07th Nov2015

‘Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by Emma Vieceli | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp


The Eighth Doctor is something of a man of mystery in the pantheon of Doctors, being the only one who never had his own spotlight on the TV series. If you weren’t aware, Paul McGann only got to play him in a movie (a BBC/American TV co-production) , a mini-episode leading into The War Doctor special, and a series of audio adventures. His presence has always been kept alive in all the various Who media though, and has over time become something of a fan favourite (both McGann and The Eighth Doctor), albeit a rarely seen one. So one assumes the team of Mann and Vieceli have something of a blank canvas on which to start.

‘The Paintings of Josephine Day’ is very much a setup/ introduction to this incarnation of The Doctor, and to a brand new companion, unsurprisingly called Josephine Day. Josie has been squatting in a cottage owned by The Doctor,  (though he admits it has been several decades since he last visited) and surprises him when he returns. She is a painter, and he notices her paintings are a little unorthodox, with otherworldly themes, though popular enough in the local village to be bought up by quite a few residents. Odd enough, but once the subjects of the paintings start to leave them and actually appear in real life well, the case is afoot.

George Mann knows his way around a Dr Who story so he pressed all the right buttons in one respect, delivering a light, accessible fun story that zipped along nicely, developed a relationship between The Doctor and Josie and introduced us to this new setup. On the other hand, it felt rather too lightweight, like an all-ages book that sits in the middle and doesn’t completely satisfy anyone. The action was passable, the suspense non-existent, a little of the dialogue forced. Yes, first issues can be tough as you need to deliver a satisfying read while putting in play all the plot pieces for future development, but it’s a fine balance that Mann barely gets away with.

The art and colouring added to the all-ages feel as well, being a little too lightweight for the story being told. Added to that I found Vieceli’s layouts on most pages a little cluttered at times, which for me affected the flow of the story. Technically the art was fine, nice figures and environments, and McGann’s likeness was carried well but lacking depth and substance. As this was an Earth-based adventure, it will be interesting to see Vieceli’s depictions of alien worlds next issue, if the art adjusts or changes to suit.

On balance, a decent start but needs to show improvement. Mann did a good job of showcasing the personalities of both the Eighth Doctor and his new companion, but at the expense of a throwaway introductory story. I am hoping to see an improvement next time out.

*** 3/5

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


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