REVIEW: Doctor Who – Prisoner Of Time #3 (of 12)

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Or – “It’s Time To Reverse The Polarity Of The Neutron Flow!”

The Third Doctor steps into the spotlight, but will he fall to the mysterious force, like his younger selves?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

DoctorWhoPrisonerOftimeCoverDOCTOR WHO – PRISONER OF TIME #3
Writer: Scott & David Tipton
Artist: Mike Collins
Colorist: Charlie Kirchof
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Doctor Who – Prisoner Of Time:  The First Doctor and his companions confronted the Zarbi on the Web Planet, and after a strange adventure, The Doctor found himself alone and isolated.  The Second Doctor and his companions confronted slavers on a mysterious outer space settlement, and after a strange adventure, The Doctor found himself alone and isolated.  Now, The Third Doctor steps up to the plate…  Will Venusian Aikido and inverted polarities save him from the fate of his younger selves?

AND WE’RE OFF!

The first issue of this series had a decent hook, if an odd choice of story for the First Doctor, and they managed to capture his voice.  Less successful, though, was the second issue, as the Second Doctor, Zoe and Jamie ended up sounding pretty much like the Eleventh, Amy and Rory.  As we open this issue, The Third Doctor (in his impressive Inverness cloak) and Sarah Jane Smith answer a mysterious summons at UNIT headquarters, only to discover that their summoner was none other than previous companion, Jo Grant!  Now, I know that it’s hard to try to put all of the Doctor Who chronology in order, and that there are tons of stories that contradict one another, but I was bugged by this issue’s meeting of Sarah Jane and Jo, given that they had a different first meeting in an episode of ‘The Sarah Jane Chronicles’ a couple of seasons ago.  Blah blah blah, time differential and such, but it bothers me more and more as the issue goes on.  It seems that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has been acting oddly, and it takes the Doctor’s know-how and whiz-bang inventing skills to counteract it.  The Doctor seems to be himself here, but Sarah Jane and Jo both are maddeningly bland (and waaaay off-model) throughout the book.  The Brig’s strange behavior is discovered to be a parasite, and our heroes set off to stop yet another alien invasion!

NO UNIT DATING CONTROVERSY HERE…

Another issue occurs in the dating of this issue, specifically it CLEARLY being identified as occurring in the year 1974.  Old-school Doctor Who fans will note that the UNIT-era stories were variously described as taking place in the future (i.e., the 1980s, or the future of the time period) and Sarah Jane explicitly stated in one of her adventures that she comes from the year 1980.  This story uses 70s fashion and sign-posts (including a late-term Richard Nixon and a CIA agent straight out of ‘Anchorman’) as it winds it’s way through a story of alien subversion and the revelation that the real enemy is MAN!  (Or, at least, American Man, as Nixon threatens to annihilate Great Britain with nuclear weapons to save the world from an invasion by the Remoraxians.  The unimaginative name of the aliens, also known as “Space Remoras” is the final straw for me, as it is straight-forward and on-the-nose, just like the issue itself, plodding along to the conclusion that is inevitable from the first pages.  There are a couple of continuity touches (both of the Third Doctor’s cars appear in these pages, and his cloak is similar enough to the one in ‘The Five Doctors’ to be a shout-out in my eyes) that work really well, but all in all, this story could have starred Steed & Mrs. Peel, Solo & Kuriaken, or even Gumby and Pokey and pretty much been the same tale.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A DISAPPOINTINGLY GENERIC ADVENTURE STORY.

We get a glimpse of someone who seems to be our villain at the end of this issue, but as with one and two (and, honestly, as the structure of the series requires), we don’t learn anything much yet.  The Third Doctor and The Brig look like the late Pertwee and Courtney, and they get in some fighty-fighty that moves the blood a little, but it just doesn’t feel like a Third Doctor tale, no matter how much I tried to squint and make it work.  Next issue promises the adventures of the iconic Fourth Doctor, which will really be the make-or-break point for the Tiptons’ anniversary story, and hopefully it’s going to be uphill from there.  Doctor Who – Prisoner Of Time #3 gets the main character mostly right but mires him in a quagmire of 70s imagery and dulled suspense, earning a disappointing 2 out of 5 stars overall.  The real shame is, The Third Doctor was one of the more dynamic and action-oriented Doctors, making this story’s dullness a double-fault…

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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