Monday, 2 April 2018

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #2 - Titan Comics

DOCTOR WHO: THE FOURTH DOCTOR No. 2, May 2016
Having previously gone on record during an interview with “Downthetubes.net” (in February 2015) that “it still bamboozles me that I’m not writing one of the new Who comics that are out now”, Gordon Rennie’s script for Issue Two of “Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor” perhaps shows just why the Scottish author wasn’t initially considered to pen a “Titan Comics” publication. For whilst there are times when the twenty-two page periodical’s narrative does a fairly competent job of replicating the atmosphere of a “Hammer Film Productions” silver screen feature, the Diamond Comics Award-winner’s plot involving laughably large cyclopean monsters serving a moderately fossilised Victorian widower in her quest to escape the curse of a Gorgon, probably has more in common with Graham Williams’ derisory flop “The Invisible Enemy” than one of producer Philip Hinchcliffe’s highly-regarded Mid-Seventies ‘horror stories’.

Indeed, considering that this second instalment to “Gaze Of The Medusa” is based upon the premise that “the sinister Lady Emily” supposedly needs to “break through the barriers of the Chrono-stream” so as help a snake-headed entity escape her cavernous prison and subsequently heal the partially-petrified woman as a sign of gratitude, arguably appears too absurdly convoluted a narrative even for “the longest running on-screen Doctor of the series”. Certainly, the ability of the Machiavellian Madame’s one-eyed manservants to be able to use their singular sight to record and then two-dimensionally project what they can see like the cameras of a closed-circuit television set-up must have struck some of this comic’s 8,521 readers as an incredibly incongruously contrived device to forewarn this story’s antagonists that “there’s still some Englishmen left with a bit if backbone to them.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that this comic is without any merit whatsoever. The book undoubtedly contains a wonderful replication of Tom Baker’s dialogue and mannerisms, professionally pencilled by artist Brian Williamson, which makes it especially easy to imagine the actual actor rushing through the adventure with his well-documented wit and vigour. Plus the rather cowardly “expert in chrononautology”, Professor Odysseus James”, also increasingly manages to shake off the disagreeable egotism of this mini-series’ opening instalment and delightfully replaces it with some much-needed humour, predominantly at the stiff-back scientist’s own expense; “Hmmph. You’ll have to forgive my daughter, Doctor. If I were some dashing young army subaltern called Henry, I doubt she’d disapprove so strongly of my intemperate ways!”

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
The regular cover art of "DOCTOR WHO: THE FOURTH DOCTOR" No. 2 by Brian Williamson

2 comments:

  1. Didn't realise this even existed. The artwork look really well done even if as you say the story isn't the best.

    Cheers Roger.

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    Replies
    1. The artwork is definitely stronger than the writing, so far Roger; albeit the first issue is better than this one. "Titan Comics" do loads of "Doctor Who" titles, so expect plenty more where this one came from :-)

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