Published on November 5th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Review
With Doctor Who currently airing on TV. (and proving better than last year) Titan Comics are taking the oppatunity to flood their release schedule with a number of different titles. Not only do we have the 10th, 11th and 12th ongoing, but there was the patchy 4 Doctors crossover early in the year and the more entertaining nostalgia trip that is Cavan Scott’s 9th Doctor mini-series. Into this melee of Whovian indulgence comes the elegant Paul McGann incarnation of the Doctor as visualised by George Mann and Emma Vieceli.
George Mann is not new to Doctor Who, he wrote the first novel based on the War Doctor which was also the first set entirely during the Time War but this is only the start of his list of credentials. One of the first things you will notice about this new 8th Doctor comic is that it feels like the 8th Doctor. It could so easily be a script for one of the many audio dramas that has kept Paul McGann so vibrant in the Who Universe. It has an Englishness to it which comes with a sedate, slow moving story that may seem out of place next to the fast, scene cutting action of the majority of TV shows these days but is perfect for the 8th Doctor. This is the man (sorry, Gallifreyan) who got excited about his shoes fitting while the world was slowly becoming unstable all around him. He’s a nice, straight forward guy who helps others realise their true potential. This is also the essence of this first issue.
The reader is introduced to Josephine Day (I’m not sure if they picked that name purely for the pun in this issues title or not but it’s a solid companion name) who is squatting in the Doctor’s old cottage. She has turned it into her art studio and is more than a little surprised when the owner turns up to collect a book. The Doctor isn’t overly bothered that his home is being used by someone else but his attention is caught by the subject of Josie’s paintings; they all feature strange creatures familiar to any long time Doctor Who fan. And then the paintings start coming to life. How can the Doctor not take an interest?
Josie is a wonderful new character; she is young and creative, self-reliant and intelligent. Not only is she unafraid to question the Doctor but she is able to unravel his enigmatic turn of phrase and figure out how to save the day. If there is any criticism to make it’s the mystery of the ‘Animae Particles’ that have infected her. It seems to be the norm these days that the companions have to have some ‘importance’ from the very beginning and this rarely plays out successfully but that’s a possible complaint for another day.
I wonder if ‘Animae Particles’ might be a nod to Emma Vieceli’s art style? This is the one area of the comic that may turn people off. Vieceli definitely has a Manga approach to her work and her depiction of the Doctor is more ’emotionally expressive’ than ‘realistic depiction’. The art work reflects the style of the narrative; it’s young and nostalgic, quaint but also vibrant, it’s a mix of modern and classic Who. Unfortunatley this will not appeal to everyone. Personally, I love it. It’s different from the other Who comics currently on sale and that’s part of what Doctor Who has always been about: embracing differences. It’s in the very nature of the central character as each Doctor brings a different aesthetic. Vieceli plays with the panel layouts and design so that no two pages look the same and this helps to engage with the story as the reader never quite gets comfortable and attention never drifts.
The Pictures of Josephine Day is a wonderful introduction to a new companion and the perfect platform to launch more 8th Doctor stories. Paul McGann’s incarnation has been wooing fans for years in Audio dramas and this new comic from Titan will no doubt entice comic book Whovians. And so it should because it’s a clever, beautifully illustrated, fun adventure story. It’s Doctor Who through and through.
Title: Doctor Who The Eighth Doctor
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli