Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writers: Scott & David Tipton
Artists: Simon Fraser, Lee Sullivan, Mike Collins, Gary Erskine, Philip Bond, John Ridgway, Kev Hopgood, Roger Langridge, David Messina, Elena Casagrande, Matthew Dow Smith & Kelly Yates
Release Date: 31st December 2013
It is going to be weird for me to review this because if you follow our reviews you will know I already reviewed Prisoners of Time part 3 which was the conclusion to the storyline in the collected trades, Then I reviewed IDW’s final ever Doctor Who comic in Paul Cornell’s 2013 special “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who” – Which I will add was one of my favorite comic books of 2013. Then this year there has been the end of McGann/Hurt/Smith as Doctors, Well my point is I’m about saturated with closure on various threads of the franchise at the moment. But as I said I reviewed part three, so it only makes sense I look at the whole series.
Some background on PoT is that it was IDW’s way of celebrating 2013’s fiftieth anniversary by publishing a year long mini-series/crossover with each focusing on a different Doctor until the plot threads tie together in the final issue.
Where it works best is when it manages to keep the running thread of the prisoners of time going. These titular Prisoners are the Doctors companions who are being kidnapped and plucked out of various points in time and space by a mysterious figure who knows the Doctor and feels he is owed a measure of revenge over him, So he is making it personal. They manage to keep this main plot boiling away reasonably this whilst giving each Doctor a sub-plot to play around with for example 5th tangles it up with Sontarans. Not every chapter is of the same quality of story and artwork, Because not all of them have the same team. But from the standpoint of giving each iteration a distinct vibe it kinda works and does make sense, There is a distinctly British vibe to the artwork which is in no small part due to the choice of artists [plenty of ex Marvel UK/2000AD faces in there] which gives it an authentic air.
Of all of the various chapters the Third (which focuses on John Pertwee’s version of The Doctor) I feel is the strongest, He’s a genius man of action as he always was and the art shows this very well not to mention at times it has a disco/psychedelic vibe especially in regards to the colouring which suits that iteration to a tee.
I wont rehash my old review too much from part 3, But my main bones of contention are still there from those last chapters, The various threads of the mysterious kidnapper are built up only for it to be revealed he isn’t quite as in control of the situation as it appeared… Which seemed rather anticlimactic. There are also one or two discontinuities between each issue not to mention at times in relation to the show and the last chapter does seem like pure fan service.
But I don’t care, It gives you what any TV special never can ironically due to the passage of time. There will never be a merging of show both old and new in such a way as they do here. That’s what is so great and ambitious about it. As I said previously there is also a strong focus on the role of the companion and this is something that is at times [in show] taken as a given, They are ubiquitous to each Doctor, Some have strong back stories but here it is nice to see that there is an bit of exploration of what that role is and an acknowledgement that they are as fundamental to the canon as the Doctor himself.
It’s a dense read and also heavy in Whovian lore so will easily lose those not quite familiar with the culture or history surrounding the show. This is not going to be the Doctor Who comic that will act as a jump on point by any means, But that isn’t its intent this is purely about drawing on those 50 years of stories boiling them down into one.