Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Year Three #6-7
Of all the many Doctor Who comics Titan have put out, this title gets my nod for the one exploring most realistically what it would really be like to be part of the Doctor’s adventures. That’s due to his companions, the artist Gabby Gonzalez (who’s been in the book since its launch) and her best friend, Cindy Wu.
The group has just come from ancient China, where Cindy wound up meeting a bunch of duplicates of herself, which has understandably caused some soul-searching. Writer Nick Abadzis and artist Giorgia Sposito use Gabby’s talent to set up the recap and emotional aftermath as though we’re reading her journal, as shown in these preview pages.
You can also see plenty of technobabble and various never-before-seen aliens, but the latter is also something the comic does well, since there’s no budget and the only limitation is the artist’s imagination. I like that it’s leavened with humor, as when Cindy names her ancestors with whatever she can think of.
That helps balance the deep feelings, when Gabby freaks out over what could happen to them any time they have a universe-saving adventure. That’s a good reminder of how best to connect readers with the ramifications of the storylines. When everything is about preventing the destruction of the earth, it becomes mundane and almost boring to see the Doctor saving the day once again. But having us care about — and see the emotional reactions of — a few normal girls, ones we could see ourselves as, that’s a key association.
This storyline, though, doesn’t really begin until halfway through the issue, when the Doctor dumps Cindy and Gabby off in a London safe house. There’s something wrong with the TARDIS, but he won’t let them help. This leads into my favorite part of this story so far: the guest stars. (There are four issues, so we’re halfway through.)
The Doctor first meets up with another of his incarnations, bringing a warning — and calling the Tenth Doctor “Bambi” because of his soulful deep brown eyes. In issue #7, another beloved guest appears, the best known of the classic companions. She’s there to help Gabby, who’s developed some kind of mysterious powers.
I love those interactions, where the older generation guides the younger with the benefit of their experience. Who better to help with the psychic fallout of some of the weirder convolutions time travel puts you through? And make cracks about a robot dog? (The publisher provided advance digital review copies.)