There’s this bloke called The Doctor. He’s smart and good and occasionally nice. He looks human, but he’s really an alien. He lives in a big blue box called The TARDIS. It can travel anywhere in space and time and, while it rarely takes The Doctor where he wants to go, it always takes him where he needs to be. He wanders the cosmos showing off the wonders of the universe to the various companions he picks up along the way and quite frequently saves the day, the night, the world, and the entire universe.
Doctor Who has been around for nearly five decades and there’s a fine tradition of Doctor Who comics stretching back nearly as long as the history of the show itself. It’s no surprise, then, that with the reemergence of the Doctor Who television series back in 2005 there would be new comic books, as well. IDW Publishing currently holds the license and has printed a number of mini-series and specials depicting the exploits of the enigmatic Doctor and his companions, as well as a monthly series that restarts every year or so.
This first collection of the third IDW series collects four issues and two whole stories. The first story, “The Hypothetical Gentleman,” centers upon The Doctor and his current companions (the husband and wife team of aspiring-model Amy Pond and nurse Rory Williams) as they travel to Victorian London. It is here they meet another young couple – Charles and Emily – who make a living putting on fake séances in order to capitalize on the growing belief in Spiritualism. While their shows are fake, Emily’s telepathic gifts are quite real, making her into a conduit for a disturbing intelligence. Naturally, this is just the sort of mystery to get The Doctor’s attention.
The second story, “The Doctor and The Nurse,” centers upon The Doctor and Rory reluctantly agreeing to have a “Boys Day Out” after Amy concludes that the two need some time to bond without her getting in the way. This is the only thing The Doctor and Rory agree upon, apart from the fact that neither of them is particularly interested in doing any male bonding. So while Amy wanders off for an hour to see the sights of London in 1814, The Doctor and Rory decide to “cheat” and take The TARDIS forward one hour so they can meet up with Amy later. Naturally The TARDIS winds up taking them elsewhere and elsewhen, while Amy has an adventure of her own fighting an unexpected alien menace.
Like the television series, the Doctor Who comic has attracted some of the best and brightest creators in its respective industry. This particular volume features writing by acclaimed author Andy Diggle, best known as the creator of the Vertigo series The Losers, and Brandon Seifert, creator of the independent horror series Witchdoctor. The art team is no less impressive, with Mark Buckingham of Fables fame and Phillip Bond – most famous for his work on Vertigo Comics’ The Invisibles and Tank Girl – lending their considerable talents to the proceedings.
In my professional opinion as a critic and my personal opinion as a Whovian, this volume would make a fine addition for any graphic novel collection. Like the show itself, there’s little here that would be unsuitable for younger audiences, but the language and ideas are complex enough that it might be best if an adult were on hand to assist younger readers. Place it in the Teen section as a compromise.