Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Doctor Who: Through Time And Space

This is a collection of six one-shot Tenth Doctor comic stories from IDW, who got the American Who comics licence concurrent with three different British magazines. Anyway, I got it because, hey, six stories by different writers in one book, and I'd only read one when it came out separately and missed a couple others I would have liked.

Two pseudohistoricals and four space-set stories, only one of which features human characters. Which is interesting, in a no-budget-issues way, but not very accurate to the show’s vision of the future at the time.

So was it worth it? Well... kinda...

The Whispering Gallery by Leah Moore and John Reppion, art by Ben Templesmith
The one I had already, and unfortunately one of the good ones. The Doctor and Martha land on a rainy planet where everyone is silently miserable but tries to hide it. No, it isn’t 70s Britain, there’s a monster out there causing the gloom. A good idea for an episode, with a nice aside about a former Companion we never saw before. Templesmith’s art is a bit too cartoony to be poignant - the giant monster is just adorable.

The Time Machination by Tony Lee, art by Paul Grist
The Doctor lands in a bunch of references to adventures in the Victorian era from the TV show. Apparently this is what Tony Lee does most of the time - his ongoing series gave the impression that he’s afraid of using characters and monsters not directly lifted from the show. Dreadful pun too...

Autopia by John Ostrander, art by Kelly Yates
One of the ones I came for. John Ostrander wrote Grimjack and is a master of crashing disparate ideas together and making something fun. Here we have the Doctor and Donna visiting an idyllic world run by machines... who, naturally, are going mad, as are the people who rule it. The conclusion feels more than a little rushed but the basic idea of a society that thinks it’s perfect and will brook no argument could be a lot of fun.

Cold-Blooded War! by Richard Starkings, from a plot by Gary Russell, art by Adrian Salmon
The sexism of the Draconians causes trouble as they act less like Samurai and more like Taliban. Donna disapproves. There are also Ice Warriors. And the old mistaken-for-someone-important wheeze. And an Adipose news reporter! D’awwww! It’s an example of how to push a reference waaaaay too far, like “massive weapons of destruction that could be launched in forty-five seconds” was, getting in the way of a space opera runaround.

Room With A Deja View by Rick Johnston, art by Eric J
A being that lives in reverse, answering questions before they’re asked, and whose backwards existence causes it to behave in baffling ways... unless you've seen that Red Dwarf episode, obviously. A nice dialogue trick that would be a nightmare to play, although something that skips timelines would be doable as long as you keep track of its appearances and actions.

Black Death, White Life by Charlie Kirchoff, art by Tom Mandrake
Plague Doctors are well creepy. Nice art, and good use of a character’s motivations to get them in trouble. Sentient infections and antibodies make for a good initial mystery which gets dropped too quickly, and a war metaphor that ends the book on a sour and off-character note. And another terrible pun.

... Yeah, not a great selection, but what the hey, got it cheap.

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