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Doctor Who #4

Posted: Friday, May 9, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Gary Russell
Mirco Pierfederici, Tom Smith (c)
IDW Publishing
The Doctor is being targeted by a group of aliens who want to use his vast knowledge for their gain. This issue one of the aliens' cohorts attempts to use the Doctor to lift himself out from under their thumbs.

Gary Russell continues to ape the rapid pace of the show, and he has no problems matching the performances of David Tennant and Freema Ageyman through their dialogue, their behavior and the intelligence the actors imbue to the characters.

The subplot gives the issue a stand-alone feel even if this is merely a chapter in a much bigger arc, to which we get some genuine clues. Russell banks on Einstein. Thus, the science fiction makes sense, especially given the gravity of the situation.

The art, I'm sorry to say, is the major drawback. Pierfederici makes too conscious an effort to render Tennant's exact likeness. As a result, the Doctor often looks stiff, and sometimes Pierfederici doesn't actually nail Tennant's likeness. His attempts at illustrating Ageyman aren't even close. Nick Roche's cartoony cover version of the Doctor and Martha is in fact a better representation of the actors and the characters. Furthermore, any Doctor Who Magazine reader will recognize a shade of a classic swipe from the comics strip within these pages. Next time don't make the robot's head round and you might get away with it.

1000 Year Old Diary (Warning! Here Be Spoilers)

Doctor Who -- The longest running science fiction television show in the history of the medium. Doctor Who began in November 1963 continued until 1989, returned to television in 1996, went on hiatus then triumphed in 2005 with a newly revamped series that continues.

The Doctor -- Half-human Time Lord; the last of the Time Lords. The Doctor was once a respected Time Lord scientist, until he reclaimed his decommissioned TARDIS and with his granddaughter traveled through time and space to witness history first hand. This broke Time Lord law, and made him a renegade in the eyes of his people. The point is moot now since the Time Lords were all slain in the Time War.

TARDIS -- Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Bigger on the inside than outside, TARDISes were used by Time Lords to travel in time and space. Due to a malfunctioning cloaking device, the Doctor's TARDIS is forever stuck in the shape of a police box, blue telephone kiosks that were popular in England during the 1950s. The Doctor, however, likes it that way.

Martha Jones -- "The Doctor often travels with an entourage. Sometimes they're human. Sometimes they're alien. Sometimes they're tin-dogs." -- Sarah Jane Smith, one of the Doctor's oldest and dearest companions. Martha Jones is the Doctor's current companion. A medical student that will one day become a physician, the extremely bright Martha has fallen in love with the Doctor. The Doctor's hearts, however, still belong to Rose, his first companion after the Time War. Martha is extremely jealous of Rose though they have not actually met. In a rescue from certain doom, Rose ended up trapped in a parallel universe forever out of the Doctor's reach.

The Sonic Screwdriver -- The Doctor's jack of all trades device. It's been around since the '60s.

Appendix

Fast Return -- A switch that allows the TARDIS to home in on its previous location and return to its point of departure. First mentioned in the television episode "Edge of Destruction".

Helmic Regulators -- TARDIS structures frequently mentioned in the series but never explained.

HADS -- Hazardous Automatic Displacement System. An emergency device installed in Type Forty TARDISes that instantly removes them from harm. Given that the plasma shell (the outer appearance of the TARDIS) is extraordinarily tough, these devices are considered redundant. First seen in use for "The Mind Robber".

Rutan -- There appears to be one on Tharlot's screen. The coelenterate-like Rutans are the blood foes of the Sontarans. The Doctor took care of a Rutan in the episode "Horror of Fang Rock". The Doctor first met the belicose Sontarans in "The Two Doctors" although they first appeared on screen in the earlier episode "The Time Warrior". Well, it's a time travel show, isn't it?



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