As we near the end of the Audio / Comics Companion Debut Marathon we reach the Titan comics range, a range I started covering on this blog from “Year 2” onwards, so this is slightly awkward as I’ll be going back to the start, before beginning to tackle “Year 3” in a month or so… Oh well! The Tenth Doctor’s new companion for the range, Gabby, is a fun character and their adventures get off to a good, and less complicated, start… so let’s have a look!
The Tenth Doctor thought he was done with new companions after Donna’s tragic exit – but that was before he met Gabriella ‘Gabby’ Gonzalez during an incursion of psychic parasites in Brooklyn, New York!
Stuck running her father’s Laundromat, Gabby always dreamed of horizons beyond Sunset Park – whether that was going to college, making it as an artist, or just escaping her life for a while. Now she’s travelling the cosmos as the Doctor’s latest companion – and life couldn’t be more exciting!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Two companions, one will take longer than the other to actually get going, and won’t have her own name in the top right marathon logo, but both still valid!
The Doctor (David Tennant) – The Doctor is still wary of taking on new companions after what happened with Donna (making this either pre or post the previous story I just reviewed…) but is happy to pop into a point of time that needs his help, especially if it’s back on good old Earth!
Gabby Gonzalez – Gabby wishes to express herself through her art, or generally move forward in her life, but her family, especially her Dad, is more interested in keeping her at home so she can run their family Laundromat…
Cindy Wu – Cindy is Gabby’s best friend is supports her want to move forward in life, as her own life ins’t exactly stellar.
The Cerebravores – Cerebravores are beings of pure mental energy that feed off of negative emotions. They were created by people they call the “Fleshkind”, who tore them away from their original peaceful existence.
The Gonzalez Family – Gabby’s family are proud Mexican immigrants who are pleased with their successful Laundromat and general lot in life…
Zhe Ikiyuyu – A famous “block transfer sculpture artist” who mysteriously went into reclusion, as it turns out, she did so for a very good reason…
The Binary Apprentice – The Binary Apprentice, as it became known, is a block transfer sculpture brought to life by Zhe using a “Quantum Sphere” to give it sentience. Sadly it took on most of her self-doubt and other negative emotions, so is on the unstable side…
You know you don’t mean it really, Doctor! Be honest with yourself…
The titular story of this double bill is a good introduction to Gabby, as not only does it give us a good look into her otherwise mundane life, and make us feel for her due to her creativity being held back by her father, but it celebrates her Mexican heritage by setting it during the Day of the Dead celebrations and nicely twists the tale around it. Given her family and her best friend Cindy are all decently established characters, you do get a greater sense of a regular person suddenly being whisked away into the crazy world of Doctor Who, especially the relationship between Gabby and Cindy, something that gets better established as the story goes along.
The main threat is pretty standard. Bodiless spirits who feed on negative emotion, as out-there as a concept that is for most franchises, for Doctor Who I just blinked, went with it knowing it will end with Gabby gaining a better sense of who she is and allowing herself to feel positive emotions and express her art, leading to their defeat, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s fine though, as a companion intro story, seeing her literally becoming free from her sheltered life is a nice start to her story. Throw in some “friends and family have been possessed!” drama and plenty of The Doctor running around and talking tech mumbo-jumbo with gizmos on his head, and you have a fun story.
The second story in this collected Graphic Novel is called “The Arts in Space”, which is actually a funny pun at least (on Fourth Doctor TV classic “The Ark in Space”, in case you weren’t in the know!) was a perfectly serviceable second story. As it tends to go with modern Who, the second story is set in the future, in this case The Doctor takes Gabby to an artist of the future, someone who uses… *sigh*, block transfer computation… in order to create works of art, which is actually a fun idea given the mathematical nonsense was about creating something out of nothing with pure maths, who not make art with it?
There was a good twist that the antagonist of the story was a block transfer construct that gained sentence, and only inherited its creators negative emotions, but really it was a short and sweet story that saw Gabby once again express her artistic freedom to save the day. Nothing much to say about it, at only two chapters long…
Okay, the art takes a bit of a hit for the second story, but it’s not too bad…
Not a lot, really. The first story wasn’t ground breaking but did a good job of establishing our new companion, and the second had some unique ideas even if it was quite short. Neither are top scorers, but neither are bad.
The Doctor does have a habit of talking to himself when he’s companionless… kind of sad, really…
Not much to say, beyond the obvious point that characters like Gabby’s parents and Cindy all reappear down the line in these comics.
Block Transfer Computation was a concept created in the Fourth Doctor TV story “Logopolis”. It has since reappeared several times in comics and audios, including several stories I’ve reviewed in the past year, coincidentally! They include, but aren’t limited to, Fourth Doctor audio story “The Enchantress of Numbers” and Twelfth Doctor comic “The Phantom Piper”.
Five issues, two stories, one graphic novel, and it’s a good one! The two adventures do a really great job of introducing us to our new companion and making sure we really like and support her before she begins her journey. Gabby’s first trip had some unique ideas which made up for its lack of length. Overall, a good start to the 10th Doctor Titan Comics range.