I’ve made it known that I wasn’t thrilled with Russel T. Davies original run on Doctor Who and I’m not excited to see him come back. Credit where it’s due. I do believe he grew up loving the old series and while I’m still convinced he only brought it back to TV–the BBC were considering an animated webseries, “Scream Of The Shalka” being the only result of that–so he could get Torchwood made as sci-fi had a worse history until some BBC heads than at Fox, he did bring it back. Gone was the serialized format and the budget was larger and benefited from new special effects techniques like computer generated effects. It doesn’t feel like the same show despite being in the same continuity, but at least it wasn’t Chris Chibnall’s run. Still, put me among those who enjoyed Moffat’s run more despite having some issues with that one as well.
Meanwhile, Christopher Eccleston was a rather good Doctor. The last survivor of the Time War, this Doctor was trying to recover from the PTSD of that war and his time as the War Doctor. However, the War Doctor only exists because Eccleston didn’t want to return to the character. He had a terrible time during his run and didn’t want to return to the role, one of the reasons being his treatment by BBC Wales as well as some personal issues he was going over at the time. Well, someone at Big Finish was able to convince him to continue the Ninth Doctor’s adventures in audio form…and NO ROSE TYLER!
I hope I get to check this out, but today we’re looking at a Panini Books’ collection of comics from the Ninth Doctor that appeared in Doctor Who Monthly…and sadly there is Rose Tyler.
Okay, enough of that nonsense. The collection contains five stories so this will be short summaries of all of them.
Doctor Who Magazine Special #13: The Ninth Doctor Collected Comics
Panini Publishing (April, 2006)
LETTERER: Roger Langridge
CONSULTING EDITOR: Scott Gray
EDITOR: Clayton Hickman.
Further credits will be given as I get into the reviews themselves.
The Love Invasion (originally printed in DWM #355-357)
SCRIPT: Gareth Roberts | STORY: Roberts & Hickman | PENCILER: Mike Collins | INKER: David A. Roach | COLORISTS: Dylan Teague & James Offredi
The TARDIS arrives in 1966 because Rose wanted to see what existed before her apartment complex was built. This is one of the problems I have with New Who. As Alasdair Beckett-King noted, this show can go anywhere in time and space and most of the show is spent in present day London. Even the old show did it maybe once a season. Anyway they find a murdered alien and become involved in a plot to save the world with “happy helpers”, which will actually end up dooming the world. Insert your own political viewpoint somewhere else because this story I don’t even think is trying to be a commentary. Unlike some of the other collected magazine comics I have there is no “making of” section and I’m an American so British politics go right over my head.
In general the story is actually quite good, Not great, but there’s some decent action, a rare example of a good yet subtle twist, and The Ninth Doctor being himself. The idea of using Rose as a template to jimmy the clone army is scary because the idea of a Rose army will keep me awake at night. Rose makes a friend names Shirley who is just there to be a good-hearted overweight person so we can sneak in a commentary on looks but that doesn’t override the story, while the other guest is actually quite useful, working off of her husband’s work and coming up with the solution, except the part the Doctor has to come up with because it’s his comic and I wouldn’t expect her to make a virus that turns your biological happy helper girls into a whiny teenager from just over the next century…because why would you? I didn’t hate it but it’s not amazing.
Art Attack (originally presented in DWM #358)
WRITER/PENCILER: Mike Collins | Inker: Kris Justice | COLORIST: Dylan Teague
Trying to bypass Rose’s boring adventure choices the Doctor takes her to a museum to see the Mona Lisa…but a future space museum. There they meet Cazkelf, an artist who is planning to use the minds of humans to send a signal to get a lift home. Too bad something destroyed home, but he can return to Earth and continue his artistic journey.
This is the second story in a row of an alien with good intentions but questionable means. While I don’t think destroying his home planet and not even coming up with a reason was good for the story you can understand Cazkelf’s urge to go home and things work out for him in the end. However, this is another story where things get rather dark and another alien is the last of his kind like the Doctor was at this stage. Also, there’s a lot of people saying “ta” a lot of the time, though it wasn’t as bad in this story as it was the first one. I don’t remember that being part of the show before. Short and okay. Again, just okay. I have to wonder if this was filler while the next story was being finished.
The Cruel Sea (originally presented in DWM #359-362)
WRITER: Robert Sherman | PENCILER: Mike Collins | INKER: David A Roach | COLORIST: James Offredi
For crying out loud TEGAN was more interested in the places they traveled to and half the time she was just trying to get to work on time. Now Rose wants to go to a planet she’s heard of and she’s disappointed that Mars has been terraformed by the time they get there. TV Rose was annoying but comic Rose is…boring. They’ve stowed away on a cruise ship because the Doctor doesn’t care about personal rights I guess, but the sea is hiding beings that are messing with the only passengers…and that’s where this story gets confusing.
First we have an old man with his various wives who is keeping himself artificially alive. The enemy is some kind of living reflections that he wants to use to extend his life and there’s psychic stuff going on, Rose is attacked at one point and dreams of not going with the Doctor and him looking at Companions like the almost-corpse does his wife, there’s a rather disgusting part where the Doctor’s reflection and the corpse’s reflection teams up and the latter swallows his second wife…seriously, half the time I have no dang clue what’s going on in this story. There are scenes I would like to see Eccleston perform, like when the Doctor and reflection Doctor are conversing and when the Doctor’s face takes up part of the TARDIS wall because they’re connected somehow…yeah, that didn’t make sense either. It’s like the writer had a good idea, had another idea, and connected them rather poorly. Also, Mickey doesn’t actually show up in Rose’s alternate reality sequence where the Doctor comes back late Amy Pond style, so was it because they couldn’t get permission to use Noel Clarke’s likeness or is this another example of this show’s hostility to interracial couples? I want to like this story but ultimately it lacks focus and I can’t.
Mr. Nobody (originally presented in The Doctor Who Annual 2006)
WRITER: Scott Gray (who isn’t the consultant on this one) | ARTIST: John Ross | James Offredi
A chicken joint’s janitor is suddenly kidnapped by aliens, insisting he’s the reincarnation of the greatest monster of their world. He isn’t and the Doctor and Rose have to rescue him, which may just give him a new lease on life. I know, short summary on this one.
This isn’t the first Doctor Who comic in which a nobody is drawn into an alien encounter. The Marvel UK magazines did it as well, some of which actually appeared in the Marvel US comic. I don’t mean an average person, I mean the kind of character doing the most menial thing possible being swept up into adventure. I think there was a Fourth Doctor story part of that Marvel run I mentioned, but that was the Doctor alone with this nobody, so I thought Rose would actually be a hinderance. Instead she…and I can’t believe I’m saying this, actually is beneficial to the story. With this incarnation seemingly unable, unwilling, or both to grasp the mundane it’s Rose that helps the janitor regain his sanity and just as this story should go he’s the one that saves the day, completing his character arc. This was actually a good story, making good use of Rose and the dynamic she has with the Doctor.
However we have yet another twist, in that the monsters are the heroes and the heroes are the monsters. Every story so far has pulled this stunt and we still have one more tale to go. Come on, show me you’re not dipping into this well EVERY time? You don’t have a lot of Ninth Doctor stories as he was short lived and these stories took place over multiple magazines.
A Groatsworth Of Wit (originally printed in DWM #363-364)
WRITER: Gareth Roberts | PENCILER: Mike Collins | INKER: David A Roach | COLORIST: James Offredi
Poet Robert Green is dying, jealous and hate-filled for his rival, William Shakespeare. Two beings from another dimension try to build that hate by sending him to modern day England (because of course they are) to see how his rival is famous and he is only famous for introducing the world to his rival. The Doctor and Rose try to stop him here and then pop back to save Shakespeare because the “shadeys” want to use him to destroy the world and allow them to enter the world. In the end it’s Greene that manages to send them back. Shakespeare may be the more well known poet but Greene saved the world, and he can die peacefully with that knowledge.
The part with Shakespeare is of course more interesting (and given some continuity questions) after the Tenth Doctor met a younger version of Will while traveling with Rose’s replacement, Martha–who later married Mickey because same race marriage is totally approved. Yes, I’m on that again. It may have saved Mickey’s life. This is normal for New Who, playing with history for a sci-fi adventure without being the lost historical concept that used to pop up in the show. The shadeys have a history with the Time Lords, reminding us they might have been jerks but they were still useful jerks. And maybe the literary minded will look into Greene’s works after seeing him here.
Overall this collection is kind of a mixed bag. There are good ideas but only a couple stories really made use of them. “Mr. Nobody” is my favorite because it’s short, actually does something good with Rose, and has a good theme. The worst for me is “The Cruel Sea” because too often I don’t know what’s going on and that story is some serious nightmare fuel. I didn’t tell you how the dude devoured one of his many wives and frankly it was creepy before the reflection people arrived. Frankly I’m not sure I can recommend this unless you really want to have all the Ninth Doctor and Rose tales. Most of these don’t work, like they only really started to do good New Who just as Nine was taking a powder. It’s wasted potential or just not as interesting as I’d like. Maybe your opinion will differ, and that’s okay. I see some merit here, but in the end not something I’m ecstatic over. So pretty much my connection to New Who and the Davies run as a whole.