Or – “Time For The Scarf…”

The First, Second and Third Doctors have all been somehow taken, isolated from their companions and their respective points in time.  The Fourth Doctor and Leela take the stage this time ’round, but will anything new be revealed?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

Writer: Scott & David Tipton
Artist: Gary Erskine
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Doctor Who – Prisoner Of Time: His real name is shrouded in mystery (though the current producers of the television show are leaning pretty hard on that particular premise, to be honest) but he is sometimes called Theta Sigma.  More often, he is addressed in a piercing scream as “DOCTOR!”, and by his fourth incarnation, he’s embraced a bohemian mode of dress and a scarf long enough to rappel down the Eiffel Tower.  With all three of his previous selves captured by an unknown force, The Fourth Doctor is in the cross-hairs of destiny (or something.)  What’s the deal here, anyway?  And would you like a jelly baby?


My minor complaints with previous issues, that things felt out of kilter, with a modern sensibility rather than channeling classic Doctor Who, immediately recur from the very first page of this issue.  The Fourth Doctor, Leela and K-9 are hanging about the TARDIS, when the Doc suddenly decides that he’s hungry, and that they’re going to fly off to a barbeque.  The presence of both situates this firmly in Season 15 of classic Doctor Who, circa 1978, but we’re immediately thrust into a tale that feels more like the frenetic pacing of the Ninth Doctor’s adventures.  When the Judoon (creatures from modern Doctor Who) arrive, retroactively made part of the 1978 world, I found myself sighing outright.  The tale involves a stolen jewel, an old friend of the Doctor’s and a lot rushing about, but by the time an obviously innocent man is chosen as a scapegoat for the theft, I realize that we’re probably in for the same thing we got in the previous three issues: A quick story with a bit of overarching plot at the end, which kind of bothers me now that we’re 1/3 of the way through our story.


Adding to my frustration is the art this month, which manages to be both stiff and bloopy at the same time, with an indisctinct lumpiness to the figure work (a shame, when the story involves the athletic and barely-dressed Leela.)  K-9 fares better on the art front, but his dialogue isn’t very K-9-like, and he is used in the easy role of swiss army knife for the plot.  As the second half of the story progresses, things get a little better on the story front, with a twist ending (albeit one that feels more suited to the Eleventh Doctor’s era.)  Tom Baker’s visage is pretty iconic, and hard to draw, so you have to give Erskine credit for making him look as good as he does throughout, even though I recognize some of the photo-reference.  Unfortunately, Four wears his floppy hat throughout the issue, something that NEVER looks right, which pulls even more focus from the good bits of story.  Rather than ending with the Doctor left alone in dramatic fashion again, though, the bad guy appears face-to-face, taunts the Doctor and snatches K-9 and Leela on panel, making me think my take on the previous cliffhangers were wrong:  He’s not stealing Doctors, he’s stealing companions!


All in all, this issue gives me the most mixed feelings of any Prisoner Of Time outing to date.  The Fourth Doctor is visually okay, sort of, but none of the dialogue feels particularly true to the characters in play.  Leela never looks even a little bit like Louise Jamison, and the use of modern “villains” in a context that feels very much like modern Who may be designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, but it feels unfaithful to the old-school stories.  Doctor Who – Prisoner Of Time #4 isn’t a bad issue, but it is often awkward both visually and story-wise, and is just off-putting enough to drop its rating to something below average, earning only 2 out of 5 stars overall.  While the Tiptons clearly love themselves some Doctor Who, and play with the characters and tropes, but having quite polished the edges of their craft this time around.  Fingers crossed that the Fifth Doctor will pull us back up into the realm of awesome next time ’round.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I was also distracted by his inconsistent scarf drawing. It would be absent in one panel, and then suddenly there the next (a real distraction from the outset)

    And it is never drawn the way he actually wore it, where it was double wrapped and drooped about his knees.

    I left feeling plain disappointed by the plot too. It just didn’t have the ‘feel’ of the 4th doctor, whereas at least I got that feel from the prior three issues.

  2. ” He’s not stealing Doctors, he’s stealing companions!”

    You just figured that out? It’s been obvious from the beginning.

    And am I wrong, or is the main baddie wearing a Time Agent Vortex Manipulator

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