Ghost Ship, the latest outing for David Tennant’s tenth Doctor, is part of a new Doctor Who series from Titan Comics, “The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor”, which will have new storylines for the tenth, eleventh and twelfth Doctors, all written by James Peaty. The art for the main story is by Iolanda Zanfardino. The art style is clean, not overly detailed; and the colourist was definitely very fond of big, bold colours with most of the ship being rendered in various shades of red and pink.
Each issue will have a story for the Doctor, but as well as that there will be a short story which ties into the “Road to the Thirteenth Doctor”. In this issue we see the Doctor during “The Girl in the Fireplace” being confronted by some sort of glowing blue portal from which a hand extends, asking for his help, but it vanishes before he can grab it.
Moving on to our main story, we open in classic Doctor Who style with the tenth Doctor and his two current companions, Gabby and Cindy, appearing aboard a spaceship just in time to see a man killed in front of them by what appears to be a ghostly, near-transparent figure that is little more than a floating collection of brain, eyes and circulatory system. Meeting up with the remaining members of the five man crew it swiftly becomes clear that all is far from good aboard this ship; the creatures are immune to conventional weapons and all they need to do to kill you is touch you.
A self contained story in a single issue, this is classic Who in the finest sense. The setup could have been taken from any Fourth or Fifth Doctor outing – think Revenge of the Cybermen or Resurrection of the Daleks – and we have our clear villains, our ragtag group of survivors who must trust the Doctor to save them, corporate machinations, the Doctor being ever-so-clever and our denouement that ends on a hopeful note that, again, humanity can be better than we are.
It is a shame that more time isn’t given over to the companions who come across as being strong-willed and independent, unafraid of challenging the Doctor, but they get very little to do in this issue other than run around with the crew trying not to die in classic Who style. We can hope that further issues will show more of what they are capable of. Most of the crew of the ship are, as so often happens in the series, there just to be killed in an assortment of nasty ways, though Kelly, the Captain, comes across as brave, determined and not afraid to stand up to whatever needs fighting. The portrayal of Tennant’s version of the Doctor is also pitch perfect, manic intensity merging with a certain smug self-confidence and desperate, near improbable, last-minute rolls of the dice to save himself and his companions from certain death.
An entertaining romp in true Doctor Who fashion, here’s hoping that James Peaty brings the same vigour and spot-on characterisation to the other incarnations of the Doctor. A solid entry to the ever-increasing tenth Doctor canon.