REVIEW: “Doctor Who – The 13th Doctor, Volume 4: A Tale of Two Time Lords”

There will always be something devilishly fun about multi-Doctor stories. I don’t know if it’s the knowledge that, in-universe, they’re just not supposed to happen or if it’s the joy of witnessing multiple incarnations of the Doctor interacting with each other at the same time. Whatever it is, it’s fun to witness. So, the moment I heard that Titan Comics’ ongoing 13th Doctor line would feature an arc where the 13th Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan meet up with the 10th Doctor and Martha Jones during the events of Blink, I was super excited. It sounded like a bucket and a half of fun. And, having read the arc, it was exactly as much fun as I’d have liked – though, as always, I wish it was a bit longer. (4.5 out of 5 wands.)

(NOTE: There may be mild spoilers for A Tale of Two Time Lords ahead.)

Doctor Who: A Tale of Two Time Lords (written by Jody Houser, illustrated by Roberta Ingranata)
The Thirteenth Doctor is back with her friends – Yaz, Ryan and Graham – in a brand new time-travelling adventure. This time she faces the horrific Weeping Angels – who else can help her out but one of her previous incarnations: the Tenth Doctor himself! Landing in the swinging 60s, the Thirteenth Doctor and fam are stranded in the middle of a territorial battle between the Angels and the creepy Autons, all the while having to avoid her former self and causing the universe to implode! What could go wrong?

This arc probably ranks among my favorites of the 13th Doctor’s era at Titan Comics. While it’s not perfect, it’s just so much fun and features some well-executed fan service. I always have the same problem with the Titan Comics Doctor Who comics – I wish the arcs were longer than four issues. I always want to spend more time in the beginning and middle of the stories instead of feeling as though I’m careening as quickly as possible to the climax. And the same, unfortunately, is true here. Houser does her best at slowing things down in the first issue of the arc, giving readers the chance to reacquaint themselves with the 10th Doctor and Martha, but pretty quickly the plot kicks in and everything just picks up speed, quicker and quicker, until it’s all over too soon. There’s a lot of great work done in these four issues, but I continue to wish there was just a bit more time for some extra character work.

But, to be fair, the action is really fun. As is the story, too. The idea of setting this tale in the middle of Blink, for the 10th Doctor and Martha, is a great one. There’s a lot of room in that unspecified amount of time Martha and the 10th Doctor are stuck in the late 1960s for some interesting stories to be told and it makes for an easy way of having the 13th Doctor and her companions face off against the Weeping Angels. The Weeping Angels, however, aren’t quite as effective on the page as they are on the screen, their horror normally relying more on camera tricks than on the imagery of their designs, so Houser adds the Autons into the mix for the Doctors and their companions to fight. The Autons are one of those classic Doctor Who villains that haven’t appeared anywhere near as often as one might think, so every time they do appear it’s a true delight to see them.

As is often the case in the Titan Comics, there’s not enough time in the story to give either the Weeping Angels or the Autons a lot to do, so they’re just sort of there without any real motivation or discernible plan, outside of a vague “taking over the earth” kind of thing. Which is totally fine. I don’t go to the Doctor Who comics for complex storylines. Would I like them? Sure. But, ultimately, I go to the Doctor Who comics for fun adventures. And that’s exactly what this is: a really entertaining romp with some fan-favorite villains and two beloved Doctors. Houser is great at capturing the voices of the characters and giving them interesting things to say and do. She is great at creating worlds around them that feel interesting and lived in. And she’s great at writing creative and enjoyable action sequences. Is A Tale of Two Time Lords super fun and enjoyable? Most definitely.

Roberta Ingranta’s artwork throughout her run on the 13th Doctor comics has always been stellar. She has a true gift at capturing the likenesses and the spirits of the characters from the TV show while imbuing them (and the new characters created by Houser) with a lot of life. This remains true here as Ingranata is given the chance to play with iconic villains, like the Weeping Angels and the Autons, as well as with the 10th Doctor and with Martha. In both cases, Ingranata excels. Her artwork here is beautiful. She captures England in the 1960s extremely well, as well as capturing the overall atmosphere of Blink. Her depiction of the Weeping Angels is just as scary as you’d want them to be and her versions of the 10th Doctor and Martha are every bit as good as her versions of the 13th Doctor and her companions. As always, Ingranta’s artwork adds a lot to the experience of reading a 13th Doctor comic and I love it.

At the end of the day, Doctor Who: A Tale of Two Time Lords is another great installment in the 13th Doctor’s ongoing series at Titan Comics. It’s a quick-paced, action-packed, really fun romp between two fan-favorite Doctors and their companions. Both Houser and Ingranata capture the spirits of these characters while propelling them into new and exciting adventures. The idea of setting a new story in the middle of an existing one is a great idea, and there’s a lot of fun mined out of the fact that the audience knows exactly what’s next for the 10th Doctor and Martha. I’m not sure what’s next for the 13th Doctor comics, but I’m excited to see where they go from here.

4.5 out of 5 wands.

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