The next volume of Titan Comics’ 12th Doctor run once again contains two stories (this time a three-part story and a two-part one) but is now set in between Series 9 and 10, meaning The Doctor is companionless. Much like the show itself, being Clara-less helps wonders here, as the titular story is actually really great, and the second story (“Playing House”) isn’t too bad either. So let’s take a look!
The Doctor visits The Twist, the colony with ‘the best punk scene this side of the 40th century!’ But something is amiss when a murder mystery occurs, leading the Doctor and the planet’s inhabitants to question their very origins!
A haunted house also causes problems for the Doctor, having strange ramifications a house should never have… and this one feels decidedly Time Lord!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Hattie’s on the right… The black woman, not one of the ghosts.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) – The Doctor is travelling solo again, as always happens in the end. He has arrived in the middle of a punk rock concert and seems to be enjoying himself, until… well, you know…
Hattie Munroe – Hattie is the lead in a band known as “The Space Pirates”, a popular band in the 40th century punk rock scene. As many have done before her, she ends up running down a corridor with The Doctor leading to a bizarre adventure!
Jakob – Jakob is on the run for his life. The authorities think he committed murder, but only he knows the truth…
The Foxkin – A race of intelligent fox-people who live deep underneath The Twist, and have done long before humans began to populate above…
Holly and her Family – The standard Mum, Dad, Daughter, Son foursome, living in a harmless house… that keeps expanding itself, room by room, with no sign of stopping…
The best artwork of Fox-people you’ll see! … Also probably the only.
The Twist is great fun. Ignoring the cringey 12th Doctor rock stuff it has a great future setting (complete with “cool looking” faceless authority troops!) and a fun mystery involving Fox-people. The Doctor and Hattie, who happens to follow him, talk to Jakob, who believes he’s being framed for the murder of a politician when it was actually the monsters. Sure enough The Doctor and co. arrive in the nearby woods and encounter one such beast, but of course it’s not as simple as all that. The story progresses and we see that the original colonists all died due to a computer malfunction and the foxes (that were released via a separate system, I guess) eventually evolved to be intelligent bipeds. The Foxkin (as they coincidentally called themselves…) found the human remains and used their technology to clone them, then left them to flourish on the colony while they lived in their underground city. It’s a bizarre and crazy story, but it’s fun. Jakob is later revealed to have actually been the one to kill the politician as she was about to reveal the truth about the Foxkin and recommend they try and make peace, where as he believed they should all be killed because… good old fashioned human character flaws, I guess.
It ends with The Doctor and Hattie’s band all playing a song and then announcing to the whole colony the story of the Foxkin, and then they all presumably live happily ever after. Like I said, it’s a really fun story, helped greatly by properly impressive artwork and some fun background dressing. The Twist itself is a really fun design, it’s basically a ginormous figure eight race track in space with buildings and parks on it.
“Playing House” isn’t quite up to the same level, but it has its moments. A mysterious house gets The Doctor’s attention and he and Hattie, who decided to have one quick trip in the TARDIS, have a poke around. Soon they realise the house keeps going on and on, eventually leading to outside locations and impossibly large places. Then they see ghosts tapping on the windows, though they’re actually “Spyrillites”, creatures from the void that feed on leaking time energy, because… well, Doctor Who. To the surprise of no-one (except the Doctor, somehow) it’s revealed that the house is a TARDIS, or rather an old antique brought into the house was a TARDIS, and the time craft is damaged and began “leaking rooms”. The Doctor saves the day and the super-plain family that was trapped in it, and that’s that. Again, it’s a fun story, just not up to the level of The Twist.
That’s an impressive de-aging technique, Doctor!
While it would be a bit cruel to call the artwork in Playing House bad, because it’s not, it does take on a more cartoony style that I didn’t like in some panels. Most of the time it wouldn’t bother me, but I guess the switch was so noticeable due to it following on straight from a three-part story with constantly great artwork.
Also noticeable was the change in original characters. The new characters with any kind of role in The Twist were well realised and given plenty of personality, where as the family that appears in Playing House are just extremely predictable family tropes. That being said, both stories had scenes with The Doctor rocking out on his electric guitar, which is one character trait introduced in Series 9 that sadly continued here…
Ugh…. Damn it.
Not much to say, apart from it taking place after Hell Bent, when Clara left.
The Twist was a great little story, full of fun, er well, twists and great artwork, and Playing House was good, though a bit less in every category compared to Twist. As a single “graphic novel” it was a fun double act, far better than the Titan 12th Doctor volumes that had preceded it.