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Bane of Kings reviews the fun but flawed first volume of the third series of Doctor Who graphic novels, featuring The Eleventh Doctor and his former companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams
“Something that is a great fun to read for Whovians like myself, but is prevented from becoming a must read by a few key issues.” ~The Founding Fields
Writers: Andy Diggle, Brandon Seifert | Art: Mark Buckingham, Phillip Bond | Publisher: IDW Entertainment
The Doctor is back!
New York Times bestselling writer Andy Diggle joins Eisner Award-winning artist Mark Buckingham as a shadow being emerges from a machine used to view alternate realities, stealing time from those he touches in order to become “real.”
Can the Doctor save the Hypothetical Gentleman’s latest victim?
Also, writer Brandon Seifert and artist Philip Bond collaborate on a story. The Doctor and Rory, on a boy’s night out gone wrong, leave Amy to face the Silence on her own!
Doctor Who is probably one of my favourite TV shows at the moment, falling slightly behind Firefly, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones in that order, but beating the likes of Sherlock and Supernatural. However, the first volume of the third series of graphic novels published by IDW Entertainment is my first foray into the comics of the Eleventh Doctor, and I was a bit anxious about what to expect. Having requested the title from NetGalley during a period where there was no Doctor Who on Television and after the finale of Amy and Rory in Angels Take Manhattan, I decided that I’d have to put up with my least favourite companion (Amy) of the New Series (All episodes from 2005 onwards) one more time to read a graphic novel featuring the Doctor.
And, well – I have mixed feelings about it. It’s one of those titles that’s not bad, but it’s not good either. The Hypothetical Gentleman is a very meh title. The plot focuses around Amy and Rory in search of a holiday/vacation spot and even sees the return of Christina from Planet of the Dead, a Tenth Doctor Special, ,but unfortunately before that storyline could come to a resolution my review copy seemed to end rather bluntly without any real conclusion.
The Hypothetical Gentleman is the main story here and for me is the more enjoyable one. I would have liked the backup more if it had a proper conclusion, but this reads pretty much like an episode of the TV series, which is what a Doctor Who graphic novel should do. Each volume should be an individual ‘episode’ with a concluding storyline, in my book – and this graphic novel does that element quite well.
Andy Diggle is a veteran comics writer, having written Green Arrow: Year One for DC Comics and is more recently known for his work on the New 52 Action Comics, where he departed the series after just one issue. He even has a character in the TV show Arrow sharing his surname. But this graphic novel didn’t make me have the urge to go out and read more of Diggle’s works immediately like was the case with authors such as Joe Abercrombie and Iain M. Banks, or even in the comics medium, Scott Snyder and Jason Aaron, despite the fact that Green Arrow: Year One has been under my radar for quite some time.
The art in The Hypothetical Gentleman doesn’t help the presentation either and it is clear that there are different styles in this graphic novel which is very noticeable. I’m not a big fan of the different styles myself and neither stood out as being superb and eye-catching, which also let the graphic novel down – as you know, the difficulty of good graphic novels is that they have to have a strong as well as strong artwork, and unfortunately – this graphic novel has neither.
My first outing of a Doctor Who graphic novel has turned out to be a fairly average experience. The storyline turns out to be a bit random, with lots of stuff crammed in and whilst it may have the pace of a recent Moffat stories such as The Wedding of River Song, the finale of Series 6 of the TV show, it lacks the awesomeness factor that that episode boasted. I wasn’t drawn into this graphic novel like the way I was drawn into the TV show, but it was far from the worst comic that I’ve read (That honour goes to Superboy Volume 1 by Scott Lobdell) and it was actually a fairly fun read throughout, and I probably won’t be sticking around for the next one.