The second of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who collections features the first five issues of the ongoing Tenth Doctor series. Scripted by Nick Abadzis, with art by Elena Casagrande (with Arianna Florean) the two storylines here introduce us to Gabriella Gonzalez, a Mexican American living with her family in Brooklyn – think Ugly Betty set in a laundromat.
David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor is arguably the most popular of the 21st Century Time Lords (cue much debate) – and the expectations therefore, are all the higher for this. Does this collection succeed? Allons-y…
Abadzis presents us with a solid start for Gabby including meeting her family (I suspect we’ll bump into them again in the future) and her aptitude for being a companion, while the Tenth Doctor’s characterisation is fairly subtle. It’s set towards the end of his incarnation – he’s less manic having just lost Donna, and there’s even some regeneration foreshadowing. Best of all, he doesn’t spout catchphrases all over the place as he did earlier on in his tenure.
The first story is well-structured across three chapters, with enough time given for introductions to the Doctor and Gabby, a new race of aliens, plus an effective denouement. It’s not ground-breaking, with perhaps a little too much exposition, but enjoyable nevertheless.
Casagrande’s art is excellent, with a boldness in style and layout that almost mimics the pace and speed of David Tennant’s Doctor. While the likeness isn’t always exactly spot on, it’s an affectionate tribute that isn’t meant to be photo-realistic.
Chapters 4 and 5 make up a shorter story, wittingly titled The Arts in Space. It’s a quirky change of pace that cleverly gives Gabby the opportunity to write – and draw – a letter back home. It’s the sort of device that suits the comics medium perfectly. Once the story itself kicks into gear, there’s plenty more of the titular Arts In Space that would be hard to realise as well in any other medium. Great stuff!
The collection is rounded out with design sketches and a glimpse at a few of the individual issues’ variant covers. All round it’s an excellent start to the Tenth Doctor’s latest comics era.
All the books in this series: