Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Neil Edwards
Release Date: 12 August 2015
In advance of the annual Doctor Who Comics Day this Saturday, Titan commences their latest crossover event with the release of ‘The Four Doctors’. If like me, you’re a bit of a Queen fan, you may wish to obtain your copy from Forbidden Planet – their exclusive cover features the four Doctors’ heads ala Bohemian Rhapsody! The four in question? Ten, Eleven, Twelve and the War Doctor. Excuse me whilst I squeal myself silly. Whilst Ten, Eleven and the War Doctor are no strangers, it’s the first time that Twelve has been (properly) introduced to the sandbox. Let there be fireworks!
The series kicks off on the planet Marinus, with the War Doctor overseeing the takedown of a Dalek spaceship. He’s joined by the Voord; their residency as yet unknown. Relations seem friendly as they discuss the Time War and the possible implications should the Time Lords be victorious. Cut to Clara and Twelve, with the former mysteriously aware of Marinus. One haircut later, Clara sneaks off to early twentieth century Paris where, despite her good intentions, she proves the catalyst for our ‘multi-doctor event’.
The remainder of the issue plays out as a mass introduction. As expected, the events of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ have been firmly wiped from our doctors’ minds; Ten is as new to Eleven, as they both are to Twelve. Joining the troupe are Ten and Eleven’s comic companions, Gabby and Alice. With so many familiar faces from the TV show already present, this may be a conscious attempt to de-clutter the series of too many strong personas. For my part, the likes of the Ponds and Rose aren’t missed.
At times, the story can become a little garbled, almost as if Cornell lets his excitement get away from him. That being said, it’s been a wise choice by Titan to choose him to oversee this latest venture. As a reader, one can only imagine the difficulty in pinning down the voice of one doctor, never mind four! Cornell succeeds admirably. Eleven is a particular delight; his role looks likely to be comedic pacifier between the suspicious Ten and bossy Twelve. I’m hopeful Cornell delves a little deeper into the relationship between these two incarnations; one could say they’re almost polar opposites in terms of motivation and mind-set. However, it will be interesting to see how he maintains the balance between exploring this tension and ensuring Eleven isn’t completely side-lined.
Less pleasing is the artwork. I can’t say I’m too impressed with the rendering of the characters. Clara, in particular, is almost unrecognisable when sporting her bob. What Neil Edwards does excel at however is capturing the mannerisms and expressions of each character. Twelve’s finger-pointing; Eleven’s thoughtful gaze; Clara’s hair-tuck; it’s all there. Combined with some gorgeous panels of the alien worlds we visit in this particular issue, I think Edwards will prove to be an asset nevertheless.
Issue one, whilst not quite kicking us off with a bang, provides a solid foundation for the series to progress. If Cornell plays it right, this could be a real winner.
Make sure you check out our interview with series writer Paul Cornell to find out more about his plans for the event.
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The writer of this piece was: Claire Stevenson
Claire Tweets from @cookie___raider.