Fear-eating demons try to ruin a Día de los Muertos celebration. A space dog escapes from its owner while a corrupt organization brainwashes theme park patrons. A quadrillionaire terraforms an entire planet and unleashes an ancient evil. And all before tea!
Since October, Titan Comics has given us three – yes, THREE – Doctor Who comic adventures following Doctors Ten, Eleven and everyone’s favorite grump, Twelve. With a grand total of nineteen issues, ten story arcs, five companions (three for Eleven, as always) and one TARDIS explosion, it has been one hell of a ride.
With three Doctors and Nine on his merry way in March, the sheer amount of material seems a tad daunting. Yes, it is very much a Doctor Who overload, but nothing that can’t be summed up in a few paragraphs of laughter, angst and tears.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Or rather, as close to the beginning as we’re going to get.
The Tenth Doctor, written by Nick Abadzis and with art by Elena Sasagrande, throws us into the midst of the lackluster life of young Latina New Yorker Gabriella Gonzalez. Gabby desperately wants to be an artist, but obligations to her family keep her shackled to two jobs she hates and an accounting class she doodles through. But on the train ride home, she’s attack by a terrible creature that feeds on peoples’ innermost fears. Quickly saved by a man with an uncanny resemblance to popular Scottish actor David Tennant, Gabby soon discovers that there’s more to her world than just dryer spin cycles and Mexican food.
Ten and Gabby soon unearth a portal from another dimension manifesting out of her family’s laundromat. The Doctor jumps through it while his new companion reinforces the doors against hordes of the non-corporeal psychic parasites known as “cerebavores.” These cerebavores wreak havoc on the unsuspecting city, turning everyone they come in contact with into nightmarish monsters. Everyone except the Latin@ community gathered in the cemetery to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Quickly, Ten harnesses the positive energy from the celebration and zaps it back at the cerebavores, freeing their mortal hosts and saving the day.
Broodingly, Ten leaves in the middle of the celebration and tries to make a clean escape on the TARDIS, but Gabby is having none of that. She’s tired of her humdrum life and wants to see the galaxy that she now knows is out there. Reluctantly, which is the only way Ten knows how to do anything, he agrees to let Gabby have just one trip on the TARDIS.
Now, if you’ll turn your transtemporal space binoculars to the right just a hair – a little more… more… Ah! Yes, there! Meet Alice Obiefune, library assistant. Unsuspecting Alice is suddenly swept up into the business of the Eleventh Doctor, written by Al Ewing with art by Simon Fraser.
A rampaging doglike alien that feeds on negativity galumphs through the streets of London, and just so happens to be attracted to Alice. Not knowing why, the Doctor leads it away from her and she’s allowed to go back home unharmed. But moments later, the TARDIS appears in her living room and Eleven emerges because he felt Alice needed someone to confide in. As it so happens, Alice’s mother had just recently passed away and her landlord was trying to evict her, so a sympathetic shoulder was just what she needed.
Not one to completely give into the whole “I’m-a-time-travelling-alien” ploy, Alice wants proof that Eleven isn’t some psychopath with a magic blue box that randomly appears in people’s living rooms. Eleven gives her the grand tour of the TARDIS, from the control room, to the maze of mazes to the swimming pool where his tadpole people friends live. It all seems too hard to believe until they both realize that the bad vibes dog is still on the loose. After a moment of deliberation, Alice determines that the only possible place for the creature to go is Parliament!
Like a giant beacon of Black British Bleakness, Parliament summons the great beast with its dark palate, and it commences to chow down on air – not people, because that would be gross. But its body decided that the walls didn’t need to be there anymore so it broke everything.
Alice was soon able to lure the creature outside where Eleven and TARDIS magically appeared just in time to reunite the negativity=eating dog with his adolescent jellyfish person owner. Together again, a boy and his dog return home, and the Doctor leaves London with Alice by his side.
You all remember Clara right? Yeah, well, Clara’s still a thing, which isn’t a bad thing, but she’s not a new thing. Up until this point, Gabby and Alice have both been new companions in the grandiose lives of Doctors Ten and Eleven. But in The Twelfth Doctor by Robbie Morrison with art by Dave Taylor, it really isn’t that much of surprise when we see Clara front and center. No, the real surprise is that she’s in head-to-toe ski gear and making Twelve take her to an ice planet and teach her how to ski.
Okay, that’s not a surprise either. But skiing on an ice planet! That sounds fun, right? WRONG! Because it’s not an ice planet anymore, Clara. Oh no. It’s a jungle now, and all because quadrillionaire philanthropist playboy Kano Dollar has taken it upon himself to terraform a tropical paradise home. There’s nothing really for Twelve and Clara to do until the robots start killing people. They’re now controlled by a space demon that was dormant for eons until Dollar’s terraformers woke it up.
Good thing Twelve’s here to kick your ass into next Tuesday, because you wouldn’t live long enough to see it otherwise.
Seeing as how the space demon is made of space fire, killing it is impossible. But Twelve, in true Doctor Who fashion, discovers a way to do the impossible and reverses the terraformer, turning the once-ice-now-jungle planet back into an ice planet, effectively encasing the space demon in ice. Oh, and killing Kano Dollar with a giant ice tornado in the process. Guess he didn’t make it to next Tuesday after all.
Back in Ten’s neck of the woods, the Doctor takes Gabby to visit one of the most prominent artists of the future, Zhe Ikiyuyu, a master of block transfer sculpting. But when they arrive on Zhe’s private moon, they’re attacked by her apprentices, who seem to be living sculptures… and are also insanely jealous of anyone who comes near their mistress. Whilst running for their lives, Ten and Gabby find Zhe, but she’s trapped inside her own mind and Ten is the only one who can get her out. So, as Gabby’s luring the apprentices away, he finally gets Zhe to wake up.
The artist comes to her senses and reveals that the apprentices were really extensions of herself, created after someone gave one of her pieces a bad review. Gabby and Zhe talk art for far longer than Ten has the attention span for, and before he whisks her away to take her back home, Zhe offers her the chance to come back someday and be her apprentice. Gabby jumps at the chance, but Ten – who’s never been very good without a companion – confesses that he would like her to stay with him and have a few more adventures before she becomes a famous artist under Zhe’s tutelage.
With Gabby now an official companion, we can turn our attention back to the dealings of Eleven and Alice as they find themselves in what was once a jungle paradise, but is now a happiness theme park run by the seemingly-not-evil corporation ServeYou Inc..
When a theme park mascot tries to offer him complimentary floss, Eleven goes ballistic, convinced that the overly-happy park patrons are under some kind of mind control. He soon finds the source of the artificial joy in the form a gigantic gelatinous gyrating glob. The Doctor was able to outwit the glob beast with complex timelord magic and the thing exploded, releasing everyone from its mental trap.
But their dealings with ServeYou Inc. are far from over.
During quick trip to 1960 London to see the first-ever concert of the Chameleon of Pop, John Jones (no relation to David Bowie), Alice is beside herself with elation until her mother’s idol’s performance falls flat and leaves a sour taste in her mouth. Alice begins to question why her mother ever liked the man in the first place, unknowingly in front of the man himself.
Jones tries to confront her, but can’t seem to get her or Eleven’s attention as they head back into the TARDIS, unwittingly stowing away as they travel back to 1930s Mississippi to catch Robert Johnson sing the blues. But something’s amiss when Robert (who just happens to be an old friend of the Doctor’s) and a congregation of blues enthusiasts get zombiefied into submission by none other than ServeYou Inc.!
Eleven frees Robert, but isn’t able to escape from the ServeYou zombies, and is soon infected by the same terrible mind control currently burning innocent people alive from the inside out. But Robert, Jones and Alice band together to save him and the other zombies, once again thwarting ServeYou Inc.’s galactic domination. Well, supposed galactic domination. We’re not quite sure what they’re motives are at this point, but they’re sure as hell are not capturing Mississippi!
In an attempt – not a legitimate attempt – to return John David Jones Bowie to his own time, the trio comes across a suspicious science lab overrun by a dark, untraceable entity. Its name is ARC (short for Autonomous Reasoning Center), and it’s adorable. ARC was being tortured and tested until the Doctor and his growing list of companions came along and rescued it. Now a full-fledged member of the team, ARC proves quite helpful in sticky situations.
Due to an unforeseen forecast of EVERYONE DIES, Jones is dead and ARC is incapacitated, while a space rhino steals a black box of doom. But as Eleven and Alice mourn their friend’s loss, the Doctor suddenly finds himself jumping back in time, and in what has got to be one of the best examples of backwards storytelling, we see the events that lead to Jones’ death and revival and the thwarting of the space rhino. All because a time slug had decided to suck the time juices from the TARDIS, causing her to fly backwards for a spell.
But all of the demented happy parks, possessed blues musicians and time slugs can’t distract Alice from her life back in London. The Doctor takes her back and lets her do some adulting to get her apartment situation all straightened out. Determined to let Alice be, Eleven, ARC and Jones plan on having a day about town.
Until town decides that it’s going to come under attack from two warring factions of aliens.
Adulting is put on hold, and the TARDIS flies up into space to confront them. Jones begins experiencing severe tummy aches, ARC is having sympathy pains and is rendered useless, Alice finds her late mother wandering the grand alien library and the Doctor’s tricks don’t work on mice wearing giant robot armor.
Alice recruits herself and the ailing Jones to become “Infinite Astronauts” and save their home planet from being destroyed as collateral damage. But when Alice discovers that her mother is really a shape-shifting agent from ServeYou Inc, things suddenly get personal. She and Jones journey to the other side of a glowing portal, where they discover a dimension of pure color and beauty. Because of Alice’s jaded outlook, she doesn’t become hypnotized that like hundreds of “infinite astronauts” before her.
They return to the other side of the portal, and the two warring factions declare peace for the first time in millions of years. Eleven declares war on ServeYou Inc.
Now that Twelve is thoroughly annoyed that we spent so much time on his fez-clad predecessor, we find him in both India’s past and future, where the Scindia Family – a cult of Kali worshipers – are hellbent on sacrificing the masses of innocents to their Goddess of Chaos.
With the help of an old friend’s daughter from the future and a she-pirate of the past, Twelve and Clara brave the Scindia’s ancestral home. They finally uncover the family’s sinister plot and set out to find the four swords of Kali (one for each hand), only to have them taken away by the head of the family before they can be destroyed.
Separated by floating balls of doom, Clara is captured and her body becomes a host for the spirit of Kali!
But in the midst of all the chaos, the smoke clears and we discover that we have come full circle next to Ten and Gabby.
The Germans aren’t the only ones who have invaded the war-torn French countryside. The British troops live in fear of creatures so terrifying that they won’t even dare blink.
The Weeping Angels have returned, and Ten must recruit every able-bodied man to keep these sinister creatures at bay. But battle-weary soldiers are no match, especially when their enemies are both on the battlefield and in the dark.
Will the Weeping Angels send Gabby and Ten to a dark past where only death awaits? Will Eleven and Alice bring ServeYou Inc. to justice? Will Twelve tell Clara that four arms really aren’t her style?!
Find out next time in The Tenth Doctor #8, The Eleventh Doctor #9 and The Twelfth Doctor #5!