Book Review – Doctor Who Ninth Doctor vol. 2: Doctormania

  • Title: Doctormania
  • Author: Cavan Scott
  • Artists: Adriana Melo, Cris Bolson, Matheus Lopes, Marco Lesko, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line: 9th Doctor
  • Characters: Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness
  • Collection Date: 2016
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/10/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Doctormania is the second volume in Titan Comics Ninth Doctor graphic novel series – it was also a bit confusing and I ended-up reading it three times before reviewing. But then, I also kept not having time to review it. The graphic novel consists of several stories.

In the first story, the Doctor takes Rose and Jack to the Eye of Orion. Jack is surprised by the giant ziggurat on the planet’s surface – and the Doctor knows it and the famous hanging gardens of Slarvia shouldn’t be there. They quickly discover the location has been hacked by the Geohacker Taggani. Geohackers hack planets, rearranging the surface as they see fit, or to make a point. The Doctor, it turns out, was quite a fan of Taggani – until one of his “hacks” killed the entire population of a planet. The Doctor turns Taggani over to the Shadow Proclamation but not before Jack’s face ends up on the planet’s moon.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack receive a message from Jack, dressed in a Time Agent uniform, a message that Jack doesn’t remember sending. The TARDIS crew realises it may be from before Jack’s memories were wiped. The TARDIS follows the signal to Gharusa, only to find the planet strangely welcoming. The minute they step out of the TARDIS, they are greeted by an enthusiastic fan who talks about how much she loves “Doctor Who?” minisode series. The Doctor has even written a book about his experiences. They are attacked by “Chumblies”, though the Doctor insists they aren’t Chumblies. The fan jumps between the Doctor and the Chumblies attack but isn’t seriously hurt.

The “Doctor” arrives in a flying car that resembles the Third Doctor’s Whomobile and destroys the Chumblies with EMP mines. Meanwhile the young female fan squees at being in the middle of everything, and the gathering crowd asks for selfies and autographs. The local police arrest the Doctor for identity theft. However, this actually makes things easier – Rose sneaks in to the holo-vid studios by pretending to be a reporter for the Daily Planet (or maybe the Daily Bugle – she isn’t sure herself) to interview the Doctor’s companion, Penny. She discovers the fake Doctor is in fact a Slitheen. The Doctor easily convinces the police he is who he says he is by letting them do a body scan. The Slitheen, Penny, is accidentally killed by the fan who is trying to protect the real Doctor, which, of course, makes him very angry. Rose is kidnapped by the Doctor and taken to the home planetary system of the Slitheen. Jack and the Doctor follow in the TARDIS. The Doctor (the Slitheen one) accepts an offer to speak at the peace conference for the warring planets (four at least) of the system that is home to the Slitheen for a large fee. Rose exposes her. This causes the other planets to unite against the Slitheen family – whose crimes are even beyond their own standards. However, the weather control station on Clix is basically hacked and a storm of acid rain burns (and eventually kills those without shelter) anyone out in the open. Jack and the Doctor, though, has used Slitheen skin suits to investigate the planet un-noticed. They put Rose’s “friend” the Doctor in one to protect her and to preserve the evidence. They discover the plot, reveal it to the entire system, and back it up with the living evidence. As they are leaving the Doctor receives a phone call from Mickey.

The TARDIS lands in San Francisco, where the Doctor meets Mickey – but Mickey wants him to leave, as he wanted “the other one” – and to avoid a paradox. In San Francisco, people are suddenly gaining super powers, such as flight. But soon gargoyles are attacking and those with super powers are disappearing. As you may suspect, these events are connected. San Francisco is also experiencing the Northern Lights, which is not in any, way, shape, or form, normal. The Doctor and Mickey discover the super-powered people are only the first stage – and they eventually turn in to gargoyles – but not before Rose discovers the power of flight. The Doctor realizes the Northern Lights are actually a wormhole – a punchway, an extremely destructive type of hyperspace travel. He goes to the terminus of the line to stop it. But it’s Rose who ultimately stops the punchway and saves everyone.

Meanwhile the few gargoyles are sent back in time to be dealt with by UNIT including Dr. Harry Sullivan.

Doctormania was a bit too meta for me. The second story with the Doctor Who? fan girl was uncomfortable to read, and felt like the author was biting the hand (eg fans) that feed him. The second part of that story though, was interesting in that the internal politics of the various planets in the “Slitheen” system (the graphic novel does not forget that “Slitheen” is a family name and the people are a different species) are actually pretty interesting. Seeing the Slitheen burned by acid rain is both horrifying and empathy-provoking. The Taggani story is a bit weird. The final story I actually liked. But throughout the book, it was, I don’t know – strange. The book quotes famous bits of Ninth Doctor dialogue either directly or stylistically but that was the problem. It felt artificial. Like someone had watched a couple of episodes of Ninth Doctor Doctor Who or even just read memes and quote pages -without really absorbing the characters. Rose seems, well, not exactly dumb, but rude – and dismissive of things she doesn’t understand. Jack is egotistical and more concerned with looking good than helping others, especially the Doctor and Rose. It all seems rather flat. Most of the art is actually very good, and hopefully the writing style will improve. I’d like to see the Titan Comics Ninth Doctor Series go more in the direction of the other series, especially the Tenth Doctor series which has become it’s own, original thing. I’d give this book 3.5 stars – it’s still Recommended, but with reservations.

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