In Review: Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #3

The Eighth Doctor's adventures continue to shine the brightest in Titan Comics' offerings.

The covers: A pair of covers to match the dual nature of the Doctor’s peril this month. The A cover is by Rachel Stott and Hi-Fi, with the Doctor and companion Josephine Day being attacked by their evil mirror counterparts. This is a tight close-up of the characters, with Stott able to squeeze in two mirrors, so that the heroes are surrounded, and four fully rendered characters. The emotions on the characters are top notch, with the Doctor looking upset, his counterpart ominous, Josephine frightened, and her counterpart maniacal. Excellent colors from Hi-Fi, with an extremely well done job on the line of electricity/magic that shows the villains emerging from their mirrors. The B cover is another photo creation of Will Brooks, who distorts an image of actor Paul McGann as the Doctor’s opposite, holding his sonic screwdriver while standing before two mirrors. Outstanding cover, with even the top corners of the book partially covered by crimson curtains. Wow! Overall grades: A A and B A+

The story: Once again, writer George Mann has taken a premise and explored several facets of it in only 22 pages. “The Silvering” begins innocently enough, with the Doctor and Josie in Edinburgh in 1866. They’re there to witness a magic show from the Silversmith, with the audience chosen by a lottery. He impresses the gathering with the expected tricks from a magician, but he brings down the house when he produces two Cheval glasses and steps through one, only to emerge from the the other. This is a simple visual concept, but Mann skyrockets this into the stratosphere with an incredibly dark twist. Naturally, the Doctor and reluctant Josie have to return at night to learn how the Silversmith was capable of such a feat, and that’s when the trouble begins. However, before the action kicks in there are several nods to past Who adventures on Page 10 that had me chuckling. Page 13 introduces an army that would fit into the Doctor’s television adventures easily and would be utterly terrifying to witness. The dialogue on 20 puts a good spin on what’s been occurring, with Mann having the reader change his or her opinion on one character. How the Doctor is able to overcome evil is outstanding, and his final line outstanding; it was impossible for me not to hear the closing classic theme music at the conclusion of this issue. Overall grade: A+

The art: Emma Vieceli’s artwork is a perfect match for this time period. The Doctor’s costume is right at home in 1866, and Josie’s dress is stunning, as is all the other characters’ garb. Her version of the Doctor is not an exact match for McGann’s likeness, but it works well enough with her style and captures his charming inquisitiveness; this is shown on Page 3 as the Doctor watches Silversmith’s show. The layout of this page is excellent, with the magician dominating the page and several small ovals showing some of his tricks. The second panel on Page 9 is a nice bit of emotion from Josie as she whispers something to the Doctor, which is followed by a good visual of his concern. 13 introduces a fabulous collection of grotesque, but not graphic, characters/creatures. Bernie Wrightson would applaud what Vieceli has created. The Doctor is often called upon to have a lot of dialogue to explain something to readers and Vieceli does an outstanding job with the design of the fifth panel on Page 17, which is exactly the right amount of imagery needed to alert readers as to who is speaking, yet allowing enough space for the letterers to pack in the text. The multiple shots of action at the bottom of the same page are also good. I really like the design of the character at the top of 20, which sparked a reaction in me before I even read that individual’s dialogue. I’m liking the look of this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Hi-Fi does some really outstanding coloring on this book, doing something I’ve not seen them do before: they color in the margins between the pictures. This makes certain moments in the book more emotional; such as the dark flesh to link up the panels where Silversmith uses his magical abilities, which foreshadows Page 13. 16 uses a black between the panels to show the horrific fate that has befallen one of Josie’s newest friends. The fifth panel of Page 17 that was discussed in the Art category has a nice blending/shift in colors in the panel, allowing the reader to visually drift into the Doctor’s thinking. The best coloring can be found in the second panel on Page 20, which occurs within a darkened corridor, magnifying this setting. Hi-Fi, excellent as always. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The talents of Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt are also on display through scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, and next issue’s tease. The sounds are great, with SCRITCH still making me shudder. Overall grade: A

The final line: The Eighth Doctor’s adventures continue to shine the brightest in Titan Comics’ offerings. The story mirrors an untold tale and the visuals show off the time period excellently. 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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