November 23, 1963: A day that changed the world forever. That day saw the broadcast debut of Doctor Who, which was to become the longest-running science-fiction series on television. And now 50 years later, we pay tribute to one of the greatest pop-culture heroes of all time with this special series, which tells an epic adventure featuring all 11 incarnations of the intrepid traveler through time and space known simply as… the Doctor.
IDW’s 12 issue series celebrating Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary kicks off this month in Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1. The series is written by Scott and David Tipton. The Tipton brothers recently finished the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover Assimilation2 and now go full on Doctor Who with Prisoners of Time. Each issue will feature a different artist, and Simon Fraser tackles the First Doctor. Gary Caldwell provides colors with Tom Long taking on lettering. So does this get things going, or should it have been one of the First Doctor’s lost episodes?
The first three pages of the story serves as our introduction to all the Doctors as well as our teaser for the mysterious threat that connects all the issues in the series. A mysterious hooded figure is looking at all of the Doctors and companions doing a bit of evil monologuing. He/she/it looks over the Doctor’s history and devises a plan to isolate the Time Lord. The pages will thrill fans to no end. Flash to The Royal College of Surgeons in 1868 London. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki are dropping in on Thomas Huxley for a visit. Huxley, as all good students of history knows, is better known as Darwin’s Bulldog. The TARDIS crew sit in on one of his lectures before shooting the breeze with the famous biologist. The Doctor and Huxley talk science, but the news of some missing students gets our adventure going. The Doctor, his crew, and some of the teachers take to the unfinished London Underground Railway to investigate. This is when The Doctor comes upon an old enemy he thought he had defeated. The Zarbi are back, and they’re under something’s control yet again.
The Tiptons absolutely nail the First Doctor. We have the slightly softened First Doctor. Throughout his travels, the First Doctor’s crotchety exterior softened up a little but this is still The Doctor with a slight edge right down to pronouncing Ian’s last name different constantly. It’s hard to express how big a Whovian I am, so I went into this looking for problems with the script but found little to nothing to complain about. Fraser does an apt job interpreting the classic characters. They’re not photorealistic impressions, but he does a good job of capturing the essence. He never seems to completely nail down Ian though.
Bottom Line: The Tiptons knock the first entry into the Doctor Who celebration out of the park. This is one that is accessible to newer Who fans while offering up a lot that will please and excite fans of the classics. When dealing with the classic Doctor Who series there’s a lot to live up to. I went in with my magnifying glass and fine tooth comb looking for things to point out, but the Tiptons pleased even this Doctor Who fan 4.5/5
Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell
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