Review: Doctor Who Special 2013: The Final IDW Issue
In this special one-shot story celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a strange force flings the TARDIS and the Doctor into our own universe! Once here, the Doctor encounters a 10-year-old girl who happens to be a huge fan of the Doctor Who TV show. The Doctor grapples with being a fictional character and monsters lurking at the girl’s school on the way to coming face-to-face with the actor who portrays him, Matt Smith!
The final issue of IDW’s run on Doctor Who hits this Christmas. Over the last several years Doctor Who has a way to make you very sad, yet oddly happy, on Christmas, and this over-sized final issue is no exception. The Doctor Who special is written by Paul Cornell with art by Jimmy Broxton. Shawn Lee joins the duo with lettering. Tony Lee ended the Doctor Who monthly on a high note, but how does Cornell’s special close this chapter of Who?
The Doctor is trying to figure out where to hang his portrait from Andy Warhol. There’s no good place in the TARDIS for the painting, but that problem has to be set aside for now since the Cloister Bell is ringing. That particular bell only sounds when something very bad happens. This time the TARDIS has been sucked into a parallel universe and is unable to find the exit point. That means The Doctor is trapped. When The Doctor exists the TARDIS to find himself in our world. A group has gathered where the Doctor Who TV show is going to film, and it just happens to be where the real Doctor’s TARDIS lands. Mistaken for Matt Smith, The Doctor must come to the realization that in this universe he is a TV show. A very, very successful TV show, but each and every one of his adventures is presented for our entertainment. To accompany The Doctor on this journey that takes him to a weird and wonderful Doctor Who convention is a 10-year old girl who may just be The Doctor’s biggest fan. The girl has a few problems of her own, but can The Doctor help her while trying to figure out how to exit this madcap alternate universe where he is a fictional character?
Cornell writes a fantastic special. It plays up, while still respecting, Doctor Who fandom and everything that goes along with it. There are a lot of in-jokes and gags to make this a fun read. Cornell also packs in a truly touching story with The Doctor’s 10-year old assistant. This isn’t a story where the fate of all existence hangs in the balance, this is a story about The Doctor taking the time to help out a child. This is very much The Beast Below Doctor where you never interfere with a planet or its people, unless a child is crying. This child is suffering in silence though as the issue of bullying is explored. There’s a lot going on, but Cornell juggles it all very well. Broxton’s art is stellar. He has a great style that really translates all the Doctor Who memorabilia and convention scenes very well. This is a Doctor Who story that doesn’t use ‘real’ Doctor Who objects for the most part, and Broxton is able to capture the pop culture-ness of everything from Tom Baker posters to TARDIS teapots well. The Doctor looks like Matt Smith, but there is something ever so slightly off about it. They’re doppelgangers, but there’s a sense of you needing to do a double-take in places.
Bottom Line: This is a self-referential, fun, touching, emotional issue that runs the gambit of Doctor Who. This takes pieces of everything that makes Doctor Who so great and mixes it up into one final story to send things off in a great way. While I absolutely hate to see IDW’s run on Who end, they have given us a pretty impressive body of work over the last six years. I don’t know who will get the license next, but good luck you’ve got some seemingly impossible shoes to fill. Roll on Doctor Who and thanks for everything IDW! 5/5