13th Aug2015

‘Doctor Who: Four Doctors #1’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Paul Cornell | Art by Neil Edwards | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp


Hands up if growing up watching Dr Who the episodes you remember the most were the ones where different incarnations of the Doctor teamed up, time paradox be damned. They were always fun and memorable, and often the highlight of the series. Well, Titan Comics are tapping into that with their ‘Dr Who Event 2015’, and teaming up the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelve incarnations of the Doctor (that’s David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi to the laymen among you) in The Four Doctors. That’s only three doctors I hear you cry… the other one is the War Doctor, and he is the reason the others have to team together.

I could tell Titan were really looking to to make this special by bringing in top writer Paul Cornell, a man with a great pedigree in Dr Who writing already (TV, audio adventures, comics, novels) as well as excellent comic book writing behind him. Hiring such a big creative gun was a very important move, as Cornell nails every aspect of Dr Who mythology. While we could expect him to detail the world they all move in, or ‘worlds’ I should say, he also gets the personality and dialogue of each incarnation of The Doctor pitch perfect too. I was especially impressed by Cornell’s skill of having Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor interact so easily with the other two, as it is the first time anywhere on screen or in print the most recent Doctor has met a predecessor, and his use of the companions who were created solely for the comics (Gabby Gonzalez and Alice Obiefune).

The War Doctor himself is not part of the team up per se, but is very important to the unfolding story. He gets a multi page prologue which takes place during the Time War, and feeds into the modern day before Clara ends up in Twenties Paris at a ‘fixed point in time’ meeting the two other companions in a Parisian cafe, and then all three Doctors meeting, with varying degrees of acceptance and civility. Cornell dryly reminds us that the various incarnations of The Doctor don’t tend to like each other very much, and seem to descend to the level of children when called upon to interact. Even the companions get in on the bickering…Very well written scene, and the highlight of this first issue.

The artwork, by Neil Edwards, is superb. Lovely clean lines, well paced layouts, and he captures perfectly the look and feel of the characters. Although quite a bit of dialogue is spoken, Edwards works it so organically into the art it just flows nicely. He occasionally skimps a little on backgrounds, and his Matt Smith Doctor has the weakest likeness. but we’ll forgive him those little things when the rest is so good.

Obviously this being the first issue we have a lot of set-up, and just a hint of the epicness we hope to see, but for a first issue Cornell and Edwards have delivered a mightily impressive book, juggling multiple characters expertly while subtly advancing the plot, and leaving us on that old staple, the cliffhanger/ return of old foes.

Most definitely worthy of your hard earned money.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Four Doctors #1 is out now from Titan Comics


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