Doctor Who #1

Written by Tony Lee
Art by Andrew Currie
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

Writing a licensed comic for a current property isn’t easy, because you’ve got to simultaneously come up with ideas for the characters and also not create anything long-lasting because there’s something else that automatically trumps anything you think of. So on the one hand, I’m willing to allow a little leeway. On the other hand, there’s also room for less leeway because if you don’t like the comic, well, you’ve got the original to check out instead. You know how that goes.

With IDW’s Doctor Who comics starring the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) over, Tony Lee and Andrew Currie are now kicking off their first comic with the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy, and Rory. He’s carefully set his story in-between the last season and the one starting this fall (with references to the wedding at the conclusion of "The Big Bang"), giving himself a little wiggle room as to not tread on any new developments that might happen when the show returns in the spring. And at its heart, it’s not a bad idea; the TARDIS gets invaded with holographic spam, forcing them to land for several hours on a planet that’s slated for destruction before repairs will be complete.

In reading Doctor Who #1, though, it does make you wonder whom Lee is writing for. The show itself doesn’t typically go for words-with-slightly-different-spellings puns, but here we’ve got a planet of holograms called Phayke, and an alien race that are looking for their next meal ticket called Scroungers. In short, it’s the sort of names that would be great for 6-year olds, but I’m fairly certain that’s not who’s reading this comic. It’s a little odd. The story itself is also slightly stretched out; once you get the joke, it just keeps going and going even though you’re ready to move on. Lee’s got some good ideas and twists along the way, but they’re all slightly too far apart from one another. By the time the social-network friend requests appear, you’re bound to be getting a bit bored with the comic. It’s too bad, because with a strong edit this could have been a much stronger, snappier story.

Currie’s art is nice if slightly bland. His likenesses are overall good (although Rory seems to get a default expression somewhere between "hangdog" and "dopey"), and he’s able to bring a much needed humor quotient to the comic. His rendition of Microsoft Office’s "clippie" (although here it’s a stapler rather than a paperclip) is hysterical, and Claude is a perfect example of how to draw beefcake in a humorous manner rather than in any remotely sexy way. He’s definitely at his best in drawing the Doctor, though, capturing Smith’s expressions in a way that feels like you’re seeing the actor but without looking like tracings of publicity photographs, and for that alone I think Currie’s a good choice for this new Doctor Who comic series.

The new Doctor Who #1 from IDW isn’t a bad comic, but it’s not a great one either. I appreciate that Lee hasn’t deeply rooted his comic in continuity (like so many feel the need to do), but this wasn’t the most riveting of opening issues. The most punch this comic has is the beautiful Tommy Lee Edwards cover, and that’s the first thing you see, not the last. I know it’s not the easiest job in the world to write the licensed Doctor Who comic, but with the premiere of new episodes just a few months away, the writing needs to step up its game a great deal if it wants to keep readers around. It’s too easy to just turn on the television instead.

Comments are closed.