06 October 2015

Review: Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Volume 1 by Scott & David Tipton et al.

Comic PDF eBook, 98 pages
Published 2013 (contents: 2013)
Acquired May 2014
Read December 2014
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Volume 1

Written by Scott & David Tipton
Art by Simon Fraser, Lee Sullivan, Mike Collins, and Gary Erskine
Colors by Gary Caldwell, Phil Elliott, and Charlie Kirchoff
Letters by Tom B. Long

One of the things to like about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was how well the timing worked out. There were twelve months and eleven Doctors, which meant a number of different media celebrated by giving each Doctor in turn across the months: audios, prose, and, indeed, comics. Only it's coming from Scott & David Tipton, and though their Star Trek comics can be good, one might suspect that after Assimilation² they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near Doctor Who ever again.

Prisoners of Time isn't quite that bad, but it's not altogether good, either. Volume 1 collects stories featuring the first through fourth Doctors, which sometimes get the feel of the eras, and sometimes do not. The first Doctor one, though, has the laughably basic mistake of the Doctor being able to steer the TARDIS correctly while traveling with Ian and Barbara. (Also, Barbara and Vicki are stared at when they attend a lecture by Thomas Henry Huxley, because women are supposedly an unusual sight in a science class... but that just would not have been true in 1868, I think. Women would be outnumbered, but they wouldn't be absent-- science hadn't been professionalized yet!) The second Doctor one is a pretty solid pastiche of its era, and I liked that the third Doctor one united Sarah Jane Smith and Liz Shaw, though it didn't really do anything with that combination behind have them run around behind the Doctor. The fourth Doctor one has him fighting the Judoon, but isn't as fun as one might hope from that.

As is often the case with IDW's Doctor Who comics, the art is inconsistent. There are no individual art credits in my collected edition, but I'm going to assume that the well-drawn second and third Doctor chapters were by Lee Sullivan and Mike Collins, stalwarts of Doctor Who Magazine who know how to do Who in comic form-- I don't know why IDW waited so long to tap them! The second Doctor chapter is particularly nice, with the characters looking on-model without being overly referenced, and a lot of varied background aliens livening it up.

The first Doctor story is really let down by some awful likenesses, especially as it introduces the recurring threat through this series: an unknown enemy kidnapping the Doctor's companions. This enemy looks at pictures of the Doctor's companions, and you can barely tell which one is which! Or in some cases, I have no clue at all. Thomas Brewster might even be in there (I think), but surely the Doctor would be grateful if he was kidnapped?

Next Week: Five, Six, Seven, Eight! More Prisoners of Time!

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