In Review: Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

The covers: Three visions of the original Time Lord for you to seek out! The Regular cover is by Francesco Francavilla, writer and artist of Dark Horse’s newest title The Black Beetle. It’s a nice image, though the Doctor looks much younger than I ever can recall him being. Cover RI A has art by Simon Fraser with colors by Gary Caldwell sporting the Doctor in his typical pose, hands holding his jacket’s lapels, while Ian and Barbara are looking at something, unaware of the classic alien menace behind them. I really liked this cover. The final cover, RI B, is the one to own, though. It’s a photo cover of William Hartnell and it’s a glorious full bleed in black and white. Fantastic! Overall grades: Regular B+, RI A A, and RI B A+

The story: Having just wrapped up the modern Doctor’s crossing over to the Paramount lot for Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2, Scott & David Tipton continue their adventures now on the BBC’s turf with the first issue in this limited series. The first three pages focus on a cloaked individual sitting in a wooden chair looking at all the know images of the Doctor and his companions. This individual comes to the conclusion that “The Doctor is never alone. I’m going to have to change that.” Exit this possible antagonist and enter our heroes in 1868 London to meet a famous friend of the Doctor, and have an encounter with an old foe. This friend of the Doctor’s was a good choice, as the first Doctor seemed have the most historical adventures. The Tiptons do an excellent job finding this new character’s voice, and they even partially redeem the foe that appears. I watched the 1965 story these creatures hailed from last year and it was the most painful Who story I’ve ever sat through. In this issue, thankfully, the budget is not an issue, plus it only would have lasted one episode were it to be filmed. The solution to this menace is fun, and gross, and the final page ignites the threat of the first three pages. An excellent beginning! Overall grade: A

The art: Whimsical perfection comes from Simon Caldwell’s illustrations. He’s got the perfect balance of making the Doctor friendly and silly when needed, so important in each incarnation, but he can make the Doctor most serious and stern when needed. And when the Doctor is frightened of something (Page 22) you know the situation has become dire. Particualr highlights included the bottom of Page 2, all of Page 14 and 15, and Page 19! And I don’t know if the Tiptons’ script dictated it or not, but a visual acknowledgement of a short black and white companion on Page 3 made me smile like a child! Wonderful work. Overall grade: A

The colors: This issue must have presented a series of problems for colorist Gary Caldwell. First, to have the Doctor’s story in black and white, like the episodes, or in modern color? He chose color and it looked just fine! Second, most of the issue is underground or indoors. How to avoid browns and blacks overpowering all the pages? A smart use of greens for dangerous situations or times of anger, red carpets, bright dresses, and sound effects getting bright colors to have them stand apart from the art solved this. Very well done. Overall grade: A

The letters: The final element of this adventure is also done smartly, this time by Tom B. Long. Good sound effects and lots of dialogue done superbly. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fantastic first issue featuring Gallifrey’s first champion of Earth. All that’s missing is opening and closing music. Overall grade: A

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