IDW’s celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th year continues in issue 8 of Prisoners of Time, this issue we are with Paul McGann’s 8th Doctor and his companion Grace Holloway.
It’s a year since the Doctor left Dr. Grace Holloway to return back to her life in San Francisco after she help him defeat the Master (again), Grace who was offered the chance to go with the Doctor but turned him down is now back in her daily routine and seemingly a little board. So it’s no surprise that the Doctor turns up on her door step asking her if she has changed her mind, despite been board with normal life she at first declines then agrees to go on one trip only (heard that one before).
The Doctor and Grace find themselves on an earth like planet whose inhabitants seem welcoming and friendly, and its after introductions are made that one family invite the Doctor and Grace to have a family meal with them. It’s during the meal that the Doctor learns of the inhabitant’s war like history that almost destroyed the plant, and of the benefactors known as The Overseers who saved the planet and its people from extinction. The only thing the Overseers have ever asked for in return for saving the planet and its people, is that they give up a few of their own each year to help the Overseers in their tasks in their city in the sky.
It’s during one of these requests that the Doctor becomes at odds with the Overseers when one young girl who does not want to leave her family is forced to leave, a situation that the Doctor just cannot stand by and accept.
Things develop quickly and the Doctor and Grace find themselves in the sky city via a flying car like vehicle where they find all is not well, there is a reason why people never return (think organ donation without consent) a situation that the Doctor cannot and will not except. Battles ensue along with lots of running (it’s not Doctor Who without running) and good triumphs over evil once again, and all ends well for the planets inhabitants but not for the Doctor.
He is already waiting for the appearance of mysterious man who keeps taking his companions, unfortunately despite been ready the Doctor is powerless to stop grace been taken but not before we get a bit more information on who this mystery man could be.
Now this for me is the weakest of the issues so far as the story of the Doctor coming back for Grace felt a little forced, I would have preferred his companion to be one from the big finish audio's but there may be licensing issues that prevented that.
The story by the Tipton’s is a good Doctor story but I felt no real connection to this Doctor, most likely due to his only ever appearance been in the much maligned TV film of the BBC series. The art work was also a sticking point for me as it had too much of a cartoon look and feel to it, the likeness of Paul's Doctor was also hit and miss (more miss) so much so it did spoil the story in some parts. While the idea of the Overseers was a great one their design unfortunately was not, they looked like the 70’s badly dressed cousins of the Cone Heads, funny but not scary.
It’s disappointing that Paul McGann’s Doctor didn’t get the issue he and we deserved, as the Big Finish audio's have proved there is so much more to the 8th Doctor than we ever saw on screen.