In Review: Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #2

Titan provides fans with a fantastic story they wanted for this Doctor. More, please!

The covers: Three covers to track down for this second issue involving Doctor number eight. The A cover is by Rachael Stott and Luis Guerrero showing a very gaunt Doctor looking solemn as he gazes skyward at some unknown antagonist. He looks okay, but the work done on this clothing is really incredible. The coloring is very different, with a very faded green comprising the background and the dark colors of the Doctor drawing attention to him. The B is the photo cover by AJ which has Paul McGann looking terrific as the Doctor, holding his sonic screwdriver at the reader. The TARDIS sits upon some cliffs, overlooking some water, while the silhouette of a distant forest is seen through the fog behind it. This is the cover I had to purchase. The C cover has the Doctor trying to shield himself from the crystal shards that are raining down upon him, though he’s not going to find much shelter in his surroundings, as they are all made of crystals. This frontpiece is done by Warren Pleece. There’s not much detail in this, and it looks more like a convention sketch piece. Overall grades: A B, B A+, and C C- 

The story: This is a quintessential Doctor Who story. It has every element working to perfection. This is the first off world adventure for the Doctor with his new companion Josephine Day. Their first stop is Lumin’s World, which is a world within a dead world. In typical Who fashion, they land right in the middle of a war. A beautiful fantasy location is being bombarded by crystal shards and anyone who is struck is turned into crystal. As they run to shelter, Josephine falls and the Doctor, naturally, stops to retrieve her, narrowly avoiding a gigantic falling column. Once in their shelter, Josephine reveals something that starts a countdown clock going. George Mann has written an excellent story, complete with a hidden army, a dying civilization, a misunderstanding, and some incredibly heartfelt dialogue, beginning with a eerie monologue by the Doctor at the top of 5 that had me thinking of his incredibly sad final moments before becoming the War Doctor. The commentary on war rings absolutely true from the Doctor. The character of Junto was an excellent inclusion into the tale, as the leader who realizes the end is sooner than later and is unwilling to make an effort to save his people. The solutions to both problems are very well done, with the Doctor starting the ball rolling, and Josephine making a fantastic contribution. This was outstanding. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: In my review of Issue #1 wasn’t too pleased with Emma Vieceli’s take on this Doctor. He is not similar to Paul McGann. With that established, and known ahead of time, there is much to enjoy in this book. The visuals are better this time because Vieceli is no longer constricted by the reality of earth and can create a fantastic, new world for the Doctor and his companion to visit and she does an excellent job. I like the medieval look of Lumin’s World and Vieceli does an excellent double-paged spread on 2 and 3 introducing the setting and the characters into it. The slow topple of the column on Page 4 is well done, as is Page 5 which is very dramatic. If one were to not read the dialouge, Vieceli shows that she is capable of telling a story in visuals alone; I especially love the bottom three panels on that page. The inhabitants of the world look terrific — they are the perfect balance of fantasy and alien, and they emote fantastically, with Junto being incredible looking even when he leans against a doorway. The technological device, and there had to be one, is a good mix of fantasy and science fiction. Page 18 is the best page of the book with four extreme close ups of Josephine. Vieceli is winning me over, and I realize that her style reminds me of one of my favorite artists — Cynthia Martin, the final artist on Marvel’s original run of Star WarsOverall grade: A-

The colors: This issue also features a fantastic coloring job by Hi-Fi. The palette they bring to this book is perfection for this fantasy world, with hot pinks, pale blues, and warm yellows. Every color screams “life” as the inhabitants are on the precipice of destruction. The shading on the aliens’ fur is excellent, as is the Doctor’s hair, and I am completely taken by the colors within Joesphine’s gorgeous mane. The colors on this book make this world beautiful. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, an important translation, and next issue’s tease are created by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. The sounds are big and bold to match the visuals and the translation moment is appropriate strong. Good work throughout. Overall grade: A

The final line: Titan provides fans with a fantastic story they wanted for this Doctor. More, please! Overall grade: A

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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