07th Sep2015

‘Doctor Who: Four Doctors #4’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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


Issue 4 of 5 of the Dr Who Event, and after the events at the end of last issue we know we are very much into the home straight. The Event for those coming in late, is the (somewhat reluctant) teaming up of the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors and their respective companions, a dash of the War Doctor and The Time War, and the revelation that a future/ alternate timeline Twelfth Doctor is trying to destroy pretty much everyone in partnership with the Voord. Has it been as much fun as it sounds? You bet. Can Cornell keep hitting balls out of the park? Now that is a good question..

So last issue left us on the cliffhanger that a future version of the Twelfth Doctor, in partnership with the Voord, who had been hiding in a pocket universe, was behind everything. If that doesn’t focus the minds of the bickering personalities of The Doctor, then seemingly nothing will. Paul Cornell has impressed immensely by taking plot threads known to all the fans, either through the TV show or the Titan comics, and weaving them into not only a story that in context makes complete sense and contradicts nothing before it, but also one that has its own voice and can function as a stand-alone story.

With a lot to tie up, Cornell spends some of this issue using the characters to explain some of the who, where and why’s, and uses the old classic villain motif of explaining the dastardly plot to the reader through the character. We also see a subtle shift in tone with the three incarnations of The Doctor, as they move from bickering and arguing in an almost childish manner to getting far more serious and focused with the task at hand. After all, what opponent could be more dangerous than themselves?

Cornell investing all that development into the companions has also paid dividends. Using them initially as a way to invest the reader in the story, the fact that Gabby and Alice are now in real danger from the Voord keeps the readers involved and worried about their fate. Although we know nothing will happen to Clara, (although the bitter future Twelfth, who blames her for his fate, would beg to differ) we have no such confidence with the comic book existence-only lives of Gabby and Alice. It’s a given that we all like The Doctor(s), but Cornell has made us care about the companions too, and that can’t be underestimated.

Try as I might, I have nothing I can really add about the consistent, and consistently excellent, artwork by Neil Edwards. As always great layouts, nice use of panels and splashes, good likenesses of all (although he can’t shake that Matt Smith likeness monkey off his back), and a skill in showing the personality of each of The Doctor(s) just through body language. Edwards art complements the Cornell scripts perfectly, which is all you can ask.

On balance, as good an issue as there has been. Some talking, some action, some exposition, more action, all the ingredients we expect from Dr Who. We are getting a master class from both Paul Cornell the professional writer, and Paul Cornell the Dr Who fan of many years standing.

The only bad thing to mention? Only one issue left.

**** 4/5


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