First things first, Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor is a thoroughly well put together comic book. It begins with the cover credits which clearly list the creative team including the studio that produced the letters(!!!) and carries into the gorgeous opening pages which explain who the cast of characters are and what they bring to the TARDIS. The detailed interior credits page, which all other publishers could honestly learn from, manages to list every member of the team including the flatters–Sara Micheli and Andrea Moretto–which is one of the most vital and under celebrated roles in comics creation. As a fan of the process of making comics and someone who occasionally makes their own, it’s incredibly nice to see Titan Comics properly credit and celebrate the teamwork that goes into making a comic, and it’s especially nice to see in a story which is all about a group of people working together. The brilliant core creative team of Jody Houser, Rachael Stott, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Vivianna Spinelli, and Comicraft’s Sarah Jacobs and John Roshell do a fantastic job of creating an accessible and exciting comic which will be a perfect entry point for kids who love the new Doctor. So often the intersection between TV, film, and comics feels off by not having great corresponding titles available for new readers. But with Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1, the creative team makes something that’s perfect for both new fans and old readers alike. Doctor Who comics as a concept make so much sense, as the series affords the freedom to tell an infinite amount of stories set anywhere in multiple galaxies, and this first issue takes advantage of that. Stott, Angiolini, and Spinelli craft unbelievable galactic landscapes that are truly lovely to look at, and Stott’s ability to bring recognizable characters to life without obvious photo tracing is a joy in a world where certain comics have been drained of all personality with lifeless traces. We join the team of the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham as they watch a pastel-colored, swirling, sentient nebula. It’s a beautiful sight but they quickly become distracted as a pair of ghostly hands reach out towards them begging for help. The team quickly gets swept up in a vibrantly gorgeous space exploration which allows us to see through their eyes. Stott’s layouts are particularly strong in this issue; a standout is the fantastic panel in which the Doctor works around the TARDIS’ table, and we see multiple versions of her as she does. Another visually memorable moment comes as we get a spectacular double page spread centered around the TARDIS which showcases moments through time, and the Doctors’ memories juxtaposed with her new companions. I honestly think it’s a little bit radical to make a book that’s so accessible and easy to read in an age of baffling events, complex crossovers, and ridiculous reboots, and I’m super excited for all the new fans who will discover a love of sequential storytelling through this book. This is essentially a comic about an intergalactic art heist, jeweled alien crime bosses, and of course Doctor Who and her vibrant crew of collaborators. It’s so much fun to pore through and join this crew on that adventure, even if it does go by a little too quickly.
Images: Titan Comics, Header image by Alice X. Zhang