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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Four Doctors #4


Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Neil Edwards
Colourist: Ivan Nunes
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 02 September 2015

The Doctors come face to face with the shocking identity of their foes! On Marinus, our heroes were caught in the blast of a continuity bomb, which whisked them through a series of alternate timelines, each worse than the last, and in which they could be trapped forever! Finally, they reached a version in which the Twelfth Doctor, old and near-mad from loneliness, had been betrayed by Clara. It was this timeline to which they committed, in order to escape – to a tiny pocket universe, which has been hidden since the Time War. But it was a trap all along...

The first ten pages of this issue are rather heavy on exposition, but that’s pretty much inevitable at this point in the story, as the villain explains how he got to be where he is today. Fortunately, his monologue is interspersed with some visually interesting flashbacks through Voord history and a walking tour of their impressive city, as well as a moment of drama as the big bad loses his rag with the Tenth Doctor.

At times, Neil Edwards’s artwork looks weaker than before, in this issue and the next, perhaps being a little rushed in places. However, he does treat us to some neat illusions of perspective distortion inside a Voord control room and on a city walkway (and there’s another example involving a row of TARDISes in the next issue).

Paul Cornell’s plot hinges upon the Twelfth Doctor becoming desperately desolate in an alternate version of his own near future. From what we have seen recently in the television series (the Doctor’s mood in The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar), this aspect rings very true.

Further proving that he really knows his Who, the writer addresses the conspicuous absence of the Ninth Doctor, the only post-Time War incarnation not to have become embroiled in this plot. According to the villain, “There was… a problem involving him.” This sounds not unlike the difficulty Borusa had obtaining the Fourth Doctor in The Five Doctors, as a result of Tom Baker being as unwilling to reprise the role at that time as Christopher Eccleston is now – a delightfully meta reference!

Similarly meta is the acknowledgement that Gabriella Gonzalez and Alice Obiefune are not safe from eradication. The bad guy needs the three Doctors and Clara in order to maintain his own established version of events. The continuity of the parent show requires them to survive for similar reasons. The same cannot be said of Gabby and Alice, who exist only in the comics… leading to a real ‘how can they get out of that?’ cliffhanger at the end of this issue.


Richard McGinlay

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