Doctor Who: The Doctor and The Nurse

Doctor Who #3 cover
Doctor Who: The Doctor and The Nurse #1-2
(w) Brandon Seifert
(a) Philip Bond & llias Kryiazis
IDW Publishing
$3.99/32 pages per issue

With the 50th anniversary of the series about to begin on television after the mid-season break (including a new travel companion) and as a mini-series for IDW comics (where it seems that each of the 11 incarnations of the Doctor will get representation as a piece of a larger story story during 2013), this adventure penned by Brandon Seifert holds a lot of fun for fans of the 11th Doctor and his married companions Amy and Rory. And as I am primarily a fan of the television show, I was pleasantly surprised to find this story touching on a much needed angle of the relationship between the three intrepid travelers—namely the lack of communication between Rory (the nurse) and the Doctor.

To give those not initiated with the show a leg up with getting into this story consider the following truncated synopsis: The Doctor is a time lord, a sort of science fiction superhero that in Scooby-Doo fashion travels the galaxy in an all-purpose machine that allows him to go anywhere, anytime solving mysteries and saving everybody. The Doctor is many, many centuries old and naturally gets a bit lonely, so he likes to pick up companions along the way (mostly from earth, cause, ya know, story purposes). These companions always find trouble or help out, depending on the pace of the story. However, with the 11th doctor, the current television show runner and writer Steven Moffatt gave  the series a much more interesting dynamic with the concept of the companion—he eventually came round to the singular companion becoming a couple who marry while also traveling with the Doctor. While the female companion and the Doctor have always had a specific dynamic, throwing someone like Rory into the mix gives us something new to consider—someone who will openly challenge the motives and actions of the Doctor because he loves his wife and who may very well just not like the Doctor deep down, something that I believe the television series has also left open.

Truncated synopsis aside, even with such drama and possible interesting character study present the problem remains that such a deep continuity possibly alienates people who do not watch or read Dr. Who and have no real incentive necessarily to get this two part adventure. Why care? Well I will pitch that  there are two reasons. First, the artwork of comics veteran Philip Bond and llias Kryiazis. Instead of merely copying the features of the real life actors (something that made the Doctor Who/Star Trek TNG mini-series this past year  messy, grotesque, and overall a tremendous disappointment with a few saving graces), Bond/Kryiazis take a cartoonish license (something Dave Gibbons once did rather nicely also for the Doctor Who comics of the late 1970s), allowing for movement, gesture, and facial expressions to emote, although sometimes Amy’s eyes and face careen a bit too much into a more superheroine design you would perhaps find in the books of the Big Two. With that small quibble, I cannot dismiss the joy of seeing a minimalism in the artwork, especially in the designs of the city landscapes of multiple eras. Where one could go crazy in detail when given such a science fiction property, the art instead goes for an aesthetic that does not take away from the story, presented in straight forward panel presentation/transitions and page work (I personally think one scene on the moon in the second part is worth noting).

The second reason to think about giving this story a look/read is that for non-fans it will leave you with so many questions that I believe you would be compelled to investigate the story of these three travelers further. And before I get trolled with cries of the “single-issue one-and-done” purists, yes, those are great, and actually the Doctor can have a slew of those in the way his travels can be structured, but, there is nothing wrong with a story making one curious about continuity, something I will remind you that good stories do, something that the Big Two have struggled to secure more often in serialized adventures. Honestly, that is how I came to the show and the universe of Doctor Who, curiously hooked by a well told story that had continuity Easter eggs all over it. It was the the re-launch of the television show in the early 2000s, and its constant mentioning of how some foes were “old enemies” that led me to follow this show down the rabbit hole—or really the robotic dog hole I suppose, as the first episode I watched featured an appearance by a robotic dog named K-9 during the 10th doctor series that got me started in continuity diving this universe. See, you are already wondering what I am talking about, right? Go on, look it up. I’ll be right here…

The stress of the relationship between the Doctor and Rory that Seifert constructs in this story paces well and is palpable and, all levity aside, remains intriguing. While the reveal that a big bad of the television show causes a bit of havoc, an enemy from series six known as The Silence, prompting a head scratch for those not familiar with the series, I think it is fair to rate it as “rabbit-hole” material—a bit confusing on the surface but gets the hook in just enough to pull non-fans to at least do a Google or Wikipedia search (I would hope). For fans of the show, this is a nice sideline for series six dealing with not only The Silence, but it also reminds the reader of the problem  of fixed points in time that the Doctor, Amy, and Rory must ultimately deal with.

  • The artist certainly liked drawing up skirts of Amy’s skirts!

    • Jeff Hayes

      Wow, did not notice that before, I will have to go back to investigate!