For Free Comic Book Day this year, Titan teased that the anthology of Doctor Who stories it would offer for the event would include the comics debut of Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. It’s perhaps not quite what you might expect from that descriptor, and yet it’s also the perfect example of what you need to know about the latest Doctor.
From Jody Houser and Rachael Stott—the creative team that will usher in an ongoing series for the new Doctor later this year—the “story” of the Thirteenth Doctor’s comic introduction is a single page, a stinger rather than a full-length tale. It’s not even given a proper title in the issue’s table of contents, instead simply labelled as “And Introducing...”
In hindsight, given that the new Doctor’s televisual adventures are still so far away, it’s understandable that Houser and Stott are keeping their cards close to the chest. All we’ve seen of the new Doctor so far, officially, is a single line—“Aww, brilliant!”—and her promptly being ejected out of the TARDIS mid-air. Why would we learn early inklings about what kind of Doctor she’ll be from a free comic?
But without telling us anything about Whittaker’s take on the role, this single page still tells us everything we actually need to know about lucky number 13:
The Thirteenth Doctor makes her grand debut.
She’s the Doctor. That’s it. Because what could possibly be more Doctor-ish than a lush alien world, the TARDIS materialising into view, and the Doctor stepping out of that blue box, a smile on her face, ready for an adventure? It’s simple, it’s beautiful, and it thoroughly strikes at the heart of who the Doctor is, regardless of the face they’re wearing. Endless wanderlust, onward to the next beautiful vista or the next evil to defeat.
To understand just who the 13th incarnation of everyone’s favourite Time Lord is, we don’t need to learn what mannerisms or catchphrases she’ll have, or if she’ll be an angry Doctor, or a silly Doctor, or an anything Doctor. We need to see that smile on her face, as she races off into time and space for the next story just waiting to unfold. That is who the Doctor really is, deep down, and in a single page, Houser and Stott encapsulate that brilliantly.