Weeping Angels and Autons have descended on 1960s London. It’ll take not one, but two incarnations of the Doctor to put a stop to them in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 #4!
Following its brilliant first run last year, Titan Comics‘ Thirteenth Doctor series returned in January for a highly-anticipated second season. Much like the most recent television series of Doctor Who, the creative team behind the current TARDIS team’s comic adventures have taken an even more ambitious approach going into this second run. Throughout the previous season, writer Jody Houser, plus regular artists Roberta Ingranata and Enrica Eren Angiolini (as well as the rest of the crew) drew broad inspiration from the television series, including appearances from Time Agents Perkins and Schulz, as well as swashbuckling rogue Time Lord the Corsair, who was first conceived of by Neil Gaiman as part of his 2011 TV story ‘The Doctor’s Wife‘.
Now, again similarly to Series 12, Houser and co have rooted the Thirteenth Doctor’s latest comic story arc far more firmly within the established world of the television series. As was teased in months leading up to its publication, Season 2’s opening storyline has set out to re-imagine Steven Moffat’s Blink, an episode which has become something of a modern classic. It promised an epic team-up, as the Thirteenth Doctor and friends were set to join forces with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and companion Martha Jones (as portrayed on-screen by Freema Agyeman). What’s more, this arc came with the prospect of not one but two returning enemies, as these two Doctors prepared to face off against the Weeping Angels and Autons!
It’s certainly a bold task to try and put a fresh spin on a such a well-loved television story. Thankfully, the series’ creative team have risen to the challenge. Far from being a mere re-hash of Blink, or conversely an unwelcome re-write, this arc has allowed us to take a closer look at a part of the story we didn’t get to see the first time around.
On their way to 1969’s Woodstock festival, the TARDIS has taken the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham on an unexpected detour to London in the same year, which just happens to be the same time and place the Tenth Doctor and Martha find themselves stranded. Now, we get to see how they spent their time between being sent back in time by the Weeping Angels and their rescue by Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale.
The Story So Far
Whilst the first three instalments of this four-part story were released between January and March of this year, current events have meant that the publication of this concluding chapter has unfortunately been pushed back by several months. As such, it’s well worth re-reading issues #1 to #3 of Season 2 if your memory needs jogging. (Alternatively, you can catch up on BlogtorWho‘s reviews of the first three issues here, here, and here!)
Over the past three issues, the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions have been keeping a close eye on the Tenth Doctor and Martha as they try to investigate just why the TARDIS has risked causing a paradox by bringing them to 1960s London. Yaz, Graham, and Ryan have been tailing the Tenth Doctor as he tests out his newly-constructed timey-wimey detector. Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Doctor has been keeping tabs on Martha, who has begrudgingly taken on a job in a clothes shop.
As we head into this final instalment, both sets of Doctors and companions have finally been united. Last issue brought with it the long-awaited first meeting between the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors, and it was certainly well worth the wait! Houser has shown once again how expertly she can translate well-loved characters from the screen to the page, as Issue #3 saw these two Doctors effortlessly riff off each other in exactly the way Tennant and Whittaker absolutely would if this were a TV episode. However, there’s little time for catching up, as the TARDIS is surround by Weeping Angels!
The Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors Make the Perfect Pair
After cleverly fending off the Weeping Angels trying to break into the Thirteenth Doctor’s TARDIS, the team hastily make their escape. With no time to waste, the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors get to work formulating a plan to defeat both groups of creatures attacking 1960s London.
As in the previous issue (and indeed any multi-Doctor story) it’s very enjoyable to watch these two Doctors working together and bouncing off one another. This issue really cements how well these two particular incarnations of the Time Lord work together, with their banter during their final confrontation with their enemies at this concluding instalment’s climax feeling especially effortless. It only serves to drive home the fact that Tennant and Whittaker’s Doctors are a pairing we need to see together on screen.
However, whilst it’s undoubtedly a real treat to see the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors working so well alongside each other, they ultimately end up dominating this final chapter of the story a little too much at times. Yaz, Graham, Ryan, and Martha are swept along by the Doctors’ scheme, with Graham even asking at one point, “Should we know the plan here, or..?” It would’ve been nice to have seen at least one conversation between the companions, perhaps in a similar vein to Martha’s first meeting with Donna in ‘The Sontaran Stratagem’.
Nevertheless, Houser and co manage to pull off an overall very satisfying conclusion to this arc in the space of only twenty pages or so. This story has certainly been one of the most well-paced and plotted of the series so far, as the problems which have been escalating throughout the previous three issues are very neatly and cleverly resolved in rather unexpected ways.
There’s even a reappearance by a device which came in handy in the series’ previous storyline. It’s details like these which are very rewarding as a reader who’s followed the Thirteenth Doctor series from its first issue, as they help to create the sense of a self-contained comic universe for this Doctor without completely alienating newer readers.
As this issue was so severely delayed by current events, it’s unclear as to when the next instalment in the Thirteenth Doctor series might be released. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later, as this issue comes with one hell of a cliffhanger!