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Comic Book Review
“I’m the Doctor, and I’d very much like to know what you’re doing in my house…” Get ready for an all-new season of comic adventures featuring the Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann. Five amazing, interconnected new stories take the Time Lord on a roller-coaster of threat and misadventure, as he investigates the mysteries surrounding his new companion Josie Day. The grand journey begins in a sleepy Welsh town, besieged by living paintings! Buckle up for a wild ride that embraces all the Gothic Romance and interstellar terror of the Doctor’s eighth incarnation…!
He’s back – and it’s about time!
Following its Ninth Doctor mini-series, Titan Comics steps back even further into the Doctor’s timeline to bring us a five-issue series of adventures for the Eighth Doctor. This is the first time that Titan has tackled an incarnation from the classic show – though arguably he is an intermediate Doctor rather than a classic Doctor, since Paul McGann’s appearance in the 1996 TV movie was screened more than six years after the end of the original run and almost nine years before the start of the revived series. In a way, Eight is very much a new series Doctor, since many younger fans will know him best from his surprise appearance in the sensational mini-episode Night of the Doctor. The outfit he wears in this comic reflects his Night of the Doctor look.
This garb places the mini-series after the Eighth Doctor’s numerous audio dramas from Big Finish, as does a name-check of his audio companions Charley Pollard, C’rizz, Lucie Miller, Tamsin Drew and Molly O’Sullivan (the same companions he mentioned in Night of the Doctor) on the introductory ‘story so far’ page. The text also states that the Doctor is “Now travelling alone after an intense period in his long life,” which probably refers to the ordeals he has experienced in To the Death and thereafter. However, no prior knowledge of the Eighth Doctor’s spin-off adventures is required in order to understand this comic.
It may be useful, though, to know that the Third Doctor owed a Welsh cottage during his comic-strip exploits in the pages of Countdown, TV Action and TV Comic, for that is where we meet new companion Josie Day, and where the Doctor meets her soon afterwards when he returns to the property after a long absence. Like her counterpart Gabby Gonzales in Titan’s Tenth Doctor series, Josie is a budding artist – as the title of this episode, The Pictures of Josephine Day, suggests – though her preferred medium is painting rather than sketching.
With her turquoise hair, Josie is also reminiscent of Nemi’s friend Cyan, an impression that is reinforced by the style of artist Emma Vieceli, which veers towards the cartoonish. Vieceli rarely captures the likeness of McGann’s Doctor – though his character still shines through in his facial expressions, his body language and the writing of George Mann. Witness the contrasting reactions of Josie and the Doctor when the subject of a monster is raised. Josie’s is a mixture of fear and disbelief, whereas the Doctor displays a combination of excitement and delight.
The problem they face is resolved within this issue. This title has adopted a storytelling strategy similar to that initially used by Titan’s Eleventh Doctor comic: a series of linked, single-part adventures, rather than a serial. As a result, the Doctor and Josie bond with each other perhaps a little too quickly to be believed, enjoying a warm embrace after just 20 pages. However, a new mystery sets them on a course for four further missions, during which we will get to know them better…