Saturday, 10 November 2012

Doctor Who #1

I am normally not a fan of comic adaptions of TV shows, however the resent Star Trek / Doctor Who cross over somewhat changed my previously held views against these type of books. So when I heard that a new Doctor Who book was coming out and the artist would be Mark Buckingham my interest was piqued.

The story starts off in Victorian London where a clairvoyant is contacting a woman’s dead farther; unfortunately all is not above board as the woman’s husband looks under the table to see the clairvoyant’s husband making sure that ghostly things happen on queue. As you can imagine the couple aren’t too happy with what they discover and threaten to call the police, however the husband changes his mind when the clairvoyant points out that if they are called she may have to tell his wife of a meeting he had with a young lady by the beach. Clearly the young clairvoyant has some powers, even if she is unable to contact the dearly departed.
Meanwhile the Doctor along with his companions Amy and Rory (before the angels story) are visiting the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, something I suspect the Doctor wants to do as Rory points out they should be going to Majorca. It’s during their walk round the exhibits that the Doctor hears a scream which takes him to a policeman who is frozen in time mid fall, in front of what the Doctor calls a Quantum Resonator. A machine that lets you see other worlds that might have been, so seeing this in Victorian London is like seeing an atom bomb in the Library of Alexandria well that’s the Doctors explanation.

The builders of the Resonator are brought to the exhibition and it turns out to be the clairvoyant and her husband, they explain that she sometimes goes into a trance like state (this happens to my wife on a Saturday night I blame vodka), it was while she was in one of those trances that she drew the plans for the resonator and her husband been good with his hands (behave) built it for her. However they could not get it to work so they sold it to the exhibition, the Doctor confirms that the clairvoyant is telepathic and that she is been used by some unseen force to build the resonator.

As you would expect the Doctor dives head first into the problem and sets off with Amy to find the source of the energy which is now powering the Resonator, leaving Rory the clairvoyant and her husband behind. All does not go as the Doctor expected and you are left with a cliffhanger at the end of the book, something which I think is sadly missing from the modern Doctor Who show.

Was it any good?

Well as an adaptation of a TV show it captures the feel and quirkiness of the show perfectly, and Andy Diggle interpretation of Matt Smiths Doctor is spot on. Mark Buckingham’s art seems to be made for this book, and except for the odd occasion he captures the likeness of the Doctor and his companions perfectly. I particularly liked the page showing the Doctor entering the exhibition as it has a few Easter eggs for long time fans, a Mummy from the Tom Baker era, a statue which looks to have a Sea Devils head, and what looks like a Sontaran helmet in a glass case.

Now here comes the bad news and my moan about the book, unfortunately this comic based on one of the longest running UK TV shows is not widely available in the UK. Which for me is absolute madness when its set to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and at a time when its popularity has never been higher it would surely be a big seller on this side of the Atlantic.
I recently vented my frustration about the difficulty of getting this book on a podcasts Facebook page, and was told by a fellow fan that IDW don’t have the rights to sell Doctor Who books in the UK. The fact that they called the crossover book Star Trek/ Doctor Who, meant that it was effectively a Star Trek book so it could be sold over here it didn’t help my frustration be helped me understand why it was hard to find. I eventually found a copy on EBay but it wasn’t cheap, and unless I can find a more regular source then I will wait for the trade which I am reliably told will be available over here.


  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I had tried the Tennant Who IDW comics from Forbidden Planet in Glasgow. They cost a bomb and aside from Paul Grist's art, I found them unrewarding.

    I plan to review the IDW/Matt Smith annual ( or special, whatever)in a couple of weeks time.

  2. I enjoyed it although at £6 I wont be enjoying another one.
    The main reson I was willing to pay that much for it is that Andy Diggle will at the local comic con next Sat,so I will get it signed and like the geek I am frame it.
    I will keep my eye out for your review of the annual.

  3. Great review ('I blame vodka'). Sounds like I should get this when its collected. The rights business is ridiculous, surely IDW and the BBC could do a deal with whoever has the UK comics rights (Titan?) so that everybody wins?