I haven’t been talking much about the Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor series. I liked companion Alice, but she quickly got lost in adding a couple more creatures traveling with them and a rather pedestrian storyline about the dangers of consumerism.
However, I had to make note of issue #11 (written by Al Ewing and drawn by Boo Cook) because of companion Jones. He’s a Brit musician they picked up in the 60s. We’re told he’s destined to be a “cosmic rock god”, he has multi-colored eyes, and so far he’s appeared in space-themed face paint and as a slick blond in a suit. He’s David Bowie, in other words, as is made ridiculously clear in this issue. (Bowie was born with the last name Jones, but he couldn’t use it because Davy Jones was already famous in the Monkees.)
The plot here is driven by the fourth member of the gang, a shape-changing alien called ARC. The Doctor hooks it into the TARDIS to try and find the bad-guy plot device, which causes a fragmentation of the team into different timelines. I was tickled that this was represented by using the four colors of traditional printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.
Anyway, in Jones’ segment, he views a future version of himself, as seen here:
The references are cheesy, but as a huge fan of Labyrinth, I loved seeing the Goblin King look, complete with the crystal globes and the way he promises a dream life. He goes on to say, “It’s only forever. Not long at all.” (That’s a lyric from the Bowie soundtrack song “Underground” from the movie.) Playing to shared references is a cheap way to get readers involved in your comic, but since we’re talking about a licensed property in the first place, it shouldn’t surprise me how effectively it works.
I also liked the way, as the timelines slowly were stitched back together, the panel backgrounds changed to the matching colors. The characters from Yellow and Cyan met first, so their panels went green, for example. It’s a nice nod to the essential qualities of the comic format. Also nice is how the companions save the day through their own smarts and determination, reinforcing their own virtues beyond friendship. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)