Casual Comic Book Review – Doctor Who 2013 Special

IDW’s Doctor Who comic book has been on my mind since I started this blog last year. As a casual comics fan who has been “out of the loop” for a while, and with far less free time and spending money than I used to have, I’ve been searching for titles that make sense for the way I read comics now – dipping in and out while following storylines online and through blogs. I actually spend more time reading ABOUT comics than I do actually reading comics.

So, the reason I’ve had my eye on Doctor Who is that it should be a title casual fans can enjoy. I’m halfway through watching series 6 and have loved almost every moment of the TV show. If the comic stays reasonably close to Doctor Who canon, I shouldn’t need to know much else before picking up a story line.

As a low stakes way to try it out, I picked up the 2013 Special. A one-shot starring the Eleventh Doctor (no companion in tow), the description of the 2013 Special was intriguing:

“In this special one-shot story celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a strange force flings the TARDIS and the Doctor into our own universe! Once here, the Doctor encounters a 10-year-old girl who happens to be a huge fan of the Doctor Who TV show. The Doctor grapples with being a fictional character and monsters lurking at the girl’s school on the way to coming face-to-face with the actor who portrays him, Matt Smith!” 

Seems like just the kind of interdimensional madness that the best standalone episodes of the show (“The Girl in the Fireplace”, “The Lodger”) spotlight.

I’m pleased to report that the Doctor Who 2013 Special went down smooth and easy. I haven’t read a lot of adapted properties, but reading the one-shot is much like watching an online mini-episode – a fun, but quick, jaunt through the Who-niverse.

It’s going to sound like damning with faint praise, but the art strikes just the right note. It’s fairly bland. The characters are all recognizable, but there’s not much else to say about the visual presentation. It’s serviceable – which is all I really want from the art in a Doctor Who comic – something that moves the story along without trying to show off or be over-stylized.

Doctor Who 2013 Special. Art by: Jimmy Broxton

Overall, this issue is good, but not great. However, reading the Doctor Who 2013 Special has convinced me that it is possible to tell good Doctor Who stories in comics. In turn, I’ll be picking up some of the previous storylines – which go back all the way to the Tenth Doctor and Martha.

Yay! The Tenth Doctor is back!

A press release from July states that the BBC and IDW have ended their deal, so it sounds like this is the last Doctor Who comic IDW will be publishing. However, I’ll be seeking out the back issues, and looking forward to the Doctor’s future adventures in print – just as soon as I find out who will be publishing them.

In the meantime, you should also check out the mini-episodes of Doctor Who available on YouTube. Here’s a two-part episode (about 7 minutes total between the two) that’s one of my favorites:

Part One: Time

Part Two: Space


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