The ninth Doctor, in the likeness of Christopher Eccleston, meets up with the later Mickey Smith, the one who’s become a tough fighter. (The author has posted preview pages showing the meeting.)
Only this Doctor is still traveling with a much earlier Rose, one who still thinks of the younger Mickey as her boyfriend. Obviously, the two can’t meet, or dire things might happen to the timeline. And Mickey wants the David Tennant version, the Doctor he has more and better history with.
This is a nicely done character thread to run as an undercurrent to the action plot, where flying, glow-eyed people are duking it out with gargoyles in the skies of San Francisco. To talk too much about the twists would give away much of the fun, but let’s say that spending too much time in the city is a huge risk, Rose is once again in danger, and (as is the trend in modern comics) becoming a superhero is as much a curse as a gift. (I was reminded of The Beauty, in a way, where “improvement” will eventually kill you.)
The art is … functional. It’s a bit clunky in places, without a strong sense of flow, but one has to wonder how far in advance it was planned. When the comic was announced in May, the artist was supposed to be Adriana Melo and go on sale in early July. It actually arrived August 10 with a different illustrator. Typical of every Titan Comics series, there are several variant covers, shown below. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)