Doctor Who #1 (ongoing series)

A comic review article by: Ray Tate, Jason Sacks
Ray Tate:
Jason Sacks:

Ray Tate: Is this thing on?

Jason Sacks: Hey Ray.

Ray Tate: Hi, Jason.

Jason Sacks: I was totally delighted with this Doctor Who comic. I thought it read like an episode of the revived series. I could almost hear the timbre of the actors' voices in Tony Lee's dialogue.

Ray Tate: I agree with you. Lee's characterization and dialogue for the Doctor was spot on. I fully intended to give the book four bullets until he screwed up.

Jason Sacks: Where did you see him screwing up?

Ray Tate: It was a tiny moment, but it's those tiny moments that can be very damaging. Like a pebble in a pond. They create ripples.

Jason Sacks: Hey, was that an episode quote right there?!

Ray Tate: A paraphrasing :)

Jason Sacks: "Father's Day," I believe? A great Rose Tyler episode.

Ray Tate: "Remembrance of the Daleks," actually. Seventh Doctor.

Any-who, in Lee's script, The Doctor states that Donna Noble "Left him." Well, no. She didn't leave him.

Jason Sacks: Ahhh.

Ray Tate: You see that makes it seem that the Doctor is either suffering from dementia or is a petty, small-minded man. Lee was doing so well, too. It's somewhat reminiscent of when DC decided to rewrite Englehart's dialogue for Silver St. Cloud in Detective Comics.

Jason Sacks: Remind our readers why this is so badly off of what happened, if they don't remember.

Ray Tate: "Soitenly." Through a superb confluence of events, Donna Noble ended up having the knowledge of a Time Lord. But a human being cannot function like that. By the way, a Time Lord's brain is biologically different from a human being's brain--"Invisible Enemy."

Jason Sacks: Especially a human like Donna, who was kind of clueless at the beginning of her time as a companion.

Ray Tate: Well, I wouldn't exactly call her clueless, but the point is the Doctor had to take away that knowledge in order for Donna to live--but he had to take it all away. The knowledge of all the adventures they shared. It was a tragic ending for a companion. Donna saves the universe, and The Doctor must wipe out those memories.

What's more, she can no longer regard him as her friend, because that friendship will make her remember the knowledge that was taken from her. The Doctor takes her home. He informs her mother and Wilf, her grandfather, of the great sacrifice she has made, and then he meets her for the first time (from her perspective). She doesn't recognize him. It really got to me, too. The Doctor gives up companionship to save Donna's life. It's so unselfish and so like him.

Jason Sacks: Yeah, it was an awesomely moving conclusion. Really one of the finest goodbyes of any companion.

Ray Tate: I agree. So you see Lee putting that "She's gone now. Left me." in the dialogue is amazingly thick on his part. The Doctor would never say such a thing. So I'm giving the book three bullets.

Jason Sacks: Without that moment, how would you rate it?

Ray Tate: Four bullets. I mean there's a line in there about "rostral anterior cingulate cortex." That's actual science! Compare that with Mr. The Speed of Light Hurts.

Jason Sacks: LOL. I agree with the four-bullet assessment, but I guess I'm somewhat less concerned with the out-of-character moment in the midst of all the other chatter this Doctor spouts.

Ray Tate: Yeah, that was a lot of fun--especially his choosing any Hollywood actor as his alias.

Jason Sacks: So much feels so right . . . . the words tumbling out of the Doctor's mouth in a torrent--anachronisms and blather all mixed in with a clever sarcastic edge. Especially the actor names the Doctor chooses, yeah--Pee Wee Herman was awesome

Ray Tate: You have no idea how much I was hoping that Tony Lee wasn't going to blow it for me.

Jason Sacks: It's got to be almost worse for you because it's obvious that Lee is a big fan.

Ray Tate: It is. I'm like--what! How could you have said that! Yes, I sometimes yell at the books. Usually though those are by Geoff Johns. In addition, I'm just waiting for him to breach that three bullet mark I keep giving him. I know he can do it.

Jason Sacks: I assume you mean Lee?

Ray Tate: Yes. I wasn't keen on his Ten Doctors riff, and I really was hoping for his Victorian London one to do it. Then, I was really enjoying this debut of the ongoing series, and then that line comes along. I could have strangled him .

Jason Sacks: What about the cliffhanger in this issue? You gotta admit that's a really classic cliffhanger.

Ray Tate: I thought it was clever how he got there. Lee's a very good writer. I also liked that Emily was ready to go to war once she realized something important had been taken from her.

Jason Sacks: She's an intriguing character. I like the way she bounced back after the aliens took away part of her self. Seemed like a real classic new series companion moment, if you know what I mean. Indomitable.

Ray Tate: The Doctor certainly thinks so.

Jason Sacks: (Is that the word for it?)

Ray Tate: The Doctor waxes poetic about homo sapiens in "Ark of Space," and he ends it with "Indomitable."

Jason Sacks: Now that's impressive, pulling that out of your head like that.

Ray Tate: What?

Jason Sacks: The discussion of the line from "Ark in Space." Good episode, but I couldn't remember specific lines. I loved Sarah Jane in that episode, though.

Ray Tate: I'm an expert in two things. Doctor Who and Batman. I wish I was an expert at making money and convincing women to sleep with me, but hey, second best right?

Jason Sacks: You can always learn.

Ray Tate: Working on it.

Jason Sacks: Page 17 was wonderful, with Emily swinging the axe and giving orders. I like how taking away Emily's acting skills kind of showed her who she really is, a tough fighting woman.

Ray Tate: Yes, it's as if her desire to be an actor softened her. Once that was taken from her, she became a different incarnation of Emily.

Jason Sacks: That was nice, subtle. Exactly why you're praising Lee.

Ray Tate: Yes, and you know in that time period, it's not so far-fetched.

Jason Sacks: I can imagine her as a suffragette, or the daughter of one, anyway. I was somewhat less fond of the way she was drawn, unfortunately. On the early pages she looks a little two dimensional--like a girl traced from an old picture--rather than having the appearance of existing in three dimensions.

Ray Tate: I think the penciling is very good, but the inks need to be improved. The colors are a little too pale as well.

Jason Sacks: It's certainly not the type of rich coloring we usually see these days. A bit muted.

Ray Tate: Or in the show. I have the same problem with Number One's eyes in Star Trek Crew.

I do wish IDW had kept Paul Grist on as artist. Grist really seems perfectly suited for David Tennant's Doctor, and he might do well with Matt Smith.

Jason Sacks: Grist's Jack Staff is one of my favorite books, though I like his B&W stuff better. I love the way Grist uses blacks.

Ray Tate: In some points, the interior art reminded me of a wannabe Bryan Talbot.

Jason Sacks: Well Talbot's a freaking genius. Good guy to copy.

Ray Tate: I agree with that. Some of the poses reminded me of One Bad Rat.

Jason Sacks: I actually have Talbot's Heart of Empire right here next to me, and I definitely see his influence on Al Davison. It's not swipes but the influence is obvious.

Ray Tate: I wish Davison put more shadows in, though. That was my biggest problem with the art. Shadows and shading creates the illusion of depth, and that's what's missing.

Jason Sacks: Yeah there's kind of a feeling of lack of depth, the characters just don't feel totally substantial. That was my point above about the way Emily looks at the party, as if she's two-dimensional.

Ray Tate: Oh, and somebody needs to tell Davison that Psychic paper is in a wallet. That was driving me crazy.

Jason Sacks: Page four is wonderful. Look at the arrogance and joy that Davison gives him.

Jason Sacks: Oh yeah it's not boasting if it's true.

Ray Tate: Remember the scene from "Dalek." I must confess that although I like David Tennant. My favorite Doctor is Eccleston.

Jason Sacks: I like his intensity.

Ray Tate: He edged out Paul McGann, who was my favorite for a helluva long time--and only after one exposure.

Jason Sacks: I would have never guessed, based on your sig in the forums.

Ray Tate: Heh, heh.

Jason Sacks: I grew up with Davison, so he'll always be my favorite I think.

Ray Tate: I like Davison too. There isn't really a Doctor I dislike.

Jason Sacks: Colin Baker had a rough time of it, but it wasn't his fault.

Ray Tate: No, and if you look at "Mark of the Rani," he was really a good Doctor. "The Two Doctors" is another good one for him.

Jason Sacks: Sounds like we both liked this issue quite a bit, and really enjoyed Tony's writing. His story was full of lots of clever little bits.

Ray Tate: Yeah, I liked it, but I just can't let that line about Donna Noble go. So I'm going with three bullets.

Jason Sacks: I know Tony will read this, so he'll see your comment.

Ray Tate: I'll be interested to know what excuse he gives.

Jason Sacks: I'll give it four bullets. I wasn't bothered as much as you by that moment, and I enjoyed most everything else in the issue.

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