There’s some supernatural surprises in store for The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in this latest Titan Comics issue.
Fresh from unearthing the secrets of the Twist, he’s promised new companion Hattie a trip in the TARDIS. But when an emergency stop lands them on the doorstep of a spooky old house, what hidden mysteries await them?
Ever drawn to danger, The Doctor can’t resist having a look inside. Unsurprisingly, the duo finds themselves locked in with no obvious means of escape. With nothing to do but explore, it’s time for them to take in their surroundings. There are all your standard haunted house tropes, with one key difference: this place goes on forever. The Doctor and Hattie are stuck in a seemingly endless maze of rooms. Even worse, they can hear voices screaming for help and the clock is counting down by the hour. It’s almost as if the house itself is playing tricks on them. No prizes for guessing where this is going!
It’s not long before the subject of ghosts is brought up. At first, it feels a little soon after Series 9’s Under the Lake/Before the Flood, but things are different here. The Doctor is firm in his disbelief and, though there definitely are ghost-like monsters, their true nature unravels fairly quickly. Welcome, the Spyrillites, creatures that feed on the Artron energy of time travel to survive. But it’s not The Doctor and Hattie they’re after: there’s a bigger prize somewhere in the building. Things get even more complicated when they stumble upon Holly, whose family disappeared in the house during a game of hide and seek. Something’s very amiss here. The cliffhanger ending is hidden in plain sight, but that doesn’t stop it from being any less shocking. It rewards long-time and eagle-eyed fans while leaving massive ramifications for the two-parter’s conclusion next time around.
“There’s something in this house that they want. I need to know what it is…”
The well paced and truly gripping story seems to mix in the best of Doctor Who from 2015. Guitar jamming, ghosts, and a labyrinth not unlike the castle in Heaven Sent. It’s an adventure worthy of The Twelfth Doctor, and it has the potential to become even more memorable if we can hazard a guess at what comes next.
Elsewhere, the artwork in this issue is simply sublime. The characters all look fantastic with beautifully atmospheric colouring and backgrounds. Artist Rachael Stott perfectly captures the vast and varied look of the haunted house and bring the sheer scale of it to life. A couple of pages even display a floor plan for the building behind the normal comic panels. It’s clear that a lot of thought, care and effort has gone into making this issue as good as it is.
Some well-earned praise should also go to the main cover design for this issue. In true Twelfth Doctor style, it’s a Doctor Who spin on David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album art. It’s an image with as much iconic value as the comic’s story itself, and we’re sure Peter Capaldi would approve. Of course, there are other excellent variant covers to collect as well, but this one definitely deserves a special mention.
All in all, this Titan Comics two-parter is off to a rip-roaring start. This is an impressive set up with a tantalising tease of a twist at the end – next issue has a lot to live up to!
Twelfth Doctor #2.9 – Playing House: Part One
- Writer: George Mann
- Artist: Rachael Stott
- Colorist: Ivan Nunes
- Letterer: Comicraft
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: September 28