Graphic Novels, January 18, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

Fans of the BBC TV show Doctor Who will delight in the new short stories of each Doctor; adults and older teens interested in behind-the-scenes medical fiction will find this gripping

Week ending January 18, 2019

Dinnick, Richard (text) & others (illus.). Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor; The Many Lives of Doctor Who. Titan Comics. 2018. 64p. ISBN 9781785868726. pap. $7.99. SF
It’s time for the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who and, as usual, it won’t be what’s expected, but it will be exciting. Here, Dinnick ( Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor) takes readers through a brief encounter of each of the previous Time Lords as the new Doctor is transformed. The journey spans a short history of each previous Doctor as all embark on a never-before-told story with their trusty companions. Aliens, Daleks, and even Captain Jack join the pages to make for a fast-paced thrill ride. Each vignette is illustrated in a different style with vivid colors adding to the overall appeal.
VERDICT Fans of the BBC TV show will delight in the new short stories of each Doctor, and while newcomers will be intrigued, they’ll likely need a bit more background to get the full effect. Overall, highly enjoyable for any age group.—Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY

Rosen, R. Flem. Conundrum. 2018. 80p. ISBN 9781772620283. pap. $20. Rated: Mature. LITERARY
Julia Marten is in a bad place. Plagued by the ghost of her troubled mother and unable to diversify her artistic vision beyond macabre variations on the Madonna-and-child theme, she fails art school and soon falls in with a group of Femen-style activists (radical Ukrainian feminists) living in a squat in Brussels. For a moment it looks like she’s found the home she craves, but her addiction and untreated mental illness quickly become a liability to the group and they, too, reject her. Julia’s unraveling mental condition is reflected in the state of her nose: as she loses her grip on reality, she picks it more and more viciously, and by the feverish final pages it is as red and bulbous as a clown’s. Rosen’s use of bold, bright colors is an interesting contrast to the absolute bleakness of the subject matter.
VERDICT Many graphic novels explore mental illness, art, and mother-daughter relations in a more helpful way, including Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? and Ellen Forney’s Marbles. This work contains mature language and images, but more than anything it’s the complete lack of redemption that makes it inappropriate for younger readers—or for anyone struggling to keep a positive outlook.—Ingrid Bohnenkamp, Springfield–Greene Cty. Lib. Dist., MO

redstarWilliams, Ian. The Lady Doctor. Pennsylvania State Univ. (Graphic Medicine, Bk. 13). Feb. 2019. 254p. ISBN 9780271083742. pap. $24.95. Rated: Teen+. F
Sardonic, plain-spoken, and occasionally self-centered, Dr. Lois Pritchard is no Hippocrates. Working as a beleaguered GP at the Welsh Llangandida Health Centre, she faces an endless stream of patients, from unexpected births and drug addicts faking seizures to people with unique genitalia issues. Also, she’s nursing an alcohol problem; her estranged, cancer-stricken mother demands a piece of her liver for a transplant; a beloved friend and confidante has been found dead; and her new romance stalls when a tryst in the restroom goes awry. Indeed, Lois needs healing herself. The richly evocative yet simple pen drawings have single-tone backgrounds and highlights, with colors varying. Following The Bad Doctor, this second in a planned trilogy from Williams, a physician/cartoonist and founder of, focuses on themes of class, gender, and politics in a finely plotted, sometimes hilarious portrait that invites readers to understand the humanity as well as the barriers of their would-be healers. In particular, Williams shows extraordinary skill in depicting characters realistically.
VERDICT Adults and older teens interested in behind-the-scenes medical fiction will find this gripping.—Martha Cornog, Philadelphia


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