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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Fourth Doctor #4


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: 13 July 2016

Trapped in the ancient past by Lady Emily Carstairs and her army of Scryclops, Sarah Jane Smith and Professor Odysseus James have run out of time… after the Medusa found them and turned Sarah Jane to stone! Meanwhile, the Doctor and Athena, the Professor’s daughter, are desperately trying to mount a rescue attempt. Will they be too late to save their loved ones? But an even bigger threat than Lady Carstairs and her giant Scryclops is looming large over both time zones… the Medusa itself! Will any of the Doctor’s allies make it out alive…?!

Things may be looking bleak for the Doctor and his friends, but they are rather looking up for this comic.

After a couple of issues in the doldrums, Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby’s plot hots up nicely as the narratives of all four of our heroes (the Doctor and Athena, and Sarah and the Professor) converge in ancient Greece, where the Doctor confronts the Medusa for the first time. Along the way, his examination of the creature’s petrified victims prompts a fan-pleasing reference to the Weeping Angels (just as Big Finish is uniting classic Doctors and new monsters on audio), and there’s a touching scene as he discovers what has happened to Sarah.

Brian Williamson’s art is also an improving picture, looking noticeably more dynamic this time around, with exciting effects such as the Medusa’s glowing eyes, reflections seen on those same sight organs, a sonic forcefield around the Doctor, and more.

Best of all, after an entirely predictable ‘cliffhanger’ last time, I was genuinely surprised by the turn of events at the end of this instalment.

This issue also boasts not just one but two prologues to the multi-Doctor mini-series Supremacy of the Cybermen! These feature the Eighth and Fourth Doctors respectively, as they cross paths with some very rare forms of the machine creatures. The Eighth Doctor faces a rematch with the Cybermen as they appeared in the 1996 Radio Times comic strip Dreadnought. Lee Sullivan, who drew the short-lived Radio Times strip, returns to provide the artwork. Then the Fourth Doctor (as rendered by Blair Shedd) encounters the skeletal Cybermen that were designed for the never-produced 1993 anniversary special Lost in the Dark Dimension.

That all adds up to plenty of reasons to lose yourself in this comic.


Richard McGinlay

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