Book Review – Doctor Who: The Day She Saved The Doctor

  • Title: Doctor Who: The Day She Saved The Doctor
  • Authors: Jacqueline Rayner, Jenny T. Colgan, Susan Calman, Dorothy Koomson
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/26/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Day She Saved the Doctor is a collection of four short stories, well, novelettes. Each story features a female companion and a popular Doctor, and the theme for the four stories is that the companion must “save” or rescue the Doctor. Mind you, in the show the female companions, and even some of the male companions rescued the Doctor all the time. All four stories are also written by female writers and the book designer is also a woman (and from Milwaukee!).

Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes
Jacqueline Rayner

The first story, “Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes” has the Fourth Doctor (as played on the television series by Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane arriving in Ancient Rome. They no sooner start exploring an ancient marketplace than a woman runs out into the street – her eyes are white and she’s been blinded. But the woman wasn’t always blind and she had been missing a few days. Sarah asks her what happened but she has no idea. Sarah and the Doctor escort her home and discover that four other merchants wives had recently been blinded, under similar circumstances. Sarah smells a story, but she also is convinced that whatever is going on it’s not normal for Imperial Rome.

Sarah and the Doctor split up to interview the other victims, and even the wives of other merchants who are in the same social circle and might know something. But Sarah meets a woman who is the person behind it all and the Doctor gets a warning about the woman but is too late to rescue Sarah. Sarah is taken by Marcia to the temple home of a female-only cult that worships a goddess. There she meets a priestess who is using an alien machine to harvest information from other women. Unfortunately, the machine has the side effect of leaving people blind and Marcia is actually harvesting information to help her husband, also a merchant, in his business dealings.

The Doctor goes to the temple but the guards won’t let him in because he’s a man. He sneaks in but the priestesses get very upset that a man has invaded his temple. They threaten to kill the Doctor by a poisonous snakebite and use the alien machine on Sarah. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to fix the machine and then has Sarah try it. The machine doesn’t blind her and after the priestess experiences Sarah’s memories of the Doctor, the priestess agrees she can’t kill the Doctor because he is a good man. She also sees that Marcia was taking advantage of her. The Doctor and Sarah leave, as they depart in the TARDIS, Sarah wonders if they might have changed history, but the Doctor reminds her that no one really knows anything about that particular female-led Roman religion.

Rose and the Snow Window
by Jenny T. Colgan

The second short story in The Day She Saved the Doctor is Jenny T. Colgan’s “Rose and the Snow Window”. The story starts with the Ninth Doctor and Rose arriving in Toronto in 2005, the Doctor is looking for a time puncture. He sets up a telescope in an apartment in a high rise apartment building. Rose looks through the telescope and sees a candle-lit room opposite. The Doctor and Rose investigate and soon find a connection between Toronto and Russia in 1812.

They travel back to Russia in 1812 where Rose meets the Russian count she had seen in the window in 2005 Toronto. The young man is bereft because he is being forced into a marriage of convenience to save his family. He soon falls for Rose because she is unlike anyone he has ever met. She also falls for the handsome Count. Do to an attack of some sort of robot or alien that recognizes Rose as an “anomaly” Count Nikolai pulls on the red ribbon she wears and the two snap back to 2005 Toronto. Rose introduces the Count to modern conveniences like hot showers, electric lights, and fluffy towels warmed on a radiator. The Count is delighted by each new discovery he makes, and Rose enjoys this immensely.

They return to Russia again with the Doctor, and gradually the Doctor and Rose figure out that the woman Nikolai is supposed to marry is actually an alien who feeds on psychic energy. She essentially bribes Nikolai – offering him money, security for his family, and no children so the timeline will be preserved. Nikolai decides to reluctantly go through with it. Rose interrupts the wedding. The anomalies get worse with a troop of confused Mounties appearing in 19th century Russia. (Mind you, this isn’t wholly accurate. The Mounties have ceremonial duties, which is the only time they wear red serge. Otherwise, in the Western provinces and territories, the Mounties have duties similar to the FBI or State Police in the US.) The Doctor ends up binding with the alien so it can go home. Later, Rose and the Doctor check on Nikolai’s history – knowing that without a rich purse, the only thing for him to do was join the Russian military in 1812.

“Rose and the Snow Window” had a great sense of atmosphere, and the story centers more on Rose than the Doctor but the Doctor is still a strong presence and it’s a good partnership story about the two of them. I quite enjoyed it. It’s also the longest story in the book.

Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta
by Susan Culman

Clara is basically having a bad day at the start of her story in this collection. It’s not terrible, but she’s bored, frustrated, and really needs a vacation. She convinces the Doctor to take her on a “relaxing spa vacation”. I did have some trouble figuring out if Clara was with the Eleventh Doctor or the Twelfth Doctor in this story, but by the end, I’m pretty sure it was the Eleventh Doctor (as played by Matt Smith on the BBC television series). The two arrive on Cui Palta, one of the great resort planets. They explore, as the Doctor raves about all the relaxing things they can do, but gradually Clara becomes uneasy. Clara’s unease and discomfort grow, and she points out the problem – there are no people. The Doctor pooh-poohs this observation. There are also yellow flowers everywhere and the Doctor encourages Clara “to stop and smell the flowers.”

The two continue walking, then see an entrance to a garden maze. Clara again has misgivings, but the Doctor says it will be fun to solve the maze. They enter but get hopelessly lost, going around and around in circles. Clara confronts the Doctor with this but again he pooh-poohs and ignores her. This continues and the traps in the maze get more and more dangerous. When they find dead skeletons, the Doctor acknowledges that something is wrong. They continue trying to solve the maze – which now includes moving walls and mirrored corridors. Finally, they reach a courtyard with three doors – only to find that when they open and walk through a door – they return to the courtyard.

It’s in this three-choices section that Clara and the Doctor are separated but they can still communicate by yelling to each other. Clara trips and being close to the ground and sneezing (as she’s been doing throughout the story) she used a hankie the Doctor gave her to cover her nose and mouth. Then she sees things clearly – it’s all an illusion and the Doctor is literally running in circles. She calls out to the Doctor to get low and cover his nose and mouth. He does and the illusion breaks. The two leave the maze and city for the TARDIS and leave the planet. But it begs the question as to how the psychoactive flowers got there in the first place and did they really poison all the people on the planet.

Like the Sarah Jane story, Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta plays up Clara’s personal fears – this time her fear of getting lost. But this is also probably the strongest story in terms of the theme of the Companion saving the Doctor – because in this story it seems like the Doctor never would have figured it out. But he also discounts Clara’s concerns frequently – and she comes off a bit spoiled and a bit of a know-it-all. So although it handles the theme in a direct way, I liked other stories in the collection better.

Bill and the Three Jackets
by Dorothy Koomson

Bill and the Doctor are in the TARDIS, and Bill is trying to convince the Doctor to let her go shopping. The Twelfth Doctor (as played by Peter Capaldi on the British series Doctor Who) tries to convince Bill she can certainly find something to wear for her date in the TARDIS’s wardrobe rooms, he even tells her he probably has an entire room of jackets, but Bill is unconvinced and succeeds in getting him to let her go shopping.

Bill goes into town and finds a shop she never really noticed before. Inside are racks and racks of jackets. The shop clerk, who has a name tag that reads, Ziggy, seems friendly enough and before long Bill’s picked out three jackets to try on. She slips on the first one, an amethyst jacket, and is about to take a selfie when the Ziggy objects, the jackets are exclusive designs and the shop doesn’t allow selfies. Bill thinks this is weird but she puts her phone away. The Ziggy then offers to take pictures with her Polaroid camera. The picture seems to be taking an extraordinary amount of time to develop so the clerk puts it on the counter. Bill tries on a green jacket and a gold leather one with buckles. But she also starts to feel ill and weak. Ziggy had taken pictures of her in each jacket. Ziggy urges Bill to get something to eat and then come back and make her decision.

Bill leaves and walks to a nearby coffee shop. But her coffee and sandwich don’t taste good to her and her stomach ache gets worse. Later the owner of the coffee shop comes out and asks Bill where the girl went, the one who ordered a coffee, chips, and sandwich and didn’t pay. Bill’s confused – that’s her order, but she definitely paid. Yet the coffee shop owner insists she’s someone else and the other girl didn’t pay.

Bill goes to the TARDIS and the Doctor doesn’t recognize her either. Moreover, there’s another Bill in the TARDIS. Bill now knows something is very wrong. She tries to figure out how she can get some help and realizes that there’s a girl she knew at university, someone to whom she always gave extra chips. Bill approaches the girl who’s reading a science fiction novel in the cafeteria. Bill explains her story and then tells her about the extra chips. The girl, being an SF fan, actually believes Bill. The two set off for the shop. They get the photographs and then confront the Doctor and the fake Bill again.

Bill tears up the photos and she starts to appear to be herself, while the fake Bill is obviously an alien shapeshifter. The camera was loaded with psychic paper, and the shapeshifter used it to stabilize her form. But when the Doctor and Bill ask why she did it, they find out she was fleeing a repressive regime on her home planet. Now she just wants to go home. The Doctor explains he must take the shapeshifter to a different time as well as place – if he took her to the planet now it would just be empty space. But he agrees. Bill’s compassion for the shapeshifter is instrumental in the Doctor’s decision to help. Bill also gains respect for the girl she’d flirted with but never really spoken to before.

There are no bad guys in this story. The alien is simply homesick and using its natural abilities and a little psychic paper to get what it wants. Bill’s own insecurities made her a mark in the first place, not that that’s completely fair (everyone is insecure sometimes). Bill learns a lot about herself about a friend and about the alien and the Doctor. And the Doctor is passive in this story – he’s as vulnerable to the alien’s illusion as anyone else who doesn’t know Bill. It’s a good story, with an important point about being comfortable in your own skin rather than trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect.

This was a fun collection and I enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

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Doctor Who Episode Review – Deep Breath

  • Series Title:  Doctor Who
  • Story Title: Deep Breath
  • Story Number: Series 8, Episode 1
  • Original Air Date: August 23, 2014
  • Cast: Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, with Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra, Catrin Stewart as Jenny Flint, and Dan Starkey as Strax

“I am alone. The world, which shook under my feet, and the trees and the sky, have gone. And I am alone now… The world bites now, and the world is grey, and I am alone.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

“But he is the Doctor. He has walked the universe for centuries untold, he has seen the stars fall to dust.” – Madame Vastra

“I wasn’t. I didn’t need to. That was me talking. You can’t see me, Can you? You look at me and you can’t see me. Do you have any idea what that’s like? I’m not on the phone, I’m right in front of you. Please, just… just see me.” – The Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

I remember, just barely, watching “Deep Breath” in the movie theater for the premiere. And, of course, watching it and the rest of the season on BBC America and later still on DVD. See my review of Doctor Who Series 8. But I’ve decided to re-watch Peter Calpaldi’s Doctor Who from the beginning. If you have been reading my Patrick Troughton Era reviews, this means I very well may skip “The War Games” but I did review the rest of his stories that are available on DVD. Anyway, I have seen series 9 and 10 on BBC America, but not watched them on DVD so those reviews will be forthcoming eventually. What is amazing about “Deep Breath” is that although it in much more subtle than the Matt Smith era, it does set up themes that will be returned to over and over throughout the Peter Capaldi Era.

The opening of “Deep Breath” is in essence merely a McGuffin. As cool and as incongruous as a dinosaur in Victorian London in the Thames is, and as silly as said dinosaur vomiting up the TARDIS which caused it to be transported, that is merely a McGuffin – the dinosaur bursts into flames immediately upon the Doctor promising to save it. This leads the Doctor and the Paternoster Gang to investigate a series of similar murders, which leads to the Doctor discovering a restaurant of clockwork people, which is really an ancient spaceship.

This spaceship is the S.S. Marie Antoinette, sister-ship to the Madame de Pompadour, which the audience knows from the David Tennant episode, “The Girl in the Fireplace”. So the audience knows about it’s clockwork occupants who replace parts with human (and in this case, dinosaur) parts. The Doctor, however, keeps insisting that he can’t quite remember why it is so familiar.

My the themes of identity and obsessions with endings and even death link this story with the entire Peter Capaldi Era. From Clara not recognizing the Docor, not seeing him as the Doctor, and being freaked out that he regenerated, he’s “renewed”, but his “face has lines” and “he’s old”, to the “broom speech” where the Doctor is ostensibly talking about the droid leader, but he could easily be talking about himself. When he’s “translating” for the dinosaur who is so alone, the Doctor could be talking about himself as well. And in the last scene between the Doctor and Clara, he practically begs her to “see him”. Capaldi’s years as the Doctor would feature many more references to both the Doctor’s great age, and his almost being ready to give up because he’s fought for so long. This is what is very good about this episode – it introduces a theme, which will be returned too again and again, not so much in Series 8, but usually at least once a season during the Capaldi years. And even his final Christmas special is as much about whether or not he will regenerate as anything else.

However, independent of the season and the era, even though it looks very good, the plot of “Deep Breath” isn’t that impressive. The opening gambit with the dinosaur is used more as an elaborate joke and then as a McGuffin to introduce the real plot as anything else. I actually felt bad about the dinosaur exploding, but it’s a sign of bad writing as well. How do you get rid of the extraneous character who’s only purpose was to get your characters together so they can solve the mystery? Why making that character yet another victim in the series of crimes. Goodbye, dinosaur.

But worse, the central plot is lifted straight from “The Girl in the Fireplace”. Even the Doctor remarks that droids using human parts, a hidden spaceship that crashed eons ago and is looking to return home “the long way around”, and the name of the ship, S.S. Marie Antoinette, sister-ship to the Madame de Pompadour, sounds familiar. And for anyone watching, unless they never saw “The Girl in the Fireplace” – it does sound familiar – it’s the same plot. Steven Moffat is literally stealing from himself. And this isn’t the first time he does it – Amy Pond’s entire characterization and her arc plot are identical to Reinette in “The Girl in the Fireplace”, from first seeing her as a child, to Reinette/Amy’s steady belief that the Doctor will always be there for her (something Clara also does in “Deep Breath”). Moffat doesn’t so much write original stories, as re-write his most popular ones over and over again, changing only the character and maybe the setting. This something often found in genre writing such as mysteries or romantic suspense. It works for awhile, but sooner or later as a reader, one realizes it’s the same story over and over and over again.

Still, having re-watched Patrick Troughton’s Era on DVD, I’m excited about re-watching the Peter Capaldi era again.

 

Book Review – Doctor Who: Silhouette

  • Title: Silhouette
  • Series: BBC Books New Series Doctor Who Adventures (new series)
  • Author: Justin Richards
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Clara, Vastra, Jenny, Strax
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/15/2016

Doctor Who Silhouette is all about atmosphere. Set in Victorian London in the Winter, with plenty of snow, frost, and cold – it’s a novel to read during the Holiday season. The opening scene is in the TARDIS, with Clara asking to meet yet another probably fictional legendary character, but the Doctor refuses. The TARDIS picks up an unusual power spike from Victorian London, and the Doctor takes Clara there instead – and thus our adventure begins. The Frost Fair and it’s accompanying Carnival of Curiosities is in town, stretching out over the frozen Thames, near the embankment. Mme Vastra is called in to investigate a locked-room mystery, where the victim’s previous location before dying in his locked office was the Carnival. One of Strax’s drinking buddies has also mysteriously died. Clara and the Doctor attend the Fair and the Carnival, with the the Doctor looking to avoid involving Vastra, Jenny and Strax. However, that doesn’t last. The Doctor sees a Shadowplay show at the Carnival that’s a bit too good. Clara meets her soulmate at the tea shop in the Fair, as does Jenny the next day, and Vastra a few days later.

The Doctor and Clara meet Vastra, Jenny, and Strax and decide to work together on the different aspects of the mystery.

There are three fascinating characters associated with the Fair and Carnival: Silhouette, Affinity, and Empath. They are working for a mysterious arms dealer named Milton – and not entirely of their own free will. The three had been part of the Carnival – and talented. Milton turned each into a human weapon. Silhouette has the ability to control ink and the paper it was written on completely. She can even turn origami birds into weapons. Affinity has the ability to take on the aspect of someone else, like a mirror, thus it’s Affinity who is the teacher Clara meets at the Fair and it’s Affinity again who is the servant Jenny meets at the Fair as well. The price for Affinity’s ability to be just like someone else, but not in a creepy copy way, is when he isn’t imitating someone he has no face. Empath can amplify and then absorb emotions. Milton is using him to absorb anger and release in into a large hollow glass ball. Milton plans to release the cloud of negativity into London so the city will tear itself apart.
The atmosphere – frosty, Winter London, is wonderful in this novel. The side characters, especially Silhouette and Affinity, are wonderfully depicted. Mme Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are all in character, as are the Doctor and Clara of course. Milton’s dastardly plot is dastardly. Well, that’s a bit unfair, once it becomes clear – it’s frighteningly real.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.

Book Review – Twelfth Doctor Vol. 4 – The School of Death

  • Title: The School of Death
  • Author: Robbie Morrison
  • Artists: Rachael Stott, Simon Fraser, Ivan Nunes, Marcio Menys, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald
  • Collection Date: 2016
  • Collected Issues: Year 2, Issues # 1-5
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 9/18/2016

**spoiler alert** The School of Death starts off the second year of Titan Comics Twelfth Doctor Doctor Who graphic novel series. It features the Twelfth Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi and his companion, Clara. This graphic novel features two stories.

In the first story, Clara receives an urgent message from a friend of hers, a young teacher who had gotten her “dream job” teaching at an exclusive private school in Scotland called Ravenscaur. Clara goes to investigate and is soon joined by the Doctor. The school has a spooky air, stuck-up students, and a horrible headmistress – but that’s normal. What’s less normal is that the school, which is on an Island, has housed a colony of Sea Devils for generations. The Sea Devil eggs bond with the students while they are at the school, then go on to influence policy as business and political leaders. Their influence, however, will help their own plans to conquer the Earth. Clara, the Doctor, two students who have not been taken over and are fairly normal, and eventually UNIT must stop the Sea Devils. It’s an excellent story with marvelous art.

The second story begins by breaking the fourth wall as the Doctor addresses the reader of the comic book. The story brings back the Boneless who are attacking readers of comics and trapping them inside comic books. It’s a fun story, and has a great conclusion for how the Doctor frees the captives and defeats (for now) the Boneless.

The School of Death is highly recommended. I enjoyed it a lot. I also really liked that the stories were concluded in this issue.

Book Review – Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor Vol. 3 – Hyperion

  • Title: Hyperion
  • Authors: Robbie Morrison, George Mann
  • Artists: Daniel Indro, Mariano Laclaustra, Ronilson Freire, Slamet Mujiono, Luis Guerrero, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald
  • Collection Date: 2016
  • Collected Issues: Issues # 11-15
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/02/2016

Titan Comics Doctor Who graphic novels are excellent and enjoyable and this one is no exception. Hyperion features the Twelfth Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi, and his companion, Clara. It’s the third volume in the Twelfth Doctor series, and this particular one features two stories.

In the first story, the TARDIS lands right in the path of a young woman and her companion – in 1845. The woman’s name is Charlotte and her friend is Emily, and Charlotte’s horse is startled by the TARDIS’s sudden appearance, causing her to fall and twist her ankle. The Doctor and Clara take the two women to a nearby manor house. There they discover the servants are succumbing to a “sleeping sickness” and also that the normally agoraphobic head of household who’s suddenly decided to have a large party. Of course, an alien is responsible for the sleeping sickness and the Doctor and Clara must stop it and see to it the members of the household are all right. And guess who Charlotte is?

The second story brings back the Hyperios from a previous graphic collection – this time they attack Earth. The story also features Kate Stewart, UNIT, and a one-story companion name Fireman Sam. I really liked Sam, so it’s sad that he’s a one-off companion. The story was excellent though.

The artwork in this volume is extremely good – especially in the second story, where the Hyperios Empire characters leap off the page.

Highly recommended.

Book Review – Twelfth Doctor Vol. 2 – Fractures

  • Title: Fractures
  • Author: Robbie Morrison
  • Artists: Brian Williamson, Mariano Laclaustra, Hi-Fi, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald
  • Collection Date: 2015
  • Collected Issues: Issues # 6-10
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/16/2015

Doctor Who – Fractures is the second volume in Titan Comics 12th Doctor series. It is my favorite so far next to The Four Doctors. This volume consists of three stories. In the first story, the father of a young girl is killed in a car crash. But he appears mysteriously in her garden, much to the young girl’s delight. Then mysterious creatures called “Fractures” turn up, take over the bodies of several people, and chase the man, named Paul. Paul is from an alternate universe, a universe in which he survived but his wife and child were killed by a drunk driver. (In “Earth Prime”, or “our universe” to borrow a term from another rather famous comic book company – Paul was killed in the drunk driving accident but the wife and daughter survived). The Doctor and Clara arrive and get involved as they do. The Fractures are similar to the Reapers from the New Series aired episode, “Father’s Day” – but rather than guarding and feeding on breaks in time – they feed on breaks between universes. It looks like Paul will have to sacrifice himself to set things right – but, unusually for a 12th Doctor story, this does not have a grim ending.

The second story starts with a flashback to the end of the Hyperion War, when Rassilon challenged Count D’If of the Cybock Imperium to a game called Rassilon’s Roulette, played with a Time Gun. Count D’If looks like a giant red space octopus. Rassilon wins of course, but rather than D’If’s timeline being completely erased, one of his servant lords ends up in 1960s Vegas. The Doctor and Clara arrive and the Doctor’s mastery of math and probability wins him a fortune in cash – he’s taken to the head of the casino who happens to be a mobster. The Doctor’s about to “sleep with the fishes” when one of the Cybock Imperium attacks. Yes, a Vegas hotel-casino, in the 1960s, is attacked by a giant red space octopus. Not only that, but “Frank Seneca”, “Dino Martinelli”, and “Solly Dancer” end up helping the Doctor and Clara track the Cybock to the Cosmos Casino, which looks like a 1960s-style SF rocket ship. There, the “Wolf Pack”, Clara, the Doctor, and a former boxer turned FBI informant challenge the octopus from outer space. The entire story is so much fun! It has a real 1960s vibe. The drawings, and “costumes”, for lack of a better word, are just perfect. The tone is light and fun and extremely enjoyable. And it was a welcome relief from some of the grimmer nature of other stories, both in Titan Comics and in the British Television show itself. Plus you’ve basically got Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Junior, running around Las Vegas, in a casino themed like a 1960s cheap SF film (yes, the serving girls wear bubble helmets and green lamé mini skirts), while helping out the Doctor and Clara. It’s an awesome story with a great tone, and no doubt something I will re-read often in the future.

The final story, which is very short, only a few pages, has Clara wondering what type of companion she will be – playing off the Doctor (Capaldi) wondering what kind of Doctor he will be after he regenerates. The Doctor and Clara land on a planet of pure crystal with a copper core. However, a mining colony is on the planet, mining the electricity – which is naturally generated by the quartz. The Doctor and Clara visit the mining colony and find that a miner’s been electrocuted. He isn’t the first, but is the fourth victim. Quickly, perhaps too quickly – as it’s a very short story, the Doctor and Clara figure out the “problem” and Clara is able to make some decisions about being a companion. It’s a good story, and I liked seeing Clara’s thought process – but at the same time, it was really easy to guess what was going on and why the miners were being electrocuted (or rather how).

Titan Comics is doing an excellent job of producing these novels and also making each Doctor’s series really feel like that particular Doctor’s Era. I highly recommend Doctor Who – Fractures, the second volume in Titan Comics Twelfth Doctor series of Doctor Who graphic novels.

Book Review – Twelfth Doctor Vol. 1 – Terrorformer

  • Title: Terrorformer
  • Author: Robbie Morrison
  • Artists: Dave Taylor, Mariano Laclaustra, Hi-Fi, Luis Guerrero, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald
  • Collection Date: 2015
  • Collected Issues: Issues # 1-5
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 9/14/2015

The title of this graphic novel is Terrorformer and it includes the first five issues of Titan Comics 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) series. This is my favorite I’ve read so far of the Titan Comics Doctor Who series. But the graphic novel title should be included in the book title GoodReads!

The graphic novel contains two very different stories featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara. In the first story, the Doctor promises to take Clara someplace she can practice her downhill snow skiing – only to land in a jungle. The ice giant planet is being terraformed into a luxury planet for the super-rich (It seems someone has read Douglas Adams.) However, something is going wrong – setting the very planet on the terraforming crew.

The story then introduces a fascinating species, something you simply couldn’t do on television, the Hyperions of Hyperios, a race of sentient suns. Once, they had helped other civilizations – bringing them into the light figuratively and literally. But when their own civilization was threatened they became the scourge of the galaxy, destroying the very civilizations they had once helped by draining their suns to prolong their own lives – leaving the civilizations in the cold and dark to die. The Time Lords stepped in and fought the Hyperions. Yet the terraforming machine sent to the planet had found one of the suns – awakening it and causing it to attack on a physical and genetic level. – Fascinating!

The second story weaves a plot that skips from India of the past to India of the future and it’s City in Space. It weaves a tale of an alien posing as Kali – and dark magic. This story wasn’t as good as the first, but it stayed out of complete cliche’ territory and presented some interesting ideas and one-off characters.

Besides two good stories, and some truly fantastic art, this graphic novel also gets the characters – both regular and guest – pretty much perfect. The second story actually had stronger characterization than the first. The Doctor is a bit gruff around the edges – but it’s in keeping with the writing and characterization in “Deep Breath” which was probably all the author and comics company had to go on.

Highly recommended!