On this, the anniversary weekend of Doctor Who, it seems appropriate to look at the climactic chapter of IDW’s 50th anniversary celebration of our favorite Time Lord. Will it compare to the television version? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
A good balance of Doctorosity.
Formulaic in its climax.
DOCTOR WHO – PRISONERS OF TIME #12
Writer: Scott & David Tipton
Artist: Kelly Yates
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Doctor Who – Prisoners Of Time #12: Throughout the various threads of his lives, the Doctor has found great joy in his companions, starting with his granddaughter Susan, working all the way through to Clara Oswald, the ‘Impossible Girl.’ In his ninth incarnation, though, he encountered a young man named Adam, whose greed overcame him, causing the Doctor to dump him unceremoniously back home, leaving him with the memory of all space/time and the knowledge that he screwed up his chance to see it. Spending decades to get his revenge, Adam has teamed up with The Master (another renegade Time Lord) and has captured all of the Doctors companions, offering the Doctor an impossible choice: Choose one, and ONLY one who will live, before Adam murders the rest. How can one Doctor make such a decision?
YOU ALREADY KNOW THERE ISN’T GONNA BE JUST ONE…
The Eleventh Doctor, clapped in irons, faces foes old and new, smiles and asks, “Do you mind if I consult with my associates?” as the familiar TARDIS sound effects kick in. Suddenly, we’re faced with all eleven of the Doctors, all of whom are more than a little bit angry to find their companions stolen. The writers clearly love their Doctors, and each of them gets a moment or two to show off, starting with the Ninth Doctor, who starts a fight with The Master’s army of Autons. While chaos breaks loose, it’s actually Fifth/Sixth Doctor comic companion Frobisher (a shape-shifter who favors the form of a penguin, for some reason) who gets most of the action here, tricking the villains twice, and freeing all the companions from Adam’s holding tanks. There are some lovely moments of character here, dealing with the fact that previous Doctors have had multiple companions, even throwing in the meeting of Amy Pond and Clara, something that the TV series can probably not get away with…
AND THEN, THEY FIGHT!!!
Still, the creators love of the show proves the undoing of the story, as it quickly devolves into a Donnybrook, rushing to give everyone their quick moment in the sun. With the need to make sure that Leela, Grace and everyone else gets their panel of dialogue, this issue feels jumbled and overloaded… The Master turns on his erstwhile partner, forcing Adam to realize the madness of his actions, forcing him to either turn face or be complicit in the destruction of the known universe. It’s a tale as old as time, leading the Ninth Doctor to have to revise his assessment of Adam Mitchell’s companion suitability. While I like the basic premise, the greatest weakness of the plot is that of many fan-fiction-style stories: Playing only with already-existing bits of the Doctor’s mythos, it tries too hard to tie up too many loose ends, using bits of three or four different stories to good use, but feeling like it breaks no new ground to speak of. After their sudden team-up, the Doctors spend the last page of the story entirely silent, and the issue ends on what feels like an abrupt note, with the implication that the Doctors will just take everyone home with no one changed in any way.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THEY PUT A LOT OF EFFORT IN…
Comparatively speaking, this is the least successful of the anniversary stories I’ve experienced recently (counting the Big Finish 45th and 50th anniversary tales, and the televised version yesterday), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent read. Artistically speaking, this is one of the most successful issues of this mini, with everyone looking recognizable as their live-action selves, and some lovely work in the big combat clusterschmozz, and it’s a pleasant enough diversion overall. Doctor Who – Prisoners Of Time #12 ends exactly where I knew it had to go, without any flashy out-of-character moments (The First, Seventh and Second Doctors spend the whole fight sequence devising a plan and avoid combat) but doesn’t really go too far beyond its own basic premise of “The Doctors meet and stop a bad guy”, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.