Over its run, which his now nine issues deep, Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor has been an inconsistent, up and down affair. Every time it appears that it’s headed in the right direction, it takes a step backwards. That said, the last couple of issues have followed a notable upward trajectory, which continues with the latest installment, “Rise and Fall.”
The Doctor’s latest companion, Alice, is still reeling from thinking her mother was back from the dead, a nasty trick played on her by the Talent Scout, part of the nefarious Serve You Inc. that the team have encountered a number of times. In fact, it may be one too many times now, as they’ve finally gone too far. Of all the things we know about the venerable Time Lord, we’re well aware that he doesn’t abide people fucking with his friends or hurting the ones he loves. Now they’re out for a little payback, and to put a stop to Serve You Inc. once and for all.
Alice is grey and numb on the inside, Jones can’t stop writing songs on the fly, and ARC, well, ARC has become tight ball of fear, in a very literal sense. But this is a massive, sprawling corporate entity, and as such, you can’t reason with it, scare it, or attack it like you would a normal enemy. But don’t worry, the Doctor has a strategy to dismantle the machine and he means business. Of course, you know it’s never going to be that easy, and he has to dive head first into what is obviously a trappity trap trap that will put him face to face with the Talent Scout. You might remember that the last time they went at each other, left the Doctor shaken, having seen things he never knew he could see, things he keeps hidden even from himself.
Unlike many of the earlier issues of The Eleventh Doctor, this is a piece of something larger. It’s the continuation of their previous adventure, and a precursor to something more. “Rise and Fall” is part of a larger narrative, and it gives the story the space it needs to develop without rushing the action, and this also provides room for character work and getting the reader emotionally invested in what they see on the page. It may very well be the best work they’ve done thus far on this title.
Over the course of this run, that has been one of the major issues, something that kept this from becoming something more substantial instead of mildly amusing. It simply moved too quick and as a result, you never got fully invested in the story or any of the characters. Hopefully this is indicative of the direction of The Eleventh Doctor is headed, it’s shown glimpses of progression in the past, but hasn’t yet delivered in a consistent manner, though it looks like it may be moving that way.