When we last saw the Doctor, she’d just run into a very old friend from Gallifrey, the Corsair, who had managed to get her embroiled in an intergalactic heist. A sort of Ocean’s 13(th Doctor), if you like. And it looks like she’ll be having a whale of a time.
Writer Jody Houser actually used to play the character of the Corsair when she was on a Doctor Who RPG show on Geek and Sundry, so it’s clearly someone she feels a great affinity with, and it comes across on the page. The major win for Houser is that the Corsair is an unknown quantity, other than a few lines in Neil Gaiman’s Series 6 episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’; as a result, it’s a blank canvas Houser has to play with in bringing the character to life, plus as the Corsair is a Time Lord, you can bring her back in many different incarnations, and give her different personalities.
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Houser is going for an epic scope and feel with her storytelling, and the beautiful art penned by Roberta Ingranata sells it well, really bringing to life the different locales and alien vistas, helped by some bold and vivid colours courtesy of Enrica Angiolini; the panels showing Team TARDIS’ arrival on the planet Radoplina are all especially well rendered, and aren’t just pleasing to the eye, but also give us a proper sense of otherworldliness, something that’s sadly been lacking at times, both on television and in Panini’s own strip in Doctor Who Magazine.
In fact, having been the officially licenced (and, for a great many years, only) source of comic strip adventures for the Doctor since 1979, Panini’s efforts are seemingly becoming the poor relation, compared to its rivals – once the province of artists like Dave Gibbons back in the Marvel Comics days, Panini’s own strip is inconsistently drawn, with increasingly poor likenesses of the series regulars, and stories which are less than compelling. Thank goodness that Titan is not only keeping the flame alive, but also turning into a more than worthy successor to the throne.
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Houser is also doing a grand job when it comes to creating her own ‘Whoniverse’ for the Doctor’s adventures in Comicland, with a cast of characters who have ended up being seeded throughout her stories, giving a sense of continuity both internal as well as to the TV show. While this still has a relative novelty factor just now, let’s only hope that it doesn’t end up being an overused trope, with more predictability than an M. Night Shyamalan movie ‘twist’ – the last thing we need is to spend each story trying to work out who’s going to be cropping up again this time round.
With a rather nicely constructed ‘double jeopardy’ cliffhanger to end the issue on, Houser and co are certainly doing a great job of keeping you coming back for more, and helping fill the gap until we have the show back early next year.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #11 from Titan Comics is available digitally and from comic shops.