Book Review – Eleventh Doctor Vol. 3 – Conversion

I read this a few weeks ago, but never got around to writing a review because I was busy with other things. So here it goes, although the story is no longer fresh in my mind.

Doctor Who – Conversion is the third Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) graphic novel from Titan Comics. It features the companions original to the Titan Comics series of Eleventh Doctor adventures: Alice, Jones, and Arc. The artwork, as always for the Titan Comics Doctor Who graphic novels and comics is brilliantly good! The story promises to bring about a conclusion to the Serveyouinc storyline – and it seems to, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the villain of Titan’s 11th Doctor stories returns. The story also gives us more background to Arc’s origins – and start’s off where last issue’s backwards story ended (or started). And if you think that sounds confusing, much of the novel was very confusing as well. Also, Cybermen land in Roman Times during a Civil War, and the Doctor and his companions must prevent Earth’s history from being forever changed.

Overall, I felt this graphic novel was good, though not as good as the previous Eleventh Doctor volume, Serve You, though the two volumes are very inter-related.

I can highly recommend the Titan Comics series, though. Each set reflects the era it represents: the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, and the Twelfth Doctor. This year (2016) they will be adding the Ninth Doctor, the Eighth Doctor and a special Fourth Doctor special.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Quantum Archangel

  • Title: The Quantum Archangel
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Craig Hinton
  • Characters:  Sixth Doctor, Mel
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 3/05/2013

This story is a sequel to the aired Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor) story, “The Time Monster”, which I re-watched prior to reading it. That was a good idea – several of the guest characters from that story re-appear in this one.

The Quantum Archangel features the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Mel. The book opens with the Doctor and Mel recovering from a disaster — and Mel is so devastated she decides to leave the Doctor. But when he drops her off, not only is he off by three years, but he discovers “the son of TOMTITT” is causing universe-spanning troubles — troubles that the Doctor, the Master, Mel, and several of Mel’s college buddies are drawn into. Not to mention several guest characters from “The Time Monster”.

The first half of this novel was slow and very confusing. However, it gradually built steam, and the conclusion was awesome. Overall, a worth-while read in the Doctor Who BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures range.

By the way, the author notes state the author is a fan of “American” comics — and it shows, there are plenty of references to various comics, which is fun – in a rather grim book. The phrase, “With great power comes great responsibility” is used often. And Oa is mentioned. Anyway, theses references lighten up the book. There’s also a lot of various Who references. And the entire plot has to do with computing and the search for a workable Quantum Computer, among other things. Enjoy!

Book Review – Eleventh Doctor Vol. 2 – Serve You

The first story in Titan Comics 11th Doctor Doctor Who graphic novel, Serve You is presented in a very unique, confusing, but ultimately successful fashion: backwards. It opens with Alice and the Doctor lamenting the loss of Jones. The bottom panel is even marked, “The End”. But then the story leaps back in time. Every page or so is earlier than the previous one, and even the page numbers run backwards. This is disconcerting, but eventually the Doctor, who remains conscious through the time leaps, even if his “other body” has been knocked unconscious, explains what is happening. He’s able to save both Jones and Arc with help from Alice and defeat the Nimon who has gotten into the TARDIS. The Doctor even saves (and protects) the planet the Nimon had destroyed. Despite the initial confusion, the story works.

Chapter 7 and 8 tell the story of an eons-long space war that comes to Earth but doesn’t involve Earth. Never-the-less the Doctor and his companions become involved. It’s a good story and I liked Alice’s involvement. Bits of the story, without giving too much away, reminded me of Farscape (crossed with the film 2001).

Chapters 9 and 10 resolve the on-going Serveyouinc storyline from volume 1 of the Titan Comics 11th Doctor graphic novel series. I must admit, I found parts of it to be very confusing. I liked some parts and not others. Overall, I was a bit (just a bit) disappointed as to how the conflict which has been building through two graphic novels was resolved.

Still, overall Serve You is an excellent Doctor Who graphic novel. The art is gorgeous, as it has been for all the Titan Comics I’ve read so far (in the Doctor Who line). The stories really feel like episodes from the Matt Smith era, even though the Doctor has new companions. There is a slight young adult feel to the stories, but they are still quite enjoyable for adults. Both Serve You and the series of Doctor Who graphic novels are recommended.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Ultimate Treasure

  • Title: The Ultimate Treasure
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Christopher Bulis
  • Characters:  Fifth Doctor, Peri
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 2/23/2013

This book opens with Peri and the Fifth Doctor, on vacation at the world’s biggest shopping mall. Actually, it’s a planet-sized space station that IS a shopping mall. They are about to leave when Peri announces she wants a souvenir. The go to the lower, less respectable levels of the mall and end-up in the middle of a robbery and murder. But all this is mere set-up as the Doctor and Peri get caught-up in a big treasure hunt.

The treasure hunt consists of a series of mental, physical, and logical tests, as well as tests of character. Several other people also end up on the treasure hunt, with a variety of motivations. As with all novels of this type, after making their way through a number of tests, all the various characters have to make a very serious choice.

The story moved fast, and although some of the tests were familiar (the Doctor even jokes that he, “faced something similar on Mars,” about one logic puzzle,) overall I found the short episodic nature of The Quest to be interesting. The final choices, which I won’t spoil, made a logical sense.

Overall, it was a fun and fast read. This particular story wasn’t the best Past Doctor Adventure I’ve read, but it certainly wasn’t the worst, either. Recommended, if you can find it. Yes, despite it being very early in the PDA series, I only found a copy a year or so ago, it’s well out of print.

Book Review – Eleventh Doctor Vol. 1 – After Life

After Life is the first collected volume in Titan Comics Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) Doctor Who series. The art is fantastic and I really loved it. It has a wonderful painted quality, with some pages looking like a watercolor with subtle differences in shading of essentially the same color palette such as grey or sepia; whereas other pages use bright colors, but not the traditional “comic” 4-color look. It’s truly excellent art. The panel order is also very clear, and the imagery is sharp and crisp not blurry or fuzzy.

The first story is this collection of five issues was my favorite, it introduces Alice Obiefune, who first loses her mother, whom she had been caring for, for years. Then she loses her job. Then her landlord throws her out of her apartment so he can sell the building at a profit for luxury apartment complexes. Also, when she reaches out to a friend she finds her friend is moving away. Alice, needless to say, is very sad and depressed. And she runs into a Rainbow Dog – an alien; and the Doctor. Alice helps the Doctor chase the Rainbow Dog, but then the Doctor sees a Time Lord Cardinal out of the corner of his eye, gets distracted, and runs into a light pole. Soon after he leaves Alice, and disappears. Alice returns to her apartment, determined to fight back and at least keep the apartment. Then the TARDIS arrives. Alice and the Doctor spend some time together, rescue the Rainbow Dog and reunite it with it’s child-alien owner. The Doctor takes Alice for a trip in the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Alice head for what the Doctor says is a beautiful place, an entire planet set aside as a System-Wide Park. A national trust or national park. But when they arrive, the planet’s been destroyed and turned into an amusement park. To make matters worse, everyone is deliriously happy – artificially so. The Doctor and Alice find the aliens responsible and put a stop to it, and free the citizens of the park and the planet with it’s waste mines and destruction. It was a good story, but told too quickly – it should have been two issues at least.

The third story ties in with the second one, in that the same “group” or villain is at the root of what’s going on, but the story is somewhat confusing and jumps back and forth in time a bit too much. It’s also a somewhat predictable story of the musician who makes a deal with the devil to get his talent. The only interesting bit is that the Doctor also makes some sort of deal – and although Alice and temporary companion John Jones manage to save the Doctor – he can’t remember what he was willing to sell his soul (so to speak) for. However, since we again see a glimpse of a Time Lord Cardinal, we can certainly guess. I just felt this story was both predictable and a bit flat.

The final two issues bound into this graphic novel are a single story. Characters from the previous two stories appear again, and the story is set on a deep space research station or base, where something has gone horribly wrong and a number of people are in comas as a result. The Doctor, and Alice find out eventually that the station was torturing an “Autonomous Reasoning Center” literally a walking mind. This mind doesn’t want to hurt people or even take revenge for being hurt – it simply wants to know – but it’s attempts at communication were painful or hurting others. The Doctor straightens it all out.

All four stories in volume one were good, but I felt the first story was the best. In a sense, this volume of the new Titan Comics Doctor Who graphic novels seemed to be aimed a bit more at younger children or at least at teens. But the stories are still good – just not mind-blowingly great. I have the second volume and look forward to reading it soon.

Book Review – Doctor Who: Atom Bomb Blues

  • Title: Atom Bomb Blues
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Andrew Cartmel
  • Characters:  Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 2/22/2013

Finishing this book gave me a sense of accomplishment and a sense of sadness. I have been collecting and reading the BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures (PDA) and Eighth Doctor Adventures (EDA) paperback books series for years (at least since 2001 and possibly before that). I’ve always thought that of the six series (so far) of books based on the BBC television series, Doctor Who, that the PDAs and EDAs had the best writing and were the closest to the characterizations from the actual TV series. So reaching the last Past Doctor Adventure was sad… but since I’ve read most of the PDAs, it was also a sense of accomplishment, it is a series of 76 books after all — that’s a lot.

So, getting on to the review of this particular book in the series. Atom Bomb Blues brings Ace and the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy’s version, e.g. the 7th Doctor) to New Mexico in 1945 during the development and testing phase of the nuclear bomb. The novel moves very fast at the beginning and introduces some great characters. Later on it gets a bit confusing. However, overall I did really like the book, it was an enjoyable read, and the Doctor and Ace were in character. This is a stand-alone Ace and the Doctor novel and not part of Mike Tucker & Robert Perry’s mini-series within the PDA series starring Ace and the Doctor.

One of few things I did find annoying about the PDAs was that every time the series takes the Doctor and his companion to the US there are very basic errors (Dying in the Sun being one of the worst). Unfortunately, Atom Bomb Blues is no exception, with the author continuously mis-spelling “chili” as “chilli”. Very distracting. (At the beginning of the novel a Mexican-American cook/housekeeper’s chili is an important plot-point of sorts). Minor problem, yes, but annoying anyway. I also think it should have been colder in the New Mexico desert at night, but whatever.

However, I did like the plot and the characters. “Cosmic Ray” seemed a bit out of time (his accent and slang are very 60s) but that gets explained later. Ace was wonderful — I especially liked how she reacts to the Doctor’s withholding information. That was very like the series itself, especially the 7th Doctor Era.

Overall, I recommend this particular book in the BBC Past Doctor Adventures series. This is a nice Swan Song for the series to go out on. The book is an enjoyable, fast read.

Book Review – Ninth Doctor Vol. 1 – Weapons of Past Destruction

Titan Comics started their excellent series of Doctor Who graphic novels with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, and quickly added the Twelfth Doctor. Now they have gone back in time so to speak and started a Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) series. Weapons of Past Destruction is the first volume in that series. The novel is set between “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town” and also features the Doctor’s companions, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness.
The Doctor brings Rose and Captain Jack to a planet dedicated to art and science for vacation, but when the TARDIS arrives the planet has been completely destroyed. Captain Harkness takes the three to an illegal weapons bazaar, which upsets the Doctor. When the Doctor finds a dealer selling Gallifreyan weapons he freaks out a bit. Soon, the Doctor and his companions are caught up in a galactic conflict between the Unon and the Lect. As is the case with such things, Rose, Jack, and the Doctor are separated, reunited, separated again, in various combinations. But the story does draw to a successful conclusion. It also has a story that gives one time for thought.
The artwork is truly, truly gorgeous – and the characters’ voices are true to the Ninth Doctor Era of Doctor Who.
I enjoyed this graphic novel and I hope Titan Comics continues the series. Recommended, along with the other Doctor Who graphic novels.