Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who – The Widow’s Curse

Publisher: Panini
Release Date: November 19th, 2016
Genre: Sci-Fi/Media Tie-In

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Other Doctor Who Comic Collection Reviews: The Iron Legion / The Tides of Time / Voyager / The Flood
Other Doctor Who Graphic Novel Reviews: The Eleventh Doctor Archives Omnibus Vol. 1 / The Eleventh Doctor Archives Omnibus, Vol 2

So I didn’t realise I’d skipped a volume when I picked this up, jumping right over the Ninth Doctor and going straight to the Tenth! I admit, David Tennant is my absolute favourite all time Doctor, so I was really excited to dig into it. However, it might be my love for Tennant that actually impacted how much I enjoyed it. This volume is okay, but much of it felt like it was missing that extra spark. When it worked, it was great, but the odd few times it missed, it did so badly.

The stories themselves were a decent mix, but it felt like a really abrupt change between Martha and Donna, then, of course, Donna disappears fairly quickly. It’s a shame we didn’t get to spend more time with either of these companions!

The collection opens with The Woman Who Sold the World. It was an intriguing idea, with the standard anti-capitalist Doctor Who stuff. Loved that aspect, but so much of this stretched out for too long, and there were so many different ideas competing for space. I did, however, really like the love story between two of the characters – it was sweet and compelling.

Bus Stop is a one shot, a kind of side-stage glimpse of the Doctor and his adventures. A man on a bus prays for a journey left to himself, only to end up beside the Doctor. Entertaining, but similarly goes on for that bit too long, the joke feels worn out by the end.

The First sees the Doctor and Martha coming across Shackleton, during a failed expedition. But there’s more hiding beneath the ice. This was good, a fun historical romp with aliens, which is something Doctor Who usually does well with. Again, maybe a touch too long – I was eager for the end by the midway point – but with some good moments. The Sun Screen one shot fell a bit flat. Death to the Doctor brings in more humour, as a variety of enemies try to enact revenge on the Doctor. We see enemies from across the various Doctors, and the artwork here works really well – a great twist, too.

Universal Monsters is one of my favourites – I wasn’t overly keen when I started, but the ideas and art won me over, a great homage to the old films combined with some great Doctor Who elements. Some lovely points here where the Doctor is proved wrong, too, which is always kind of fun to see. The Widow’s Curse – the titular story – once again outstayed its welcome. It was a little jarring, too, to suddenly have Donna here rather than Martha, and it doesn’t quite feel like Catherine Tate’s ‘Donna-ness’ is captured as effectively as some other companions.

The Immortal Emperor is decent but thankfully quick, though it almost feels a bit too much like previous stories. Finally, we have The Time of My Life. This is the standout for the whole collection, a wonderful goodbye to Donna, who had a very short-lived time in the comics. It’s effective and tear-inducing, and a truly great send off.

Not the best of the collected comics, but worth dipping into if you’re a Doctor Who fan. I’m down to only one more volume with this – this time with the Ninth Doctor – and I’m just hoping it’s a little better than The Widow’s Curse!

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