-This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
Guest Writer: Heidi Berthiaume
Weighing in at 370 pages, the Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures: Complete Year One is a hefty collection that takes place after the Doctor parts from Donna Noble. The first story introduces Gabriella Gonzalez and her best friend Cindy, doing laundry at “the only Mexican-owned laundromat in New York. Probably.” All of the machines start spinning at once, a vortex of light springs forth, and there’s a massive explosion of soapy water and clothing. Gabby sees something smoke-like escaping the laundromat. She tries to follow it, but is stopped by Hector, her sister’s fiancé, who wants to know what happened in his future father-in-law’s business. Thus begins the “Revolutions of Terror.”
Back at the family restaurant, Gabby’s father doesn’t believe her account of what happened at the laundromat. The bickering between Gabby and her sister Bianca, and Gabby’s frustrations at her fathers’ expectations, all end when her grandmother’s scream echoes down the hallway. She says she saw Juan, her dead husband, with her eyes, in torment and agony, not with her heart, happy and at peace, as usual at this time of La Dia de los Meurtos.
Wandering the streets, the Doctor follows a device with a blinking red light that unfortunately, does not go Ding! Everywhere he goes, people suddenly stop, then run off in fear of each other. On her subway ride back from an accounting class, another of her father’s expectations and in no way aligned with her desire to be an artist, Gabby is attacked by a huge, hairy monster … that slowly transforms itself into a hideous version of herself. The Doctor steps up, and the running begins.
Inadvertently defeating the monster with her mirror, Gabby walks with the Doctor long enough to learn about perception fields before being told to go home and stay there for a few days. Instead, because Hector claims he saw the devil and now won’t leave his room, Gabby has to take his shift at the laundromat. Finding the door open, Gabby arms herself with a baseball bat. When the door to the back room opens, she hit a home run on the intruder’s head … knocking the Doctor’s latest invention to the ground. Together again, Gabby refuses to be left behind this time.
The two walk to a park, where the Doctor puts his mostly-repaired helmet on Gabby in order to let her see the Pranavores, benign creatures who feed of positive emotions and inhabit the Psychosphere. Gabby also sees “hideous, spidery, reptile things” attacking the Pranavores. So, of course, the Doctor goes off to talk to them. There’s more running, this time from the Cerebravores, and back to the laundromat, the entry point of their invasion. Gabby keeps the machines spinning while the Doctor goes through the portal to find out what’s really going on. At the end of the day, after all’s well again, Gabby asks to travel with the Doctor. He turns her down. As she walks away, she says, “No song should end too soon.” – to which the Doctor opens the TARDIS door for her to take “just one trip.”
The next story of this collection is of that one trip to the Gallery of Ouloumos. It’s told partially as pages of Gabby’s sketchbook, an on-going letter to Cindy, and mostly as their unexpected trip to the private moon of Zhe Ikiyuy, a block transfer artist who sings her art into being based on pure mathematics. What should have been a visit to an old friend of the Doctor turns into a race to save Zhe from her own apprentice. Once all has been brought back to as it should be, the Doctor extends an open invitation to Gabby to stay aboard the TARDIS.
Traveling to the past this time, the Doctor and Gabby end up in the middle of No Man’s Land, July, 1916. Here begins “The Weeping Angels of Mons.” Teaming up with a Corporal Jamie Colqhoun, Gabby meets the one of the Doctor’s (now) classic enemies …. and realizes for the first time how truly dangerous traveling with a Time Lord can be. The Doctor’s plans, and Gabby and Jamie’s interest in each other, are interspersed with short passages telling the fate of some of the soldiers the Weeping Angels send back in time. The art at the end is a beautiful visual remembrance of WWI soldiers.
The single issue story, “Echo,” rounds out the end of the first season of Tenth Doctor comics. Stopping back in New York to visit her family, Gabby also tries to connect with Cindy who’s feeling alone and replaced as a best friend. Ambient noise become excruciating for different people around the city who end up screaming. Gabby almost succumbs before the Doctor appears and drops a set of sonic ear-muffs on her head. Using his sonic screw driver to adjust the frequencies of the sound waves buffeting the city, the truth of the message is revealed. While the events taking place are authorized by the Intergalactic Treaty of Cultural Rights, the Doctor has a different opinion of what should happen.
Before the final story arc of this compilation, there is “The Tenth Doctor in Laundro-room of Doom,” where after visiting a planet of mud, the Doctor takes Gabby to the TARDIS’s Laudro-demat to clean their clothes. A mini-adventure that involves some running around. Considering where to go next, Gabby receives an angry text from Cindy while the Doctor picks up an interesting signal on his sonic screwdriver. Agreeing to meet back at the family restaurant later, each go their own way. Gabby shares her sketchbook with Cindy, but their conversation isn’t what it used to be. Gabby has changed and Cindy is worried.
The Doctor follows the signal to an auction of alien artifacts. Trying to track down one of them, he gets hits on the back of the head, twice by the same person, and ends up in the penthouse of an elderly movie star, Dorothy Bell – the winning bidder of the artifact. The artifact is stolen by Cleo, the Doctor’s sometime ally, and taken back to the two men who plan to use it summon long-dead gods. Gabby and the Doctor reunite, as Dorothy becomes something far more than she ever was. From a reconstructed New York, to an alien spaceship, to the center of all things, the Doctor and Gabby must convince a powerful being not to fulfill its one desire.
The final pages are a Cover Gallery of the included issues, and a Reader’s Guide to the Titan Comic Doctor Who series of comic. Writers for this collection are Nick Abadzis and Robbie Morrison. They do an excellent job of getting across the Tenth Doctor as portrayed by David Tennant, especially his run-on sentences and commentary tangents. These stories have the flavor of the TV episodes where the Doctor always has a plan and a purpose, even for seemingly random decisions. Elena Casagrande, Daniel Indro, Elenora Carlini, Rachael Stott, and Leonardo Romero are the artists, with Arianna Florean, Slamet Mujiono, and Hi-Fi as the Colorists. The cover for the collection is by Alice X. Zhang. Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor is a monthly comic from Titan Publishing Group and has had three seasons as of 2017.