Alice, having recently lost her mother, is grieving and suffering a series of unfortunate bouts of bad luck in her life - the black-and-white artwork for the first few pages as we're shown around Alice's life drives home her depression and despair extremely well, and serves as a neat prologue before the comic explodes into colour with the arrival of the Eleventh Doctor.
It's a clever device that not only symbolises the effect the Doctor has on Alice's life, but provides a firm split between the tragic backstory and the fast-paced romp that follows. The artwork for the rest of the issue is adequate, yet Matt Smith's likeness is never truly captured (as it has been in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips).
Titan's portrayal of Matt Smith's recently departed Doctor is almost spot-on - the trademark wacky humour is present and correct, yet this Doctor's more empathetic side is also accurately portrayed, with a touching few pages showing how the Doctor takes on Alice as his companion. While Alice is established in fairly broad strokes (to be expected, as this issue is essentially a pilot episode for the adventures that will follow), she's a tragic yet likeable companion who steps out of the shadow of the Ponds (considering this issue takes place just after The Big Bang where the Ponds are very much still in the frame) and shows some clear promise for the future.
The story is a little derivative and shallow - a pacey adventure involving an alien dog and a saccharine conclusion that brings to mind the ending of Hide - yet still delivers as a diverting and entertaining launch pad for the hopefully more depthful adventures that will follow. Unlike the Tenth Doctor's multi-part story, this issue is nicely standalone, with only a couple of (intriguing but somewhat baffling) hints for the future of the line - so you won't need to have read this to enjoy issue 2 when it arrives in September.
In conclusion, the first Eleventh Doctor comic is an effective, fun read with some great characterisation and a sense of adventure - the standalone story is a little unoriginal, but it certainly shows promise for the future.
Our review of the Tenth Doctor #1 will be up soon.
This comic gets released on July 23rd and you can pre-order it here!
The Gallifrey Times Rating: 9/10
Thanks to Titan Comics for providing an advance copy for review.