Title: Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Vol 1: Terrorformer
Publisher/Year: Titan Comics, 2016
Artist: Dave Taylor
Writer: Robbie Morrison
Collects: Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1-5
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor, Vol. 1: Terrorformer collects the first five issues and initial story arcs of the comic series starring actor Peter Capaldi. Alongside companion Clara Oswald—played in the show by actress Jenna Coleman—the Doctor first journeys to an ice world recently terraformed into a tropical paradise by a money-obsessed developer, and then pops in to twenty-fourth-century India to investigate the death of a friend.
Storywise, Morrison does as one would hope to expect with a Doctor Who comic: create adventures that would be far beyond the budgetary restraints of the live-action series. And he does that very well. The two-part “Terrorformer” gives us the aforementioned tropical paradise and introduces us to the Hyperion, a race of sentient suns that the Doctor’s race, the Time Lords, had to put down when they became a threat to all life. Walking, talking suns laying waste to planets? Yeah, that’s a little outside the BBC’s special-effects budget. The three-part “Swords of Kali” brings a new menace: the Scindia, a family of demonlike aliens that seeks to revive their goddess, Kali.
Morrison’s one stumbling block is in his depiction of the Twelfth Doctor, whose characterization in “Terrorformer” doesn’t seem to gel with his TV counterpart; based on the comic-book Doctor’s speech pattern alone, one would think this was originally written with Matt Smith’s energetic Eleventh Doctor in mind. I can only assume that, because this comic series had to go into production while Capaldi’s first season was in the works, and no one outside of the BBC had any clue as to Twelve’s personality, Morrison had to devise his own approach to the new leading man and hope for the best. Still, it’s a small distraction in comparison to the engaging storylines, and his Doctor becomes more Capaldi-like by the time “Swords of Kali” reaches its conclusion.
As for the art, Dave Taylor brings a clean, Moebius-like quality to the sci-fi elements of “Terrorformer,” and the appropriate scary shadows to “Kali,” considering its bad guys look like monsters. His depictions of the Doctor and Clara are a little off-model, but by the time we reach “The Swords of Kali,” you can tell he’s become more comfortable in reproducing Capaldi’s and Coleman’s features. Together, he and Morrison make for a strong creative team.