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Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.12 Review

5 min read

Doctor Who Tenth Doctor Issue 2.12 CoverSometimes there are no good choices.

Creative Staff:
Story: Nick Abadzis
Art: Giorgia Sposito (although Eleonora Carlini is listed in the solicitation)
Colors: Arianna Florean with Mattia De Lulis & Adele Matera
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt

What They Say:
ANUBIS is back, and the Doctor, Gabby and Cindy are nowhere near ready for what this ancient being is about to throw at them! With the universe fraying at the seams, Anubis propels the TARDIS team on a trip into the deep, deep past… when the laws of reality were still new!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
My friend Adrian likes to say that it’s the Companions that make Doctor Who and not the Doctor himself. The Doctor is too alien, too amazing, too beyond us to get a handle on, and it’s only through the Companions that we can truly experience the joy, majesty, terror, and tragedy that is his life. The best, like Rose, turn out to be just as amazing and capable as the Doctor once they get the opportunity to prove themselves. The rest just moon over the Doctor and tell him how great he is. That’s been one of the major complaints about the Moffat era of the TV show: it’s always been more about the Doctor than his Companions.

Adrian’s point came back to me while I was reading this issue. I’ve been saying for a while now that Gabby Gonzalez is my favorite comic book Companion, and this issue cements it. This is Gabby’s story, and it’s great.

At the end of the previous issue, a Nocturne—a conceptual creature composed of sound—came into our world by possessing Jazz musicians. Once discovered, it trapped the Doctor, Gabby, Cindy, and some patrons in a Jazz club. The Doctor tried to disrupt the creature’s form through the use of atonal music, but his plan backfired and many were hurt and killed.

It’s in the aftermath of the attack that the story truly becomes Gabby’s. While she cares for the unconscious Cindy, the Doctor tries to slip away. Gabby sees him and convinces him to let her come along. She apologies to him for not being truthful about her burgeoning powers and for not being strong enough to save the people the Nocturne injured. The Doctor gives in and while they travel in the TARDIS, he says: “It’s not about being strong. Sometimes it’s about seeing all the possible options, about empowering others….We use our wits, we improvise…We do what we can with what we’ve got. But sometimes there are no good choices.” I can’t tell you how much I loved that speech. Abadzis captures Ten’s attitude and tone perfectly in it and I could practically hear David Tennant’s voice in my head while I was reading it.

Gabby shines equally bright, going into downright Sherlockian detail in explaining how she knows the Doctor already had a contingency plan in place. It’s just one more instance where she proves she’s just as capable and amazing as the Doctor (as all good Companions are). It turns out that the Doctor did a little backtracking in his own timeline to discover where the Nocturne was going after the incident at the Jazz club. The creature possessed two people: Paradisa, and the musician Roscoe. The two used to date, but recently Roscoe started a thing with Cindy. Now they serve as the Nocturne’s ride as it makes its way to Chicago and a recording studio.
The creature plans on recording its music form and spreading it across the planet, much like a virus. But it needs the best equipment to do so, which is why it went to Chicago. The Doctor and Gabby manage to stop it, but at a dear price.

Throughout the story we’re treated to Gabby’s journal and her thoughts on the Doctor. Her insights provide great “view from the gallery” moments and in a way remind me of the episode “Flatline” where the Doctor is trapped inside a shrunk TARDIS and Clara has to fend for herself, acting as she thought the Doctor would. Both that episode and this issue provide keen insights into the Doctor and how the Companions view them. Rule #1 is always “The Doctor Lies,” or, rather, “The Doctor never tells the whole story,” but Clara and Gabby take that in two different directions. Clara saw it as a strategy for defeating foes and getting people on her side, but Gabby saw it as a defense mechanism on the Doctor’s part, because “Sometimes there are no good choices….We all have to live with the consequences of our choices…even time travelers. And Time Lords. Especially Time Lords.” The best part of all this is that both Clara and Gabby are correct in their conclusions, and each highlights the Companion’s relationship with her respective Doctor.

Obviously, the writing of this issue is quite good. The art, on the other hand, is fine but inconsistent. It’s difficult to explain, but there are times when the characters look divorced from their setting, as if they were superimposed over a background image. The colors are also a bit off in terms of shading on people’s faces, and there were times when the characters looked a little off-model. However, there are moments when the art shines, especially the final page. The artist captures the emotion of the moment beautifully and really sells it.

In Summary:
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #2.12 closes one of the strongest two-parters I’ve read by Nick Abadzis. I’ve had problems with previous issues, but these last two are great. The story was compact with no wasted moments, and the emotional stakes for everyone involved felt real and immediately engaging. Doctor Who is best when it focuses on the Companion, and this issue proves that. Dr. Josh gives this a….

Grade: B

Age Rating: N/A
Released By: Titan Comics
Release Date: July 13th, 2016
MSRP: $3.99

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