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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Eleventh Doctor #4


Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Boo Cook
Colourist: Hi-Fi Color
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 29 October 2014

Alice Obiefune always wanted to see a space station – one of those proper ones, like on the telly, with impressive bulkheads, sweeping corridors and stunning views of eternity. Maybe with an exotic matter wormhole nearby, if it’s not too much trouble. Aliens optional, but a bonus as long as they’re friendly. That’s just one of the reasons why Alice, John Jones and the Doctor have come to a remote space research facility. The views are breathtaking – but so is the formless creature that is creeping through the station, stealing voices and inflicting comas on those scientists unlucky enough to get caught…

In this issue, the Doctor and Alice meet the ruthless August Hart of SERVEYOUinc for the first time (from his point of view), having already encountered an older version of him in #2. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded waiting a little longer for this prophesied meeting, but perhaps the folks at Titan Comics didn’t want to risk their readers forgetting about or losing interest in this timey-wimey plot arc. Commendably, writer Al Ewing builds in a convincing explanation as to why this event has come to pass so soon – with Alice intent upon returning to her own time in order to straighten out her life, the TARDIS needs to ensure that a paradox is prevented…

Alice has an argument with the Doctor early on in this episode, which strikes me as being a little forced. I was briefly reminded of the bickering that used to happen on a regular basis aboard the TARDIS during the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the even newer companion Jones continues to provide comic relief, this time by composing lyrics that sound eerily like those of David Bowie, spending much of the episode trying to find a toilet, and generally getting into scrapes. This is often the lot of the male companion, right from Roy Castle’s Ian Chesterton in the Dr Who and the Daleks movie, through Harry Sullivan, to Mickey Smith and Rory Williams. Alice joins in with the lyrical larks during a canteen scene, suggesting that Jones take his protein pill… though perhaps his loo-based verses later on in the issue go a bit too far! As written by Al Ewing, Jones seems a lot more easy-going this month. He reminds me somewhat of the Eighth Doctor companion Fitz Kreiner, who hails from the same decade.

This issue, artist Boo Cook replaces Simon Fraser. Cook’s line work shows a similar level of detail to Fraser’s, though his Eleventh Doctor sometimes looks eerily like Michael Portillo!

On the plus side, I am pleased to report that this instalment is the first part of a bona fide serial. It ends with an exciting cliffhanger – just like a good Doctor Who episode should. It’s going to be a long wait until #5…


Richard McGinlay

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