Well, that was great fun. Also, disgusting.
That was how I felt after reading surely one of the strongest comics published since Titan Comics got the license for Doctor Who a couple of years ago.
They say you should always start with a bang, and this first issue of “Year Two” for the Twelfth Doctor certainly does that.
I suppose it was more of a “sploosh” actually; Clara Oswald and the School of Death takes place at Ravenscaur School, an elite school isolated on an island after an underwater earthquake in 1907 left only one road on and off the outcrop, and that only accessible during low tide. And one of their teachers has vanished. Sounds promising, right?
We actually begin with Christel Dee from Doctor Who: The Fan Show. Here, she plays a teacher who trained alongside Clara, and is trying to escape the school. It must be so cool for the presenter to appear in a comic book, and artist, Rachael Stott has her down to a tee. It’s a wonderful “pre-title sequence”-like scene as an unseen force scrawls “I must not murder my teacher” on the blackboard.
Her position at the school is filled by Clara, so it wouldn’t be a great leap to consider who the next victim might be…
But Clara’s not initially with the Doctor. He’s on the Rosette of Sirius, the flagship of the Onedin Interstellar Line (surely a tip of the hat to the 1970s series starring Frontios‘ Peter Gilmore), enjoying a Galactic Gargle-Blaster. Aside from the checkered trousers and the sonic sunglasses, this is where you can tell that “Year Two” for this series takes place firmly during Series 9 – because it’s a riot.
Not an actual riot, you understand – I mean that it’s a huge dollop of fun! Peter Capaldi didn’t get a proper chance to explore the more humorous side of the Twelfth Doctor until at least Last Christmas (I’d even argue that it’s not fully embraced until Under the Lake), and there’s a joy to both his performance on-screen and to this comic book.
Writer, Robbie Morrison has the Doctor and Clara’s relationship spot-on, and of course, Rachael Stott’s pages are stunning. Her love of the show shines through in every panel, and more specifically even the smallest of facial expressions. Her Twelfth Doctor in particular is ace.
This is all topped off with an atmospheric and frankly incredible cover by the ever-reliable Alice X. Zhang. It must rank as one of the best covers from Titan so far.
Oh, but Part One of Clara Oswald and the School of Death isn’t just fun. I also mentioned that it was disgusting. And yep, the final page is certainly that. It all happens so fast, the reader’s left reeling… and eager to read the next issue straight away.
What a way to start a new series of adventures! I’ll be on board every step of the way.
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #2.1 is out now, priced $3.99.