REVIEW: “Doctor Who – The 13th Doctor, Volume 2”

13th doc vol 2With Jodie Whittaker’s second season as the 13th Doctor delayed until 2020, fans of Doctor Who are left to turn to other mediums to get their fix of new Doctor Who stories. Thankfully, Titan Comics continues to put out new 13th Doctor comics each and every month. And they’re really good, too, with each arc comprising a single storyline that feels like a complete episode of the series!

Doctor Who – The 13th Doctor, Volume 2 by Jody Houser, illustrated by Rachael Stott and Roberta Ingranata
A mysterious podcast leads the Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan throughout history as they work out how they’re involved in its creation and just who’s behind “Hidden Human History”.

Much like the previous volume, this volume of the 13th Doctor comic tells an all-new story with the 13th Doctor and her new friends. And also like that first volume, this storyline is a really good one. I really like it when comics that are based on TV shows do something unique that the TV show can’t do (usually for budgetary reasons) and that’s exactly what this volume of the 13th Doctor comic did. The story takes place in multiple different time periods and multiple different locations, each issue featuring wholly different characters, all tied together by an overarching “villain” and an overarching mystery. Each issue isn’t particularly long, so were the four to be adapted word-for-word, it would probably end up being about the length of an average episode of Doctor Who. But it’d be a really, really good episode. The mystery is an interesting one and it’s explored and solved in a very interesting manner. I like it when shows and comics use modern day technology and pop culture as a way of creating mystery and the use of a podcast as the central mystery of this storyline works out really, really well. If anything, I’d have liked to have seen the podcast play an even bigger role in the story. But, as it is, it was a lot of fun.

Jody Houser continues to expertly capture the voices of all of the characters. With every word she writes, you immediately hear those words in the voices of whichever character says them. She writes the 13th Doctor with all of the personality quirks unique to that Doctor – instead of just writing the character as a generic “Doctor” as many do during the first season or two of any new Doctor’s era. She also captures the voices of Yaz, Graham, and Ryan perfectly, imbuing them with all the nuances of their relationships that are found within the TV series and exploring those nuances in interesting ways. Through the usage of the podcast in this storyline, we get the chance to see something that’s bonded all three of our human characters together and it’s nice to see them all so easily relate to something they like. Houser, of course, doesn’t just perfectly capture the essence of the characters from the TV series, but she also creates unique and enjoyable new ones – including having some characters she introduced in the previous volume return in this one! But I won’t say anything more about that, except that I hope they continue to be recurring characters in the 13th Doctor’s comics.

The illustrations throughout this book continue to be some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen in any comic in ages. This time, Rachael Stott is joined by Roberta Ingranata (who takes over illustrations for the last three issues int his volume). Like Houser, Stott and Ingranata perfectly capture the essences of these characters that we know and love from the TV series. They bring such emotion and wonderful facial expressions to these characters, so much that they truly feel alive. They do great work in action scenes, ensuring that each page has a certain flow to it and that each panel drives the readers into the next one, creating tension through the way any given page is laid out and through what is actually shown in any given panel. In terms of new aliens and new environments, Stott and Ingranata are given a whole lot to play with as they are asked to illustrate three different time periods/locations – a feat which they do with perfect ease. Each location has a distinct look – and even a distinct color palette, though that’s down to the work of the colorist, Enrica Eren Angiolini. Stott and Ingranata are also asked to design another entirely new alien for the Doctor to face off against and their designs for this volume are a perfect blend of relatable and frightening. It’s a design that really could only work within the pages of a comic and I love it. Stott’s (and now Ingranata’s) illustrations continue to be such a shining aspect of these 13th Doctor comics and I hope they both continue on the title for a nice, long time.

All in all, this second volume of the ongoing 13th Doctor comic series is another great entry. Featuring an interesting, well-written mystery; some compelling old and new characters; and a whole lot of really incredible artwork, this comic is a must-read for fans of Doctor Who. It provides a really nice fix of new 13th Doctor stories while we all await Jodie Whittaker’s second season as the Doctor. This volume features a wholly original story that probably could never have worked as an actual episode of Doctor Who, a fact which only makes the story that much more interesting. Read this graphic novel for the story, read it for the amazing artwork, or read it for a fix of new Doctor Who. But, regardless, just read it.

4.5 out of 5 wands.

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