“Funny, am I? Good. Funny is good!”
Ever since his first episode with the little Amelia Pond, the Eleventh Doctor has entertained us with his wit and soft spot for fish fingers and custard. Much of that first episode, starring the incredible Matt Smith, felt like a fairy tale. Little Pond, alone in her creepy house, wishes someone would come fix the crack in her wall.
Suddenly, Eleven’s damaged TARDIS crash lands in Pond’s backyard. This was the moment that changed Amy Pond’s life forever.
In Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #1, once again, Eleven’s talent for being in the right place at the right time shines through, as he crash lands into the life of depressed Alice, whose life has taken a miserable turn after the death of her mother. Alice’s predicament — motherless, jobless, homeless, completely and utterly alone — is one that only the world’s greatest Doctor can solve! And the Doctor is relentless in his attempts to make young Alice smile and have fun.
This is absolutely why I love Eleven. Amidst all the wibbly wobbly timey wimey business, Eleven constantly reminds us just how fun it is to act like a kid again once in a while.
When Eleven appears in Alice’s living room, he opens the door to his TARDIS and says, “You seemed sad.” That’s the kind of heartfelt moment we’ve come to expect from this Doctor, and it’s no wonder that Alice accepts Eleven’s proposition to have some fun — of course, fun means a big alien rainbow dog that’s terrorizing London. No more about the plot. Spoilers.
Writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams, the writers of the new series, correctly named the Doctor’s new companion Alice, an ordinary woman who has just gone tumbling down the rabbit hole — much like her predecessors. The issue opens like a fairy tale and maintains the structure throughout the story. Ewing and Williams right a funny Doctor and Simon Fraser, the artist, has no trouble with keeping up with the fast-moving Eleven. In his very first panel, Eleven is running across the city streets, and he doesn’t slow down all that much for the rest of the issue.
I’m quite glad that this series seems to be taking the standalone story approach. The first issue has a beginning, middle, and end. No to be continued. It’s just off to the next adventure. But there’s something the Doctor sees from the corner of his eye throughout this issue that might play a role in stories to come.
Maybe this series will take the TV approach: tell a couple of standalone stories and tie them all up at the end of the arc with bang. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the Pandorica all over again (this issue starts a little while after Amy and Rory’s wedding), but it should heart-wrenching. Something about Alice’s predicament before she meets the Doctor tells me that the writing will hit very close to home by the arc’s end.