20th Aug2015

‘Doctor Who: Four Doctors #2′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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

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After such a strong start to the Dr Who Event, the ‘event’ being a 5 comic mini-series published weekly and teaming up the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth incarnations of The Doctor, I was curious to see if writer Paul Cornell and artist Neil Edwards could continue hitting home runs. They had set a high standard, in tone, character, and storyline and I was hoping it would continue.

To briefly recap, the current Doctor’s companion Clara had discovered a photograph of the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors meeting, but a meeting that apparently would lead to serious consequences (time paradoxes, fixed points in time etc etc). Despite her best efforts to stop them meeting, all the incarnations of The Doctor and (with Clara) all three companions ended up in 1920′s Paris at the same point in time. Then, as whenever a time paradox is caused they are never too far away, the Reapers appeared….phew.

This issue carries straight on from the final panel of the last issue, and involves bickering and running, running and bickering, rinse and repeat. Not a bad thing as such, as Cornell writes such entertaining dialogue you go with it, and I am sure it was a deliberate nod to the show to have all three Doctors running around trying to sort things out as they go (Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor getting chased through the streets of 1920′s Paris, David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth, plus companions back in the TARDIS). The thing is, that is essentially it. Chase, witty dialogue, chase, come back next week. Although of a very high standard, it still felt a little like filler, a little bit treading water. Half an issue’s worth rather than a full issue.

The story only really advanced in the realisation by The Doctor’s three that their meeting was clearly set up, and that they were pawns in someone else’s game. Then, despite all the petty bickering and arguing, they all agreed on doing the one thing The Doctor of whatever incarnation always does; play the game. Take on their opponent on their opponent’s terms, and try and beat them. Cornell highlights that streak of arrogance well. No matter how serious the challenge, no matter how dangerous the foe, it is always a game, a challenge to be beaten. Cornell’s grasp of the individuality of each personality is still pitch perfect, and he still does a fine job writing the companions, especially Gabriella. Disappointed by the very small amount of air time for the War Doctor back story, but his presence was felt in that the Doctor’s now realise the Time War is a piece of the puzzle.

Neil Edwards again does a fantastic job of illustrating the issue, especially as Cornell gave him plenty to do. Lots of chasing meant lots of locales, so Edwards is drawing the streets of Paris, different TARDIS interiors, alien planets, four Doctors, three companions, Reapers and plenty more. Great likenesses of the actors who play The Doctor (although keep working on that Matt Smith – Eleventh Doctor), and great use of body language to convey personality.

The TV show often gets accused of being little more than The Doctor running around shouting, especially in David Tennant’s day, so I think this is Paul Cornell’s wink to the fans by devoting virtually an entire issue to the three Doctor’s running around shouting. It is still well-written, well-drawn fun of course, but it is a little light on depth and substance, and pales a little in comparison to the fantastic first issue.

Very good, but by now I expect excellent. Roll on week 3.

***½  3.5/5

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

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