Dueling Review: Doctor Who #6

by

doctorwho6PICON.jpg

The greatest foe of any Robot Overlord is the time traveler known as Doctor Who.  IDW Publishing has seen fit to publish his adventures for some time, and while the humans seem to enjoy his adventures, my fellow robots in arms – namely the Daleks and Cybermen would rather we see the Doctor killed.  And in this latest issue, we may just get to see the execution!

doctorwho6COVER.jpgDoctor Who #6
Writer: Tony Lee
Art: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff

Previously, on Doctor Who: The last of the Time Lords has been captured by the Shadow Proclamation (sort of a cosmic United Nations) and put on trial for his repeated interference with the timestream, most recently on Earth in the 1920′s with an actor who certainly was NOT Charlie Chaplin andpleasedon’tsueusChaplinEstate.  When the prosecutor turns out to be Mister Finch of the evil Krillitane Empire, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion.  The Doc is sentenced to life in prison, and put on a barge with other dissidents.  With the help of his fellow prisoners, though, he manages to pull off a daring escape, and crash-lands the prisoner barge only to end up in the clutches of Mr. Finch yet again…

Stephen: I’ll say this for the Doctor Who series, each issue ends with a cliffhanger and starts off with a boom as the Doctor finds himself on the bad end of a death sentence.  Although as we’ve come to expect with the good Doctor, he usually has a surprise or two up his sleeve, although this time it doesn’t come from the Doctor himself.

Matthew: I’ve been impressed from the beginning how well writer Tony Lee knows his Who, both new and old, utilizing Finch and the Judoon, but also incorporating Ogrons, Sontarans, Draconians and more.  As soon as the Doctor is captured by Finch, Kraden the Draconian informs Finch that the Doctor has been Draconian royalty for centuries (since the Third Doctor’s interaction with the 15th emperor back in 1973 or so) and Brarshak the Ogron saves the day with his intellect.  Really…  Not being as well-versed, does all this historical stuff play for you, sir?

Stephen: For someone who hasn’t seen, read, or watched everything Doctor Who, the biggest stumbling block for this series is figuring out who is who and what is what.  Readers may literally need to have every Doctor Who Wikipedia entry on hand to make heads or tales out of everything.  Still, if not of that matters, and people only focus on a group of aliens wanting to imprison the Doctor, and another group of aliens coming to his defense, the the issue works out okay.  Why don’t you break it down?

Matthew: Since the prisoners were first assembled, it was obvious that there was a conspiracy to keep the Ogrons, Draconians and Sontarans from suing for peace, and the culprit turns out to be Finchy himself, whose evil is narrowly averted by the arrival of Sontaran and Draconian fleets, and the Shadow Proclamation is shown that the Time Lord is innocent.  Of course, the Shadow Architect reveals that this was never really in question, as the whole trial was a set-up to put the Doctor in place to save the day and draw out the traitors in their midst. She sends him on his way with a cryptic warning about keeping his friends close, tying into the prophecies that this doctor is nearing his ending (as seen in Planet of Death, Waters of Mars, and like that).

Stephen: Everyone has a different opinion on art, and while there are some aspects of the art that work for this issue, I really don’t care for this style.  So much of the time the art looks like it is an experiment to see if he can draw the complete figure with an uninterrupted line.  I suppose you liked the art?

Matthew: What’s really impressive is how Matthew Dow Smith does so much with such a simple line, conveying David Tennat’s ever-morphing expressions and even making Mr. Finch look like Anthony Stewart Head.  (As an aside, Anthony’s brother Murray was the man who sang “One Night In Bangkok” back in 198-whatever.)  What’s even neater is how the characters who don’t have actors attached to them look just as fully-fleshed out as those that do.

Stephen: Well they do resemble the human form if that’s what you mean, although over time, I can see how the art will grow on a person.  For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the Doctor Who titles I’ve read, and while I’m not a die hard fan like many in the Major Spoilers forum, I look forward to what happens in the Who-U.  This issue is certainly not a jumping on point for anyone, as they’ll be completely lost.  But for those who’ve been on this series for a while, there are certainly a fair share of interesting plot twists that we’ve come to expect with The Doctor.  I’m not as big a fan of this issue as you are, as I’m only giving this issue 2.5 out of 5 Stars this time.  Am I looking forward to the next series?  You bet!  The ending for this just didn’t play out well for me.

25stars.jpg

Matthew: I’m a fan of what Tony Lee is doing here, as his characterization of the Tenth Doctor is wonderful and very in keeping with the TV series.  As someone whose favorite Doctor Who aren’t all “official” cannonical tales (I loved the Fifth Doctor’s travels with Shayde and Sir Justin, enjoyed ‘Curse of Fatal Death’ and still have a soft spot for ‘Spiral Scratch’ and some of the Eight Doctor novels) I’m happy to see the tradition of decent stories that don’t have to have happened but enrich the backstory of the character if you’ve read them.  Doctor Who #6 is a good wrap-up to #10′s adventures on the Group W bench, an earns a nicely handled 4 out of 5 stars.

4stars.jpg