If you're looking for a holiday gift for the Doctor Who fan in your life, consider Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Complete Year One (CYO), just released by Titan Comics. Number 12 is in peak Scottish behavior, and Clara Oswald matches him every step of the way.
This book takes place in season 8, sometime after "The Caretaker," and it runs through the 2014 Christmas Special. Before we go any further, your humble reviewer has to admit a strong preference for the Doctor of seasons 9 and 10, longer hair, hoodie, and all. Season 8 never completely clicked for us until Christmas that year. Having said that, we're so pleased to see Clara Oswald again, we'll keep an open mind about what's to follow.
CYO finds the Doctor as alien as ever. He's still against hugs, and he sees pudding heads in every direction. He and Clara are still finding their connection, and it's clear that she still wishes the bow tie guy would return, but the grumpy man with those eyebrows seems to be growing on her. The overall story arc of this collection involves the aftermath of the Hyperion War. The Hyperions were sentient suns who spread enlightenment across the universe, until they started collapsing towards supernovas, (as suns tend to do.) Their aging caused them to turn mad, and enlightenment became destruction. The Time Lords teamed up with an alliance of other races to destroy the Hyperions before they destroyed all of existence. The alliance achieved their goal...or at least thought they did, until now.
The Doctor and Clara find themselves repeatedly battling Hyperions, and dealing with other ramifications of that war, throughout this graphic novel. Writers Robbie Morrison, George Mann, and Cavan Scott deliver the goods. Each of the stories in CYO has a sharp pace and good chemistry between the Doctor and Clara. Peter Capaldi's sarcastic charm and charisma come through the page, and Jenna Coleman's confidence and excitement about the universe shine as well. (Do we dare dream that the "impossible girl" will say goodbye at Christmas this year?) There's a strong mix of humor, action, and suspense to these adventures. It's the kind of anthology that may have some readers hiding behind the sofa.
The art is also engaging, and the coloring is gorgeous throughout the book. The two combine for an appealing visual presentation that compliments the plots. We particularly enjoyed the visuals of an adventure set in Las Vegas in 1963. The story looks like something out of a comic book from 54 years ago.
We would argue that CYO would have improved season 8 if these stories could have been brought to television. However, since we don't have our own TARDIS to take us back in time and make that suggestion, The Twelfth Doctor Complete Year One will do just fine.
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