26th Aug2015

‘Doctor Who: Four Doctors #3′ 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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Well, here we are, at the Issue 3 midway point of 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. For the record, the teaming up of different incarnations of The Doctor just never gets old, be it television or comic book. Very few comics make me smile as I read them, but so far the Four Doctors most definitely has.

As there is quite a lot going on, a brief recap may be in order. The Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth incarnations of The Doctor have created a time paradox by all meeting up together, albeit accidentally. Or not all that accidentally as it turns out as it seems they have been manipulated into it by forces unseen. The Reapers then attacked, their job being to destroy time anomaly’s when they appear, before the The Doctor(s) and companions decide to take the fight to Marinus, where they find the Voord are apparently no longer their friends….

Cornell still manages to introduce new wrinkles even three issues in, as while the assorted Doctors and companions scatter while under fire, they find themselves pairing up into odd couples, albeit briefly. The different companions get a look at the ‘other’ Doctors, and aren’t particularly impressed by what they see, while Clara catches up (sort of, in his timeline he hasn’t met her yet) with the Eleventh Doctor. They then discover a Continuity Bomb, a relic of the Time War, and while they bicker about what to do, it detonates.

The Continuity Bomb basically rewrites an individual’s timeline, finding a single decision they made and changing it; the Doctors then jump along some timelines, ones familiar to us from the TV show, and we see the consequences of different choices. Writer Paul Cornell makes a nice point about regeneration being a necessary part of being a Time Lord, as it allows them to excuse bad decisions and poor choices as someone else’s actions. In part, the antagonism between the incarnations is to distance themselves from any of their ‘other’ selves actions. They manage to stabilise a timeline where they find a version of the Twelfth Doctor, bearded and unkempt, who seems to have gone a little mad after his Clara betrayed him…he takes the Doctors and companions to a pocket universe where, it seems, he has a larger role in all this than anyone thought.

After last week’s fun, but slightly insubstantial issue, this week’s one is back to the strong showing of issue 1. Fast paced, plenty of action, lots of nods to established television continuity, perfect capturing of the voice of each Doctor, and a nice cliffhanger to end on. Classic Who. Paul Cornell is clearly having huge fun writing this stuff, and I also now realise, after reading this issue, why this series is called ‘Four Doctors’ when so far we have only had three. Only real quibble I could make is that everything fell into place in the last few pages just a tad too easily considering the build up, but it is a minor point and it did suit the fast pacing of the plot that has come before.

The art, by Neil Edwards, remains top notch. Great likenesses and body language, some very nice individual large panels, and the ability to move the script along visually seemingly effortlessly. The glossy colours also help accentuate the clean lines of Edwards art, and the level of detail he puts in.

A fine return to form then. The story is starting to come together as we now seemingly know who is behind the shenanigans, and things should only get even better from here on in. Definitely pick this one up.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: The Four Doctors #3 is out now from Titan Comics.

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