In Review: Doctor Who Event 2015: Four Doctors #2

A predictable transition story puts a mild damper on the good visuals, but I'll be back for the next installment.

The covers: The A cover is illustrated by Neil Edwards. This cover features Doctor Ten wearing his brown overcoat, bringing his Sonic Screwdriver forward in this right hand as a series of spheres often used to show technology from Gallifrey are behind him in bright reds. There’s also a rip in reality behind him. This does not look like David Tennant and the expression on his face is blank. I can’t imagine this Doctor looking this way while striking this pose. The B is the Subscription cover which features a nice photo of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, holding his Sonic Screwdriver ready, while behind him a pale blue background of Gallifrey circles is interrupted by an orange rupture of energy. I love the photo covers and I love this. The C cover features Gabby Gonzalez before the same background, this time green, but she’s doing something very cool: she’s drawing characters in the air with a pen. It’s a nice tease of what this issue’s first page is and demonstrates a nice bit of her character. This is a really slick Variant by Elena Casagrande and Arianna Florean. It’s also the rarest one to track down, shipping 1:25. Overall grades: A C+, B A, and C A

The story: The opening page is a fantastic sample of Gabby’s journal. It’s cute, funny, and gives a nice insight into who she is. Naturally her prediction of how the Doctor and his incarnations would get along is completely wrong. Paul Cornell has the three Doctors arguing and trying to outdo each other. Complicating things are the arrival of the Reapers at the end of last issue. They only arrive when something has gone wrong with time and having three Doctors meet is reason enough. Trapped in a Paris restaurant, the Time Lords exit with their companions, with Doctor Eleven being especially targeted. Everyone escapes momentarily, with a clever justification on Page 12 for why the creatures are unable to get them. Eventually the Doctors realize they have to figure out why Clara has a photo of the three of them, so they investigate, putting them in new danger. This has all the classic hallmarks of a Doctor Who story: running, a familiar monster, snappy banter, and Doctors finishing each other sentences. In fact, this story seems overly familiar. It’s a new adventure, but so many of the elements of this story have been done before, it didn’t thrill me like I thought a gathering of these Doctors would. This was readable, I enjoy all of these Doctors, but it just did everything you would expect from a Doctor Who story. This installment makes the transition from the shock of seeing each other to them now working together. It needed to be done to further the story, but it didn’t do it in an original way. The final page introduces a possible new series of antagonists, and I welcome them because they can shake up the predictable nature of this series, so far. Overall grade: B-

The art: I would pay big bucks for a story that looked exactly how Gabby’s journal entry is drawn. It’s a very cute, animated style for the Tenth Doctor. Neil Edwards did a superior job on this page and I admit to wondering, before I turned the page, if he would be able to render the Doctors just as well in a more traditional style. He most certainly can, and actually this book is much better drawn than most comics. The second page shows readers that he’s adept at illustrating all the Doctors and their companions. I was really impressed with the close-up of Alice at the bottom of Page 3 — it’s a brilliant illustration that has her looking familiar and emoting brilliantly. There is a terrific amount of detail in Edwards’ work: the men in the bottom panel on Page 4, the oblivious characters at the bottom of 5, the streets of Paris, the interiors of the TARDISes (TARDI?), and a really good creation of motion at the end of 14 and the start of 15. Clara looks really good, such as in her close-up at the bottom of 17, and the Doctors are also well done. The final page has a solid introduction of some new characters whose look would be a budget buster on the television program. I’m enjoying Edwards’ work. Overall grade: A

The colors: Ivan Nunes does some super work on this book, but I’ve never seen Nunes give less than 110% on any job he takes. The first page has a playful bit of coloring to make the illustrations look like something found in a journal. The greens used on Page 2 instantly create tension in the story because they give the book a very alien feel. I loved the coloring of characters’ skin, such as Alice on 3, the Doctor on 15, Clara on 17, and the new characters on 22. Even the coloring on the nameless employees at the bottom of 4 look great. Once within the TARDIS, Nunes does a sensational take on its many famous interiors; his use of oranges and greens within these settings shine. The explosion that occurs at the story’s end also is good. This issue just goes to show that Nunes is a high quality colorist. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue and narration (the same font), yells, sounds, and the tease for next issue are done by the famous pair of Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. They do they another solid job, with words that require stress in italics to make the reader better “hear” the characters’ speech. Overall grade: A

The final line: A predictable transition story puts a mild damper on the good visuals, but I’ll be back for the next installment. Overall grade: B+ 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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