08th Jun2018

‘Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Andrew Cartmel | Art by Christopher Jones | Published by Titan Comics

Doctor_Who_The_Seventh_Doctor_1_Cover-A

Now I’m willing to bet that among the many incarnations of The Doctor, the Sylvester McCoy Seventh Doctor is not up there as one of your favourites. Personally, I never really took to him. Too goofy for me, achingly intent to show us just how zany he was. For me, he also lacked a good look, looking like something of a mish mash of previous Doctor’s. However, that was then and this is now. Now I’m of the mind that there is no such thing as a bad character, just a bad approach, or an approach that was not quite right. So, if you are sceptical like me, let’s give the book a shot. I can sweeten the pot as well, by pointing out that The Seventh Doctor’s original Script Editor Andrew Cartmel is the man writing the thing. Yum.

To the casual fan, Dr Who continuity can be a tough nettle to grasp. You have the TV show to consider, the comics, the audio adventures, the novels. That being said, you can enjoy this as a self contained adventure, though a brief introduction places it after the Kla-Shi-Kel encounter. We start with The Doctor and Ace up to something in 1967 Australia, before moving forward to Earth orbit in 2029, where a just discovered mysterious alien spacecraft is being explored by an astronaut. Despite being clearly alien, the ship contains a human man who has been there a long time. Turns out that man is Captain Gilmore, who long time fans will know from his time as leader of the Intrusion Countermeasures Group. What’s he doing there in 2029? In an alien spaceship?

Flashback to 1967, and two more members of the ICG ,Professor Rachel Jensen, and Doctor Allison Williams, are investigating a nuclear test site in Australia. It becomes apparent they need The Doctor’s assistance, and Captain Gilmore (of the 1960′s vintage) summons him and companion Ace using their library dead drop. They all head to Australia, where they see the wreckage of a certain alien spacecraft…things are starting to come together. Of course it’s not as straight forward as an investigation of a crash site, the various members all have their own agendas also. this being the height of the Cold War of course. One agenda though is stranger than the others though.

An alien creature has been grafted somehow on to the central nervous system of Pendry, who dies when the creature is killed. How did the creature attach itself, and when? was Pendry the only one? Hmmm. Flash forward to 2029, and Gilmore has been returned to Earth, where he is recovering. For a man seemingly trapped in that ship for five decades he seems in good health. Probably doesn’t want them noticing that alien creature grafted on his back though….Great start to the book, with Cartmel delivering a really well written start to ‘Operation Volcano’. Wisely pushing The Doctor to the background and letting the setup take priority this issue, it sets the scene nicely. The characterisation of Ace especially was excellent. Christopher Jones delivers lovely clean, crisp art as always.

As this is an oversized issue, we get a second tale by Richard Dinnick and Jessica Martin, a continuation from the Psychic Circus story in the past that introduced the alien werewolf Mags. Dinnick uses it to deliver a tale about intolerance and racism, using the werewolves as the ‘undesirables’. At just 8 pages, with more to come, it’s ok, but felt a little rushed and slightly heavy handed. The stylised art was also not entirely to my taste, but your mileage may vary, definitely readable though.

A solid, entertaining start for The Seventh Doctor, a conscious attempt to ease him in by using the framework of a very good story first, then focus on him as a character later. It certainly left me wanting to read Part 2 straight away.

Not bad for a man and a box (albeit a pretty special blue one).

**** 4/5

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