Writer’s Commentary: Cavan Scott on ‘Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor’ Issue #2
When Doctor Who made its triumphant return to television screens in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston in the role of the ninth Doctor, no-one could have guaranteed that the show would still be a hit ten years later. Yet Doctor Who endures, and with it comes the comic book spin-offs from Titan Comics that explore and expand the stories of the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth Doctors.
Cavan Scott continues his writer’s commentary for the five issue Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor mini series with his notes on issue #2, exclusive to ComicsAlliance. Last month we met some stylish new alien races and left Rose Tyler in calamitous peril (oh, Rose). Grab your copy of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #2 and read along as the story continues!
SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ DOCTOR WHO: THE NINTH DOCTOR #2, THIS COMMENTARY WILL SPOIL YOU!
Page 1: And we start where we left off, with Rose falling through the vortex. If you’ve read my commentary for issue one, you’ll know that originally Rose was to find herself a) helping a wounded German soldier by the name of Dieter and b) stranded back in the age of the dinosaurs. At this point in the story, a Deinonychus pack was to rush forward for the kill, until Rose and Dieter found themselves bathed in a brilliant white light. Of course, a different cliffhanger meant a different solution and so now we head to the TARDIS...
Page 2: With typical attention to detail, artist Blair Shedd has the TARDIS screaming through a blue time tunnel, showing that the Doctor is heading back in time, as established back in the 2005 series.
Page 3: When we changed issue one’s cliffhanger to Rose falling through the Vortex, Doctor Who producer Derek Richie immediately, and quite rightly, pointed out that such a fall would kill her. We’ve seen Jack travelling through the Vortex unprotected and only surviving due to his post-Parting of the Ways immortality, and the TARDIS protecting Clara, but Rose would be dispersed by the Time Winds. Looking at the dialogue, Captain Jack agrees!
Page 4 & 5: But of course, she survives, although is thrown straight into danger again. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Glom! In the original pitch, Glom was to loom over Rose brandishing a weapon in every tentacle. Andrew asked for the weapons to go, as both the Lect and the Unon are very weapon heavy. Besides, as Blair demonstrates here, a floating alien octopus is sinister enough sans guns! Love those freaky eyes!
Page 6: I was really pleased with the response to the dialogue in issue one, especially Christopher Eccleston’s speech patterns, which are unlike any other Doctor’s. The ‘facing facts’ speech is one of my favorite rants in the series.
Page 7: Continuity alert: The Psycho-Telemeter was first seen (or should that be heard?) in The Paradise of Death, a 1993 Doctor Who radio series starring Jon Pertwee, Elizabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney. And talking about audio, the Vienna cluster is a little shout out to Vienna, a science-fiction audio series I produce for Big Finish Productions that stars Chase Masterson and Samantha Béart --- hence Beart-54.
Page 8 & 9: And so the Ninth Doctor finally sets foot on an alien world. We never saw him do it on TV, so it was on the tick-list for this mini-series from day one. And just look at those solar flares. Beautiful work from Blair.
Pages 10 & 11: Hold onto your Time Rotor, there are loads of Doctor Who references to pick up on the next few places. Other than the cameo from the Slitheen, check out Conglomerate (from the Big Finish Doctor Who audios), the De-Mat Gun (from Fourth Doctor TV story, The Invasion of Time), Time Torpedoes (from Fifth Doctor comic story, The Stockbridge Horror), a blowfish alien (from Torchwood), Galatron Trading Company (an off-shoot of the company seen in the Sixth Doctor TV story, Vengeance on Varos), and, of course, Bad Wolf Bargains. If you’ve watched the 2005 season, you’ll realize the significance of that!
Page 12: A couple more Easter Eggs here. The Forge was a nefarious organisation that formed the basis of a series of Doctor Who audio dramas written by yours truly and Mark Wright (who is the inspiration for the Wrightosaur brothers, although Mark doesn’t have wandering hands. Honest). Then there’s the Monstrom Time Destroyer, which first appeared in the Big Finish Iris Wildthyme audios that I co-produced with Mark. It was a lot of fun dotting the panels with all these Easter Eggs, which hopefully don’t distract from the story, but provide a nod and a wink for those in the know. There aren’t as many in the later issues, so I must have got them out of my system!
Page 13: I always thought that Rose Tyler would have been a Spongebob Squarepants fan in her youth. Here’s the proof!
Page 14: Looking back, I wonder about my decision to include the ‘no one’s supposed to do that’ line. Reading it now, it’s trying a little too hard to foreshadow the Ninth Doctor’s regeneration. Still pleased with the little reference to The Doctor Dances, though.
Page 15: According to the script, Glom is an Octopoid, although as a race name that’s a little on the nose and might change to something else if he ever returns. I definitely want to see more of his space ship though, which was described as a cuttlefish-esque craft in the script.
Page 16: As we were taking the Ninth Doctor out to the stars, I couldn’t include Rose’s mum Jackie, so was glad to give her a shout-out on this page. Oh, and see if you can spot a cameo from our artist, Blair too!
Page 17: And here we see the Ninth Doctor’s righteous anger. The scene with him turning over the tables, inspired by the New Testament story of Christ in the temple, was one of the first moments I jotted down in my notebook. It also gave me a chance to have him mention Gallifrey, something that he never did on screen.
Page 18: As soon as I made Glom a space octopus, I knew I wanted to have him smother the Doctor in ink. However, panel two did make Blair pause. As he pointed out, ink is ejected from an octopus’s nether regions, which may have not been in the best possible taste. After a little discussion, Blair suggested that the actual ‘squirting’ happens off-panel. Best left to your imagination
Page 19: A little cameo of the Hoix from Love and Monsters there. The creature with the cybernetic arms in panel one is one of Blair’s creations, based on tiny water-based mini-beasts known as tardigrades, which sounds a bit like, well, you know what. According to scientists, tardigrades are actually the toughest creatures on Earth, capable of surviving the vacuum of space. And that’s before Blair gave them cybernetic arms!
Page 20: I’d first considered the Doctor putting the TARDIS up for sale, but editor Andrew James reminded me that a similar thing had happened in a recent Doctor Who Magazine strip --- and so the Doctor comes up with a more drastic plan, and one which, if everything goes to plan, will have long-reaching effects beyond this mini-series…
Page 21: In the original outline, Rose wasn’t going to be reunited with the Doctor at all in issue two. Saved from the dinosaurs by an unseen force, she was to be interrogated about the Doctor’s place in the universe. The interrogation rears its ugly head next issue, but it’s not Rose who has her mind-probed…
Page 22: And the Lect return to make their muscled presence felt in the cliffhanger. Originally, when issue one was all about German WWI trenches and dinosaurs, this was to be the Lect’s first appearance, demanding that the Doctor hand over the TARDIS. Now, they want something far more important!
Cavan Scott is the writer of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor for Titan Comics. Issue #3 is out July 29.