If like me you are finding yourself craving more ‘new’ Doctor Who during this year’s wait between series 11 and 12 then there are a few ways to fill the gap, but Titan’s latest Omnibus collection must surely be one of the best. Collecting together issues 5-8 of the Thirteenth Doctor comics this is the second story for the Doctor and her adoptive ‘fam’ in comic form and one that captures the tone and spirit of the television show spectacularly well.
As the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham continue their adventures through time and space it’s soon revealed to the Doctor that her travelling companions are not as ignorant of their own planets history as she may have suspected. Landing in the early 1500s the Doctor is more than taken aback when Yaz correctly identifies that they are in the time of the Guelders wars and both Graham and Ryan seem to know about this period too (This was definitely something not covered on my GCSE History syllabus!). However, this wasn’t due to previous time travel or other nefarious foreknowledge, simply a Podcast they all had listened to, Hidden Human Histories or H3 for short.
Provincial wars become the least of the Doctors problems however when she and her friends track down a nest of Stilean Flesh Eaters, dangerous carrion feeders, drawn to the sites of battles where the feasting will be plentiful. After a far too close encounter the Doctor manages to nullify their immediate threat. Next stop, North Carolina in 1711 and Cary’s Rebellion, which, once again, the TARDIS fam are almost suspiciously well informed about thanks to the H3 Podcast….
But what exactly have a Podcast in the modern day (and that even the Time Agency are listening to), alien carrion eaters and the TARDIS crew got in common? Why are all these coincidences happening and will the Doctor manage to get to the bottom of it?
Hidden Human Histories does a beautiful job of capturing the tone and essence of the current era of Doctor Who, be it through Jody Houser’s spot on characterisations of the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz, through their quirky and genuinely funny and sparkling dialogue, or through the tone and feel of the story which wouldn’t feel out of place either during or just after series 11, a testament to Houser’s skill with plot and capturing their voices. This is all enhanced by some truly spectacular art from Ingranata and Stott. The scenery is spellbinding and detailed and the characterisations, especially of the Doctor, to whom Jodie Whittaker gives a magnificent array of expressions and quirks, is remarkably accurate. All of this is finished off with a rich and vibrant colour palette from Angiolini that makes every detailed frame pop from the page. From start to finish this is clearly a labour of love from all involved and it oozes from every page.
Titan also include textless covers as part of this omnibus all compiled together at the end along with a brief piece from the author about her personal history with Doctor Who. All in all, a very nice Omnibus, dripping with gorgeous art and colours, and with a thoroughly enjoyable story at its core make this a valuable piece to any fans collection.
On a personal note, I’ve never really kept up with the Doctor’s adventures in comic form, not since I stopped buying Doctor Who Magazine in the early ’90s, so this has been a chance for me to come back to them almost as a new reader. It’s been a real treat for me to read this and I think I may well have to start picking up the Doctor Who comics once again. Jeff Goddard