The Thirteenth Doctor and friends’ journey through ‘hidden human history’ comes to an end in Titan Comics‘ Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #8 – but not before one final surprise!
Having now taken us on a road-trip (or should that be ‘vortex-trip’?) across some lesser-known moments in Earth’s history, this issue sees the second chapter of the Thirteenth Doctor’s comic-book adventures draw to a close.
Over the past four issues, the Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan have found themselves in early sixteenth-century northern Europe and, most recently, eighteenth-century North Carolina. Each of these times and places appear entirely unconnected, save for two things. Firstly, they’ve all been discussed on popular podcast ‘Hidden Human History’, hosted by the enigmatic Bethany Brunwine. Secondly, they’ve all been plagued by the bloodthirsty Stilean Flesh Eaters.
The previous issue witnessed the somewhat welcome return of some old friends, namely Doctors Perkins and Schulz, who the ‘fam’ first met during the series’ previous arc. Now working for the Time Agency, the pair were little help as the TARDIS team looked to find out more about the Stilean Flesh Eaters. However, their investigation did reveal some intriguing information about these mysterious creatures. It appears that hundreds of years of feeding on human blood has had some adverse side-effects.
You Are What You Eat!
As Issue #8 opens, the Doctor, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz find themselves at another point in ‘hidden human history’. This time, they’ve landed in Canada, in 1866, in the midst of the Battle of Ridgeway. After attending several funerals, it’s clear that over the last century and a half, the Stilean Flesh Eaters have become even more human-like.
This concluding issue has a lot of questions to answer, and loose ends to tie up. Just what is happening to the Stilean Flesh Eaters? And how are Bethany Brunwine and her enormously popular podcast connected to these creatures? Fortunately, all is revealed (and more) as the ‘fam’ pay a visit to the mysterious podcaster herself in the present day.
The mid-point of Issue #8 comes with a strange and surprising revelation. It’s one the Doctor’s companions (not least this reader) didn’t see coming at all! Nevertheless, it’s a shocking but satisfying answer to all the questions that have been building over the course of this arc. Plus, as has become the way with the Thirteenth Doctor’s adventures, things aren’t as sinister as they might appear…
A Satisfying Conclusion to an Unpredictable Adventure
Despite being Earth-bound, ‘Hidden Human History‘ has proven to be an even more unpredictable story arc than its predecessor. However, that’s not to say it wasn’t expertly thought-out. Writer Jody Houser has once again demonstrated her ability to deliver an engaging story, whilst staying true to these already-established characters. My only gripe with this story has been the lack of attention paid to the historical events visited throughout it. It would’ve been interesting to learn a little more about each of these conflicts, but they came to be of little relevance to the overall plot.
Additionally, although Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor‘s first arc fantastically showcased artist Rachael Stott‘s ability to capture the Doctor and friends’ likenesses, Roberta Ingranata taking over the reigns for the past few issues has been by no means unwelcome. Her talents, combined with that of colourist Enrica Eren Angiolini and colour assistant Viviana Spinelli have made for equally as stunning panels throughout this story.
Now this chapter of the Thirteenth Doctor and friends’ comic-book adventures has drawn to a close, the ‘fam’ are set to move on to bigger and better adventures. Who knows what the universe has in store for them this time?