While I was at WonderCon, i realized that I should probably buy a comic book since it was a comic book convention and there was a plethora of vendors in the exhibit hall. Since I had already gone to a Doctor Who screening and was carrying around a sonic screwdriver, I figured I might as well complete the image and buy a Doctor Who graphic novel called Tesseract.
The novel is actually a compilation of six issues of the Doctor Who comic series published by IDW, putting together two stories involving the Tenth Doctor and a villain called the Advocate.
Part I: “Tesseract”
In our first story, the Doctor is traveling with two new companions, Emily Winter and Matthew Finnegan. However, an Acari ship collides with the TARDIS, fusing them together. It soon turns out to be part of a plot by the Advocate, an alien who escaped the Last Great Time War. While the Doctor tries to fix the TARDIS and fight off the Acari, Matthew finds himself alone with the Advocate, who plants seeds of doubt in his mind about the Doctor’s loyalty to him. Emily Winter is able to help fix things, sending the Acari and the Advocate off–just in time for the Doctor to get a call on his superphone from Martha Jones…
This story is a bit odd. Things just sort of happen. The Doctor just happens to get lost in the TARDIS. Matthew just happens to find the Advocate and believe everything she tells him despite being a fairly obvious villain. And Emily just happens to fall into a fifth-dimensional rift and meet a hyper-dimensional alien called the Tef’Aree who’s never mentioned again except for fixing the plot. But I have to give credit for how well the Doctor handles things, being used to odd situations. I’ll also say the Tef’Aree has an interesting design, even though the subplot makes no sense other than to be a deus ex machina.
Part II: “Don’t Step on the Grass”
After answering a call by former Companion Martha Jones, the Doctor goes back to Earth to help her and the rest of UNIT handle a scourge of living trees in Greenwich Park. What follows is the exposure of a plot involving Enochian symbols, John Dee, an ancient order called the Knights Arboretum, and a race of energy beings trapped underground waiting to take over the world. The Advocate arrives once again, usurping the Doctor’s role as an advisor to UNIT (and for some reason, UNIT accepts this without question). And then the Doctor saves the day, although he loses Matthew Finnegan to the Advocate.
While the plot to this story is about as random as the previous story, it has some promising elements. As strange as the Knights Arboretum are, I thought they could have made for a nice aid to the heroes if the story had just been about evil living trees. The Enochian Angels could also have worked on their own as well. But trying to tie all together and throw in the Advocate seemed like too much for one story. And the Advocate didn’t even try to disguise herself like the Master might have. She shows up, says she’s got the same expertise as the Doctor, and UNIT just goes with it. The plot just requires us to accept these premises without much buildup, stretching disbelief even for a Doctor Who story.
Overall, I felt a bit thrown with these stories. The Doctor’s written pretty true to form and Emily Winter seems like a decent female Companion, but the rest is a jumbled mess of ideas and subplots that don’t really go anywhere. I do like some of the nods to continuity with the actual show, since the comic is set after “Journey’s End” and the departure of Donna Noble. It’s got the kernel for a good Who tale, but just isn’t there yet.
Bibliography: “Tesseract.” “Don’t Step on the Grass.” Tesseract (graphic novel). Written by Tony Lee. Illustrated by Al Davison and Matthew Dow Smith. Ed. Denton J. Tipton and Justin Eisinger. IDW Publishing, 2010.