Time is an illusion, as Ford Prefect once said; it seems to be truer than ever during a global pandemic. Things have got a bit wibbly-wobbly in the last couple of months, and where the entertainment and media industries are concerned, lots of things have vanished into something of a timewarp, with production and release schedules badly impacted.
If there’s one thing that’s worse than having a suspenseful cliffhanger, it’s having an enforced delay in finding out how it gets resolved. Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor: Year Two unfortunately found itself in something of a Temporal Orbit while things gradually got back on track. Fortunately, lockdown has brought out some of the creative, innovative endeavours, with Doctor Who fans in particular ending up being treated to a series of celebrity watchalongs, including newly-made extra content, to enhance the experience, and make being housebound more bearable.
One of the latest examples of this has come in the form of Doctors Assemble!, an original lockdown short, featuring the combined talents of fan and professional impersonators (such as Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson), to bring us a new multi-Doctor crossover. It’s perfect timing (ironically, given the oft-noted unreliability of the TARDIS), as it more or less coincides with the final part of ‘A Little Help From My Friends’, the four-issue comic team-up which features the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors.
Writer Jody Houser has the unenviable task of wrapping up a story featuring two incarnations of the Time Lord, along with two sets of companions, and two different monsters, all in the space (and time) of a shade over 20 pages. Such an undertaking isn’t something that one would do lightly, so thankfully Houser’s managed to pull it off, and provide a satisfying wrap up to the tale. It also serves both previous and incumbent Doctors well, without leaving it that either of them has been shortchanged in having their fair share of the action.
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Houser’s worked on the principle that two heads are better than one (even if, technically, it’s only the one shared head, with both Doctors being the exact same person in reality). It’s always satisfying to see Doctors working together, and Ten and Thirteen gel beautifully; Tennant’s version always seemed to be the one most grounded, as well as least likely to make a big deal out of one of his future selves being a woman, so it’s great to see the consistency of his on-screen characterisation being portrayed here.
It’s a worthy end to this face-off against both the Weeping Angels and the Nestene Consciousness, as well as a great hook to set up the next adventure. Roll on issue #5, and hopefully sooner rather than later, further possible global calamities notwithstanding.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor: Year Two #4 is out now from Titan Comics.