COMIC REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Tenth Doctor Vol 1

The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 1:
Revolutions of Terror
by Nick Abadzis

Out Now


Review by Andrea McGuire

Revolutions of Terror, the first of Titan Comics’ Tenth Doctor adventures, with words by Nick Abadzis and art by Elena Casagrande, introduces us to new companion, Gabby Gonzales.

Set in the time during the 2009 television specials and following the heartbreaking loss of companion Donna Noble, Revolutions of Terror sees The Doctor meet up with Gabby while she is living a dreary existence, working in her family’s laundromat in New York’s Sunset Park and dreaming of a way out. The way out is nothing Gabby could ever imagine as a skinny man in blue box with a machine he really wants to go “ding!” turns up to investigate some mysterious goings-on on the eve of the Day of the Dead/Halloween.

Gabby helps The Doctor to deal with the creatures that live in the Psychosphere – the benign Pranavores and the nasty Cerebravores – and she proves that she is more than capable of dealing with all of the aliens, including The Doctor, who at one point she wallops about the head with a baseball bat.

The Pranavores and the Cerebavores are very, very good additions to the Doctor Who cadre of alien creatures and have some interesting similarities with another race of Doctor Who aliens that share a hive mind. 

And that’s not the only familiar in Revolutions of Terror. As The Doctor and Gabby embark on their adventure, there are reflections of the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler’s first adventure together. Perhaps this is why he makes the rather unexpected decision to invite Gabby aboard the TARDIS for a "thank you" trip with the line, “Did I mention it also travels in time?”

As an introduction to a new companion, Revolutions of Terror does a solid job. Gabby is clever and likeable (and the first companion of Mexican descent, fact fans) and the story is sound. There are some incredible New York cityscapes, a lovely amount of confusion as psychic monsters become indistinguishable from the Day of the Dead/Halloween revellers and washing machines become a portal to another world (as long as the quarters last!). There’s even a Ghostbusters reference and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from our favourite Doctor Who news reader.

As with many written Doctor Who adventures, we see nods to the show’s past, but Revolutions of Terror brings something else – premonitions of The Tenth Doctor’s fast-approaching future. It casts a shadow over what should be a happy ending as The Doctor and his new companion head off for that "thank you" trip.

Also accompanying Revolutions of Terror is the slightly shorter tale The Arts in Space. These events are delightfully depicted in Gabby’s journal – a comic within a comic, if you like – showing her travels with The Doctor and how they have changed her.

Given a choice for her "thank you" trip, Gabby – in a further echo of The Ninth Doctor and Rose – opts for the future and is whisked away to the No-Gallery of Ouloumos. Astonished and moved to tears of joy by the strange and wonderful planet, Gabby discovers wonders like whispering paintings and self-creating portraits, as well as incredible block-transfer sculptures from the mind of the reclusive artist, Zhe Ikiyuyu [older readers may remember block-transfer computations - Ed.].

As the block-transfer statues come to unpleasant life, The Doctor and Gabby must deal with Zhe’s binary, boy/girl, good/mad, apprentice. Our time-travellers battle through a nightmare of art brought to horrifying life as infinite stairs and impossible objects force them apart. The Doctor quotes Sylvia Plath – “The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt" – and he’s not kidding as the manifestation of the artist Zhe’s self-doubt threatens to end him in Esher-esque horror. As Zhe reappears from her self-imposed exile, Gabby steps in to try and save the day in a completely engaging way. 

The Arts in Space is a lovely and unique story. Its depiction in Gabby’s journal elevates it to something special and we get to see Gabby’s perspective (perspective? art? geddit?) on the wonders she encounters with The Doctor. 

We also get to see some more of Gabby. She thinks that TARDIS stands for Threshold and Ridiculous Domain of Insanity and Supercool and you’ll have to read The Arts in Space to see what she thinks the TARDIS noise is like!

The shadow of The Doctor’s prophesised future continues to linger and we can only wonder what the future holds for our new travelling companions as The Doctor, intrigued by Gabby’s perception, decides she can stay.

Thanks to Titan Comics

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