It seems that multi-Doctor stories involving the Time Lord’s thirteenth incarnation are like buses: you wait for ages, and then two come along at the same time.
Not content with a shock twist in ‘Fugitive Of The Judoon’ on TV (if you don’t know what that is, make sure you watch it on catchup, pronto), Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor – Year Two has kicked off with the current Doctor crossing paths with an earlier version, landing her smack bang in the middle of the story ‘Blink’, with the Weeping Angels having stranded the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones at the tail end of the Swinging Sixties.
When you have time travel as your central premise, you can really have some fun and play around with things, and there is inevitably a huge lure for Doctor Who writers to try and find a way to squeeze new adventures not just into what we know as established continuity, but even during tales we’ve already seen. Look at Steven Moffat doing his multi-Doctor minisode, ‘Time Crash’, shoehorned in between literally two consecutive shots at the end of ‘Last Of The Time Lords’, in a spot where no such gap really existed.
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However, there’s certainly plenty of breathing room at the point in ‘Blink’ where writer Jody Houser has slotted in her tale, ‘A Little Help From My Friends’, as we don’t get to see in that episode everything the Tenth Doctor and Martha get to do while they’re stuck in 1969, so there’s a genuine space for some other shenanigans to occur. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it seems this particular escapade will be firmly based in the best timey-wimey traditions of the particular era of the show’s run that it harkens back to.
One thing which Houser has rather smartly picked up on is that with these sorts of crossovers, it’s not just a matter of the lead character getting a look back into their own past, it’s also an opportunity for somebody to get an glimpse – perhaps an onerous one – into their future. In this case, it’s Martha Jones, who’s still in full-on crush mode where her Doctor’s concerned, so crossing paths with a later – and, admittedly, very different – version means she’s confronted with the notion that her travels will one day end.
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It’s something that tends to get overlooked in these sorts of stories, as it’s an obvious temptation for a companion who’s accompanying an earlier Doctor to wonder just where they are, as it should become starkly apparent to them that they aren’t actually around anymore. Sadly, there’s never much of an opportunity to fit that sort of introspection in, as the episodes on TV tend to be too fast-paced to find the time; here, Houser has chosen to bring this to the fore, and give us something we seldom get to see on screen.
If there’s one weak area, it unfortunately comes in the shape of Roberta Ingranata’s artwork, which – usually on top form – is here sadly lacking. The eagle-eyed reader will spot she repeats the same panel – even down to the exact same expression on the Doctor’s face, drawn identically – which is no doubt down to convenience or time pressures, but seems a bit of an odd blip. In addition, the likeness of Yaz is so poor for the most part, you’d be hard pressed to know it was her if other characters didn’t refer to her by name.
Still, at least we end on a typically classic cliffhanger, which not only confirms just what you suspect is going on, but is a great hook for the next issue. Alas, it will take a little longer to get here than the blink of an eye.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor – Year 2 #2 is out on 5th February from Titan Comics.