Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1
By George Mann, Emma Vieceli & Hi-Fi
Titan books have been putting out a lot of quality Doctor Who tie-in comics lately, including a just recently finished exciting weekly event that unites the Twelfth, Eleventh and Tenth Doctors in a conflict written by Paul Cornell. However, those three Doctors were not just the ones with solo comics, Christopher Ecclstone’s Ninth Doctor also has a mini-series and now Paul McGann, who has played the Eighth Doctor in Big Finish’s Audio Dramas as well as the Doctor Who Movie, is the latest Doctor to get an ongoing series written by novelist George Mann, with pencils from Emma Viceli and colors from Hi-Fi.
The issue itself is an interesting throwback to the Eighth Doctor and although this reviewer isn’t familiar with the character outside of the brief, prequel to Day of The Doctor (where McGann returned to the role that showed his transition into John Hurt’s War Doctor) it’s a welcome treat for new and old fans of Doctor Who alike. The issue itself introduces us to a new companion for The Doctor, a cyan-haired cipher named Josephine Day, who we first meet as a budding artist. We quickly find out that the Josephine has set up home in a house belonging to The Doctor, and their interactions start off pretty strongly. It’s just what you’d expect from the introduction of a new companion, and George Mann handles this well, adding Josephine to the interesting supporting cast that has been introduced over the course of the comics. There’s plenty of potential for her journey to develop over the course of this series and it’ll be fun to see how Mann explores the new companion and her addition to the Eighth Doctor’s life, particularly when this issue gets off on such a strong footing.
It doesn’t take long for the plot to kick off when Mrs. Fellowes, a friend of Josephine’s, turns up at the door and claims she’s been attacked by a monster that looks like something that she’s been painting. And then, to make matters more interesting, the characters in the painting have vanished, creating an intriguing mystery. It doesn’t explore too many off-world adventures, and prefers instead to keep things grounded on Earth as a way to introduce the new character and her new neighbourhood. The Doctor quickly picks up on something odd, the fact that it’s Sunday lunchtime, and the pub is actually empty. Needless to say, things escalate from there.
If this reviewer had one complaint it would be that the antagonists are fairly forgettable, but then again, the same can be said for most episodes where new companions in the show are introduced. This was all about establishing the new status quo for the series and hopefully we can get some stronger aliens soon. However, it was nice to see Mann not go jumping straight in with the likes of the Daleks and the Cybermen, and hopefully he will explore lesser known aliens and give them better depth than here as the series progresses.
The pencils from Emma Vieceli are strong and Hi-Fi adds the usual level of quality to the colors. It’s got a nice, bright feel to it that perfectly fits within the same universe and tone as the other Doctor Who Titan Comics, and we get to see an effectively standalone story entitled The Pictures of Josephine Day. With Doctor Who you know that there is a vast amount of potential to be explored in the future (and in the past), so this issue was merely a teaser of what lies in store for The Doctor and his latest companion. The next stop teases a journey to another world, and needless to say, it’s going to be interesting to watch unfold, with the creative team on the right track to deliver another hit for Titan Comics.