Review: Doctor Who #14
Deadman’s Hand, Part 2 of 4: Clara and Calamity Jane have been shot dead by a reanimated Wild Bill Hickok—but how? And does this relate to Thomas Edison’s secret research site in the Black Hills? And why doesn’t Oscar Wilde care if he dies? Only the Doctor knows, and he’s not telling!
The second part of the new Doctor Who adventure from Tony Lee, Dead Man’s Hand, hits this week in the pages of Doctor Who #14. Joining Lee is artist Mike Collins, colorist Charlie Kirchoff, and letterer Shawn Lee. The first issue was great, but is the second entry just as good?
Clara and Calamity Jane were shot and presumed dead at the end of the first issue of the story. Because it’s so early in the adventure, and Clara can’t die (just yet at least), it’s revealed that Clara and Calamity taking the brunt of the shot together lessened its effect enough that they both survived. It turns out the robotic Wild Bill Hickok is being controlled by an unseen threat through some electronic trickery. Our hero starts to piece things together and begins tracking down the source of the signal. With Clara and Calamity out of commission for the time being, The Doctor makes Oscar Wilde become his new companion as they trace down the source of the signal. Back in Deadwood, Clara is helping the Seventh Cavalry assess the situation. When it turns out Wild Bill’s body isn’t the only corpse to be brought into service by the mysterious alien threat, things start to look a lot grimmer. When The Doctor and Oscar Wilde find themselves at the source of the material, they also find themselves in the middle of trouble. Things don’t look good, but who has it worse? Can Deadwood manage without The Doctor? Can The Doctor get out of a sticky situation with nothing but a sonic screwdriver and a brilliant writer?
Lee writes another great issue. The story is more fast-paced since The Doctor is starting to put things together, but there’s still plenty of time for great character moments. The chemistry between The Doctor and Oscar Wilde is fantastic. You’re sort of hoping the two men go off on a few more adventures after this. Lee gives us a good, authentic feeling western setting with plenty of sci-fi goodness to make it feel like great Doctor Who. This story more than many other recent stories feels like it would make a great jump from page to screen. Collins’ art is top notch. He perfectly captures Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman’s likenesses and really presents some stunning visuals of the old west. The detail work is noticeable. The sonic screwdriver only makes a few brief appearances, but it looks incredible. Kirchoff’s colors help elevate Collins’ work. The ‘lighting’ for the dusk scenes in Deadwood look magnificent.
Bottom Line: This is good ol’ Doctor Who at its finest. It’s a good western story, it’s a good sci-fi story, but it’s an even better Who story. Lee always takes readers on a fun ride when he’s at the TARDIS controls. 4/5
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