Review: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2 by Al Ewing and Simon Fraser

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2

Written by: Al Ewing
Art by: Simon Fraser
Cover by: Alice X. Zhang
Colored by: Gary Caldwell
Lettered by: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt

Published by: Titan
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): Last issue, we found that that while Amy and Rory were on their honeymoon, the Doctor had encountered a woman named Alice Obeifune on Earth. Alice had just lost her mother and her job as a library assistant. She was feeling like her life was falling apart, and she ended up tangled up with the Doctor chasing an alien rainbow dog through London. The issue ended with her joining the Doctor on his travels.

This issue starts with the Doctor trying to take Alice to Rokhandi, a planet of unspoiled natural beauty…but instead, they find an amusement park there.

He ends up harassing a mascot, who offers him a Rokhandi Floss.

Meanwhile, a graffiti artist is spray painting “I’m bored” on the bathroom which gets him greeted by park employees who offer to give him a free Rokhandi Floss.

He is taken to a dark room and plugged brain first into a machine which makes him start to sing the park’s cheery theme song.

Back on the surface, Alice seems to be enjoying herself, but the Doctor is sulking about. He realizes he landed here ten years too late, and big corporations have taken the planet’s unspoiled nature and turned it into factories, toxic waste mines, and a theme park. As they look around the theme park, they realize they do not see any unhappy people.

The Doctor decides to try and get the attention of the park owner’s, so he causes a disruption and is immediately approached by park employees offering a

Rokhandi Floss…or a free T-Shirt…or whatever else he wants. The Doctor says he wants answers. The Employee says that the Serveyouinc Company has them, and takes him into the backstage area of the park.

Alice finds out that the worker running the shooting gallery was a tourist who caused trouble and ended up working here. She takes the gun and goes looking for the Doctor.

The Doctor ends up encountering a many-tentacled alien creature.

The Doctor realizes that it’s a mental parasite, feeding off will, ambition, and creativity. The employees surround the Doctor, and Alice arrives to save him, shooting one of the employees in the butt. Before they can escape, more employees arrive, led by a man called August Hart. Hart seems to recognize the Doctor and Alice, having met them sometime in their future (his past) along with “the other one.”

The creature hits the Doctor in the head with one of its tendrils and ends up exploding. The Doctor overwhelmed it with his desires, causing it to vomit and release everyone in the park. Hart escapes in the confusion. The Doctor and Alice leave in the TARDIS.

In the epilogue, we find out that the entity was part of a bigger creature imprisoned by a corporation, and losing the “Rokhandi” part has made the creature go ballistic.

Review: The best part about Titan’s Doctor Who books have been the covers. Alice X. Zhang is absolutely killing it on those amazing painted covers. If they made these as posters, I would buy them all and hang them in my living room. I especially love how joyful the expression on Matt Smith’s face looks.

BUT, the biggest problem with the covers is that the interior art doesn’t match up. Simon Fraser does a great job with backgrounds and creatures…but his human beings look terrible. Weird expressions and weird body poses. And the Doctor just doesn’t really look like Matt Smith as you can see in the above images. I can’t help but compare this to IDW’s Star Trek comic, which does such amazing likenesses of the actors.

I didn’t know Al Ewing’s work too much until recently, but I am becoming a huge fan. Mighty Avengers might be my favorite Marvel book right now.

For Doctor Who, he told a good story and the Doctor definitely felt perfectly in character with Matt Smith’s version of the character. I did think that we had seen elements of this story before in Doctor Who episodes like “The Happiness Patrol,” “Paradise Towers,” and “The Long Game.” But, Doctor Who has been around for 50 years now, so I don’t get too annoyed if we see a story that is similar to something that came before. Especially when it is done well like this issue.

I also thought that the themes of corporate greed and the “everyone has to smile” jab at Disney World worked well. Sometimes those kinds of things can be heavy handed, but Ewing managed to make it feel fresh and not tedious.

I also loved that the first two issues have been stand alone stories. One thing I love about Doctor Who is how flexible the series can be, showing different times and settings. Since comics don’t have the limits of budget that the TV producers do, you can get away with anything you want. I will admit, I am not 100% sold on the fact this incarnation of the Doctor somehow had a new companion we never heard of, but Alice seems like a good character, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt.

Ewing also did a great job setting up future storylines.  I am really curious about Hart and who the mysterious “other one” is.  Also, the first issue teased a rogue Time Lord is running around as well.  The stories may be standalone, but they are part of a bigger picture, which falls in line with what the TV series has done the last few years.

All in all, this was a well written comic, though the art does take away from the quality some. It wasn’t enough to make me not like the comic, but I can definitely see other readers being turned off.

By the way, if you are a fan of Al Ewing, you really have to check out his work on Avengers #34.1 this week. It was a little pricey at $4.99, but a great story about Hyperion.  Probably my favorite comic that I read this week.


Title: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2
Written By: Al Ewing
Art By: Simon Fraser
Company: Titan
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • One of the best covers I have ever seen.
  • Great characters and a solid story.
  • I love that it was a stand alone story.
  • Good social commentary without every feel heavy handed.
Cons:
  • The art is almost unbearably bad.
  • This story is a little too similar to many, many Doctor Who stories I’ve seen.
  • Not quite sure I buy that the Eleventh Doctor had a companion we never heard of before now.
Is it worth your $3.99? 7.0/10 – I typically weight comics heavily towards the writing over the art in terms of my enjoyment of a comic. The art on this issue was pretty bad, but the strong writing still made me feel like I got my money’s worth.  As a reader, you might feel differently, so take that into consideration.

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