David Tennant is the Doctor. No, really, he is. Well, surely he must be, given the sheer amount of visibility and attention which the Tenth incarnation has been getting recently? For example, he has been appearing in an increasing number of Big Finish audios, and has also been heavily featured in the multi-platform Time Lord Victorious saga.
The Tenth Doctor has also been co-starring right alongside the latest iteration with a quite alarming regularity in Titan Comics’ Doctor Who range. David Tennant’s version of the Time Lord still remains popular to this day, after lifting the show’s profile during his tenure to the dizzying heights of popularity not seen since its 1970s heyday with Tom Baker piloting the TARDIS across all time and space at teatime on Saturdays.
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Tennant’s love for the programme is clear, and you really can tell he loves coming back for the Big Finish audios, appearing with previous Doctors in the Out Of Time mini-series, as well as his turning up in costume with Jodie Whittaker last year in an edition of The Late Late Show With James Corden. It does feel as though you can try to take the boy out of the TARDIS, but you will never, ever be able to take the TARDIS out of the boy, which can only be a good thing.
His Doctor does have what could be charitably called rather a ‘big‘ personality, so the risk of pairing the Tenth Doctor with the Thirteenth in Titan’s Doctor Who Comic is a little bit of a risk, as criticism has been raised that Whittaker’s incarnation still does not yet feel fully formed or distinctive enough. The two earlier comic book crossovers, however, would appear to have worked well enough for them to get yet another team-up here, although to have them happen back-to-back really is starting to feel like too much of a good thing.
The amount of ancillary material during the last 12 months foregrounding the Tenth Doctor does also suggest there is something of a lack of confidence in the incumbent, which would be a terrible shame if true, and having Titan Comics’ third consecutive pairing of these two Doctors does little in order to refute that notion. What seems doubly strange is revisiting one of the weakest of Whittaker’s TV stories, and using it as the basis for this comic adventure.
Nobody would truly say ‘Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror’ was by any means a classic, so perhaps the temptation was to try and do something more interesting with it, which – if we are being completely honest – would not be a bad thing. Sadly, after three issues, there has been an awful lot of exposition, but no real sign of a passable payoff in sight, and with every passing instalment, it really starts to look less and less likely things will be wrapped up satisfactorily in the end.
Perhaps too many elements – Rose Tyler and her folks; two Doctors; Sea Devils; Skithra; an alternative timeline; Nikola Tesla – have been thrown into the mix for the tale to be able to work properly. No-one can fault Jody Houser’s ambition, by giving us an adventure here which is not a sequel to a TV episode, but more of a do-over; however, this may turn out to be a case of writing yourself into a corner, unless she can pull out all the stops for the conclusion.
Doctor Who Comic #3 is out now from Titan Comics.