The show may be between seasons at the present time, but Titan Comics is certainly churning out Doctor Who comics like nobody’s business. Now they’re back with the continuing adventures of The Twelfth Doctor, and issue number 4 finds the Doctor and Clara right where we left them, in two drastically different time periods, both dealing with incarnations of the same ancient evil.
Last time, you may remember, the duo was investigating the mysterious death of an old travelling companion of the Doctor, Tiger Maratha, when the Time Lord was inadvertently transported back to India in 1825, leaving Clara and Tiger’s daughter, Prinyanka, in 2315. Oddly enough, they’re both faced with the same Kali-worshipping death cult, just a few centuries apart.
For his part, the Doctor teams up with the renegade Amazon warrior, Rani Jhulka, who we met last time, and we get bit of her tragic backstory, full of forbidden love, loss, and a vicious, bloodlust-driven quest for revenge against the Thugee. As he is wont to do, our time-hopping protagonist counsels against vengeance, saying it won’t bring her back, and it will likely cost Rani all the things her lover loved about her in the first place, that kind of thing. They also stumble across a necrocloud full of the collected souls of the dead, which isn’t something you see every day.
Meanwhile, Clara and Prinyanka follow clues about Tiger’s murder, unraveling an expansive corporate conspiracy with ties to the aforementioned Kali death cult. On her end, Clara gets the worst of this particular adventure, fending off and getting captured by spidery demon creature things. Against her will, she even serves to further the cult’s cause, and let’s just say it winds up with a definite change for her.
There’s a serious Temple of Doom vibe going on here, which is reflected in the art, in both time periods, that gives this issue a cool feel and a bit of a different look from the previous installments. You get swashbuckling adventure, the most recent Doctor’s hard, sardonic humor, and a few legitimately emotional beats, especially when he talks about how the curse of the Time Lords to always see your friends grow old and die while you scarcely change.
Like The Tenth Doctor, this is an arc that has already now taken two issues, with at least one more to come, and they’re taking their time letting the story unfold as it needs and take digressions when it serves a larger purpose. This is something TheEleventh Doctor is now trying to do, but with mixed results. This strategy gives the narrative the time and space to develop and draw you in, allowing secondary characters to grow into individuals you actually care and who have their own stories and personalities.
Overall, issue #4 of The Twelfth Doctor is another intriguing piece of what has become a solid title over the previous few chapters. Given that this Doctor is still very much in play, and Clara is staying by his side on the television, this run feels more immediately related to the series, and thus has a different sense than the other two continuing series (and probably The Ninth Doctor miniseries that’s coming up). That’s certainly not a bad thing, and this is one to add to your reading list if you’re looking for a Doctor Who fix between now and when season 9 drops.