Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 brings Eleven and his companion Alice to the American music scene in an issue that rushes through every plot point we encounter.
DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #3
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Simon Fraser
Colourist: Gary Caldwell
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Andrew James
Humor Strip: Marc Ellerby
Publisher: Titan Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
PRETTY POOR ISSUE
There is an American music myth about selling one’s soul to the devil at the crossroads in order to become the most talented musician in the world and that is the entire thrust of Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 and it’s really not that interesting. Writer Rob Williams begins at the end with the Doctor being possessed by entities from SERVEYOUINC that readers will remember from the previous issue. Alice rescues the Doctor in a giant monster truck (still yellow), with Bessie scrawled across the side and that is about the most compelling detail of the entire issue.
Back in our present – and the Doctor’s past – Alice is cleaning out the remains of her mother’s flat and the Doctor offers to take his new companion to see her mother’s favourite pop star play his very first gig ever. His name is John Jones and he is, in every way, a David Bowie analogue. At the gig in 1962 John Jones is the very definition of a disappointment, the Doctor and Alice leave to take off in the TARDIS on another adventure. All of these events happen in less than ten pages of Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 and Williams pens them with such fleeting detail or care that it is difficult, as a reader, to invest in any of it.
The best thing Williams does in Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 is have Eleven bring Alice by a supped-up version of Bessie. At this point covered up by a tarp, readers already know how Bessie is going to change, but it is a nice detail calling back to the Third Doctor.
Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 hits its first real complication when John Jones follows the Doctor and Alice on board the TARDIS because he doesn’t like the way they are insulting his performance in a move that feels so childish and so forced that I wanted to stop reading. The trio arrive in 1931 Mississippi to find this reality’s man who sold his soul for music, Jones presence is reveal and Eleven promptly abandons both of his traveling companions in search of the tunes.
The entire barn-cum-concert-hall is populated with SERVEYOUINC (likely the big-bad of this first arch), mindless drones and the Doctor is able to save Robert Johnson (the legendary blues player they were here to see), with the clever use of his sonic screwdriver before he himself is. Following that, Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 speeds along through a rescue we’ve already seen in the issue’s opening and a weird use of the TARDIS as an amplifier.
Williams has penned an entirely uninteresting, boring adventure in Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3. Events are not given their proper weight, new characters are introduced and given pathetic personalities and given the opening of the issue there are absolutely no stakes. The best part of the entire issue is the one page comic strip at the back by Marc Ellerby that feature Eleven and Amy in search of his missing sonic screwdriver.
Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3’s art duty is helmed by Simon Fraser and – much like Rob Williams’ work on the story aspect – his offering here is disappointing. Fraser’s linework is loose to a point that feels lazy. Given the fact that there must be thousands of photographs of the Eleventh Doctor online it’s very disappointing that the Doctor we see on the page in no way resembles his television counterpart.
The backgrounds throughout Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 are largely a single colour with no detail, lacking the vibrancy magical realism fans of the television show have come to accept. It’s just very much lacking, which is disappointing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: JUST SKIP THIS ISSUE
I truly enjoyed the first issue of this new series and am really sad that Doctor Who: the Eleventh Doctor #3 is an utterly underwhelming issue. It reads as if the creative team phoned the story in from the very beginning to the point where it’s a boring read. Skip this issue.