Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.7
Welcome to the Vortex Butterflies story line, featuring the Tenth Doctor and his comic-exclusive companions Gabby Gonzalez and Cindy Wu. #3.7 is the second issue in the Vortex Butterflies arc, so I recommend picking up 3.6 before diving in. However, the arc so far is a wonderful entry point into the Doctor Who comics. Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.7 starts with the Doctor at a space junkyard, picking up a machine that will help him record temporal waves and register “vortex leaks”. He left his companions at a safe house in London, and their travel buddy Noob on the Xenopsychology planet of the Zokadyll. All three stories unfold simultaneously, and their narratives are well-balanced and easy to follow. There are answers to some questions (what do Gabby’s new powers actually DO? What is Noob up to on that giant library planet?) while others are left open-ended, meaning I’m now anxiously awaiting 3.8!
Writer Nick Abadzis captures David Tennant’s interpretation of the Doctor (as well as a couple other show-based cameos) and blends him right in with original characters like Gabby and Cindy. He introduces them with a equal measures of exposition and character action, making them well-rounded and compelling even after the Doctor leaves them behind for some intergalactic alone time. And isn’t that the mark of a truly great companion?
The book has appeal for both die-hard Whovians, and those new to the series. Most importantly, it adapts the show into the comics format seamlessly. There is plenty of timey-wimey talk, but the elements that matter get a closer examination, making the rest the familiar background noise of our favorite show-off timelord.
Artists Giorgia Sposita and Iolanda Zanfardino don’t miss a beat, bringing both 20th century London and deep space to life. Colorists Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi‘s do some heavy lifting, as well, with remarkable renderings of the time vortex, deep space, and multiple planetary backdrops, and Gabby’s new powers are delightfully other-worldly. The characters are stylized just enough to keep those based on actors from dipping into the uncanny valley–something other Who books sometimes suffer from. Letterers Richard Starkings and Jimmy Bentacourt enhance the book, as each species has their own distinct speech pattern, reflected in a completely unique rendering.
Rachael Smith’s bonus comic at the end of the book took me by surprise. It’s a breath of goofy fresh air at the end of a high stakes adventure-in-progress. I don’t think I stopped smiling from the first panel to the last. Bringing Rose back to Ten’s side in such a realistically teenage way while kicking the comedy up to eleven (no pun intended). I hope this is a tradition we will see continued in future issues.
Story: Nick Abadzis Art: Giorgia Sposito
Colorist: Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy (but pick up 3.6, too.)
Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review