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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Fourth Doctor #3


Writers: Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby
Artist: Brian Williamson
Colourist: Hi-Fi
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99, Cdn $4.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 01 June 2016

Battling a malign influence all the way from Ancient Greece to London in 1887, the Doctor is faced with a petrifying challenge – and physical evidence that he cannot win! He, Professor Odysseus and Athena had successfully infiltrated Lady Emily’s mansion in the hopes of rescuing Sarah Jane, but in the process, the Lamp of Chronos was activated, creating a temporal portal and trapping Sarah and the Professor in the past! Will the Doctor and Athena be able to save the present by stealing the lamp and getting their loved ones back – or is Sarah’s fate now set in stone…?!

Three issues into the five-part Gaze of the Medusa serial, and the plot is proceeding a little less sluggishly than last issue, but with a certain degree of inevitability, since we have already had a sneak preview of the fate that awaits Sarah…

Along the way, Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby’s script has its moments, as the Doctor and the Professor effectively swap companions and find either woman to be as effective as her counterpart: Athena has a (literally) bright idea for tackling the Scryclops, while Sarah very sensibly advises Professor James to ease off the booze under present (or rather past) circumstances. Athena is suitably impressed by a short trip in the TARDIS, though her view of the craft’s interior is kept ‘off screen’, which seems like something of a wasted opportunity.

Meanwhile, I’m coming to rather enjoy playing ‘spot the reference photograph’ with Brian Williamson’s art. Ooh, look, it’s Liz Sladen in Planet of Evil… Sladen in Pyramids of Mars… The Tom Baker shots are more difficult to identify this time.

One thing I thought about mentioning last issue, but didn’t get around to, was the rather random placement of the episode’s title page after the seventh page of the strip, a not particularly dramatic moment in the plot. Well, they’ve done it again here – putting it after page 7, when after page 2 or page 6 would have been much more effective. A metaphor for the destabilised time-stream, perhaps?

The cliffhanger ending hardly comes as a surprise, given what we already knew – not to mention the cover illustration – but at least with that inevitability out of the way, the story might move on in a more surprising direction…


Richard McGinlay

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