Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special #1 Review

by Jay Hill on November 13, 2019

Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Roberta Ingranata
Colors by: Enrica Eren Angiolini
Flats by: Shari Chankhamma
Lettered by: Richard Starkings & Sarah Hendrick
Published by: Titan Comics

This comic comes just in time for Christmas. You may be saying, “Christmas is over a month away!” Well, when you have a TARDIS, Christmas is as soon as you want it to be. This issue sees The Doctor and her companions, or fam as she calls them, visiting a winter wonderland. But things are never what they seem when traveling with the Time Lord and soon our characters find themselves in a bit of a jam.

From the first moments of this story, it is intriguing. It establishes the question that, in a television episode, would happen in the cold open that leads into the iconic opening theme. The Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan realize each of them remembers a visit to a sinister carnival completely differently. The only thing the memories have in common is that they involve the group being put into danger. The rest of the story I won't spoil, but it involves classic Doctor Who sci-fi fun. Jody Houser writes the type of adventures that made me, and many others, fall in love with this property. Like many of the best episodes, it takes something familiar and adds alien elements. Houser has captured the voices of each character perfectly. She writes The Doctor like she is meant to be, a grown-up kid who is always the wisest person in the room. The humor is so crisp and conservative, which can be a hard act to balance with such a whimsical character. Every second of this comic was fun to read, beyond engaging, and full of cool ideas. By the cliffhanger, I couldn’t believe that I had read through it that quickly and was immediately wanting more.

If that wasn’t enough, the already impressive writing is matched with just as impressive art. Roberta Ingranata’s art with Enrica Eren Angiolini’s colors (and flats by Shari Chankhamma) is a perfect match. Not just for the great story, but for each other; they are so in synch. Ingranata’s characters' bodies have great proportions and the way she draws clothing catches the eye. There are some unique paneling and framing. But, without a doubt, her strongest feature is her expressions. It captures every emotion perfectly and it brings out that Doctor Who humor that is usually captured in the performances of actors. The colors are strongest when shading those expressive faces. The way Angiolini knows exactly where to highlight Ingranata’s lines made me think one person was responsible for both the art and colors. And there is a great use of lighting effects brought out in the coloring that steals a lot of scenes and makes the comic feel alive. And the work of Shari Chankhammais should not go unmentioned because the whole of the art team knocked this out of the park. And, after researching it, I saw that the art team and writer are back for year two of the Thirteenth Doctor’s series of comics. I will be waiting to see what other stories they’ll create together.

Any fan of Doctor Who should pick up this comic. It is filled with everything to love about the show, with the benefits afforded to the great medium of comic books. The sci-fi story brings that classic Who mystery with the humor intact too. The art not only captures the likenesses of the characters but is outstanding in all aspects. I couldn’t get enough of this comic and reached the cliffhanger more than ready for the next installment.

Our Score:


A Look Inside