Our yearlong celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary continues! “Now listen to me!” It’s time to fire up Bessie, as the Third Doctor takes the spotlight in this issue of a 12-part epic adventure featuring all 11 incarnations of the Doctor!
IDW’s Doctor Who celebration rolls on this month with the release of Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #3. The third issue means the Third Doctor gets the spotlight this month. The yearlong story is written by Scott and David Tipton. This month Mike Collins joins them as the artist with Charlie Kirchof handling colors. Tom B. Long rounds out the crew with lettering. The Third Doctor’s era was always a bit psychedelic, so is the third time charming or just a bad trip?
The story opens up in UNIT HQ in London in 1974. The Doctor and Sarah Jane have been summoned to help a very odd acting Brigadier by former companion Liz Shaw. The Brig is acting uncharacteristically, ordering odd troop movements and asking for the Tower of London to be flooded. The Doctor is able to step in and get control of the situation. He determines that the Brig is being controlled by a Remoraxian. The tiny little creature is trying to pave the way for Earth to be turned into a water world so they can colonize. The Doctor, the Brig, Liz, Sarah Jane, and a CIA Agent who joins along the way to the Remoraxian headquarters are racing against the clock to stop the alien threat or face nuclear annihilation.
The Tiptons craft a story that feels very 1970s. They capture the voice of The Doctor and the Brigadier perfectly. They even do a good job with Liz Shaw. Pay attention, there’s also the Third Doctor trademark of environmentalism. However, they underuse Sarah Jane completely, much like last month’s issue with Jamie McCrimmon. If Jamie is the longest serving companion, Sarah Jane is arguably the most loved. She’s relegated to about 8 sections of dialogue, with two of them being “Um, Doctor” and “What!?” One feels that Sarah Jane may have been better partnered with the Fourth Doctor. If you asked someone about classic Who, the majority would name Tom Baker and Liz Sladen as 4 and Sarah Jane. In fairness, I’ll reserve most judgment until we see what the Tipton’s bring with next month’s issue. The Tiptons also break the cycle of using a monster from the TV series, but it works for the story. Collins’ art is nothing short of perfect. He captures the 70s vibe and the Pertwee era amazingly well. Any complaints I could level at the story are almost completely forgiven for the art along. Kirchof’s colors are just as great. You feel like you could reach out and feel The Doctor’s crushed velvet suit.
Bottom Line: Prisoners of Time has been a pretty good series so far. Even with my old fan crankiness aside, the Tipton’s have crafted fun standalone adventures with an intriguing overarching story. You have to commend them for making the older Doctors assessable to readers new and old. A good story with perfect art makes for a fun read 4/5