Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Archives Omnibus Vol. 1

Publisher: Titan Comics
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 30th, 2015

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Every so often, what feels like an extremely long time ago now, I’d pick up the Doctor Who magazine and read about the series, the cast, old episodes I’d never seen. But my favourite part of the magazine was always the comic in the middle, stories which although not on screen, always still felt like a part of the Doctor Who universe as a whole. They were like little side-adventures, things you could imagine The Doctor and their companion/s doing between the ‘main’ onscreen stories. Problem was, I’d find myself reading a small part of the story, and because of my haphazard way of picking up the magazine, I’d often miss the beginning, or a large part of the middle, or even the end.

This omnibus collects some of the Eleventh Doctors’ stories, these ones featuring him travelling with the Ponds. There’s a mix of long-arc tales and one-shots, and they gel together nicely.

Like many graphic novels and omnibus style collections, there are a few different artists involved with this. I like seeing a variety of art styles in comics, especially for something like this which combines longer arcs and one-shots. However, it becomes infuriating when the quality of art is so different. In some of the stories, the art was really solid. In others it felt rushed, drawing too much attention to poor art rather than the stories, though the ‘poor quality’ is slightly enhanced by being surrounded by really good art.

I would still say, if you are a fan of Doctor Who and especially The Eleventh Doctor, you should enjoy this, even if there is the odd couple of places where the characters are a little difficult to tell apart. For the most part though, this is a good read for fans.

The Doctor and the Ponds help London’s police hunt down Jack the Ripper in one tale, and in another they end up in a sticky situation on a Westworld-type planet, ending with another passenger on board the Tardis. The last long story sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory fighting against a giant squid.

“Spam Filtered” opens the omnibus, starting with Rory and Amy checking their emails, overrunning the Tardis with spam. It’s fun and fairly light, and a good opening.

The Jack the Ripper story was enjoyable, but it’s tinged by how much that particular serial killer has been overdone across various genres. And the story here doesn’t exactly add anything new. It’s a typical Doctor Who twist on an actual historical event, and those are always a little bit hit or miss.

“They Think It’s All Over”, like “Spam Filtered” is short and fun, as Rory and The Doctor play football against some Vikings. A nice break between the longer stories, and a couple of both funny and cringeworthy moments.

“When World’s Collide” similarly runs the risk of being a bit too much of something we’ve seen before. A world populated by robots, where you can live out any time period of your choosing. It even starts with a Western theme, but this one is saved as the action kicks off, with The Doctor confronting old foes, and duplicates appearing to confuse matters even more. This was more engaging than the first, and introduces us to a robot-dinosaur actor named Kevin.

“Space Squid” seems to take a jab at religion and atheism simultaneously. Doctor Who has always had its moments of jabs, at various institutions, usually done in a way that disguising them just enough to remain protected, but still making it clear what they’re criticizing. But this story feels too much like it needed to be on screen, the action a bit too much to convey on the page. “Body Snatched” is interesting, very typical Doctor Who as they travel to a hospital planet called Bedlam and there’s a couple of good twists here.

“Silent Night” contains no sound or dialogue, and is a nice, fun adventure with The Doctor and Santa. “Run, Doctor, Run” shows The Doctor on a planet where the laws of physics don’t apply. “Down to Earth” is sweet, with good art, and an alien stranded on Earth. “Tuesday” is a letter from Amy to her family, and it’s a semi-decent one to end the omnibus on.

The stories are hit or miss, and some of the dialogue is a bit…forced. There’s definitely the feeling that the people working on these weren’t working together – I lost count of how often Rory spoke about defending Amy for 2000 years. It has some of the key components that make this trio fun, but the onscreen dynamic is definitely missed, and there’s parts of the comic that are a little eyerolling. It’s fun if you are a fan of the show, but be prepared for a couple of not great moments.

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