Where's The Doctor? (Doctor Who Annual 2018).

Books Happy Christmas! No new Doctor Who on television today, but instead I had the pleasure of reading Paul Lang's Thirteenth Doctor comic strip, Where's The Doctor? in this year's annual, an unusual publication in that its style originates with Doctor Who Adventures, which is no longer in publication. So it's a chance to have a window on what an issue of that might look like featuring the new(ish) Doctor and her friends, especially across the strip, which was always the key aspect of the comics magazine and which surprisingly features a cameo from the Eighth Doctor, which is why I'm here.

An assassin has been hired to murder the Doctor and the first part of the strip has her chasing the Time Lord around London during the coronation not entirely sure why she keeps bumping into these blokes who read as the Doctor on her scanner but are clearly not female. In each instance she finds herself saving him from some beast he and his companions are fighting off which in Eighth's case is a giant robot (no not that one) towering over Marble Arch, just as he's about to be incinerated by some kind of flame thrower. John Ross, whose recognizable style was seen in DWA across the years, has gone for Eighth's TV Movie threads which puts this early in his adventures.

The first half of the annual is a potted history of all the incarnations (including Hurt!), perhaps for kids who're only jumping on board with Jodie's casting and Eighth is featured here too with a single page that offers a rough synopsis of Doctor Who or The Enemy Within or whatever we're calling it these days followed by an explanation of his regeneration.  Orthodox, although his designated quote (they all have them), "Four minutes?  That's ages ..." (etc) from The Night of the Doctor, is incongruously attached to a photo from the 1996 wig and waistcoat photo shoot.  There's also a "spot the difference" puzzle utilizing an image taken just before the Doctor chugs down his regeneration elixir, the existential chatter with Ohila over Cass's corpse, which is bit macabre.

The second half of the annual puts Thirteenth at the centre in the comic strip and the accompanying material has profiles of her companions, some more spot the difference type puzzles and odds and sods about some of the episodes from this season.  There's something a bit poignant about this as though Lang appreciates that there was always a place for a Doctor Who publication for younger readers, especially when the show isn't on air.  Arguably it wasn't a perfect fit for the Twelfth Doctor and it suffered due to the funk that era found itself in, but I bet if the presses roared back to work with a DWA dedicated to the Thirteenth Doctor, it would be loved.

Placement: How about between the Radio Times strips and Vampire Science?

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