Doctor Who #8A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Called by an old friend, the Doctor and his companions the Ponds find themselves on the planet Bedlam. Yeah, it's named that for a reason. Superior in every way to the previous issue of Doctor Who, this issue starts surreptitiously as a monster-of-the-week story and escalates into directions you never saw coming. The Doctor usually pops up at random. In this story, he's called upon by an old friend, asking for help. Although, it's not as simple as that.
The Doctor learns of science gone awry and discovers a deadly secret. Meanwhile, the Ponds become involved in very clever ways, with Amy doing the heavy exploring and Rory lending his medical expertise. Meanwhile, the Doctor finds another science nutter, and it all ends upon a most surprising cliffhanger.
Now, we're talking. Lee brings his same exactitude to the Doctor's, Amy's and Rory's dialogue that he did previously, but it's all just veneer. Behind the Doctor's seeming unflappability, behind the Psychic Paper is still a fallible mortal man that can become overwhelmed. It's this feeling of danger, of the unexpected that for moments makes you forget you're reading a comic book and instead watching a Doctor Who episode.
Matthew Dow Smith enhances the speed of the story with a fluid narrative featuring the recognizable Matthew Smith, Karen Gillen and Arthur Darvill. He also creates a rather sinister sameness to the auxiliary characters, their costuming and a septic appearance for the backgrounds when the Doctor investigates a laboratory. The shadows and light suggests a less than hospitable hospital, and the subtle expressions of the characters grant the figures the semblance of life.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.