Doctor Who #1


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Doctor Who #1


  • Words: Tony Lee
  • Art: Al Davison
  • Colors: Lovern Kindzierski
  • Story Title: Silver Scream
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 20, 2009

Something’s wrong in 1920’s Hollywood so a certain Time Lord has decided to come looking…

When writer Tony Lee penned his Doctor Who: The Forgotten mini-series he had believed it to be his one shot at the venerable character owned by the BBC.  Instead, that mini-series had catapulted him into a new ongoing series by IDW Publishing.  But now Lee has been put in the unenviable position of topping his own game.

1926 in Hollywood, California and something strange is going on at the studios owned by actor Archie Maplin.  Something is wrong with time and the Doctor also finds young actors and actresses are losing all of their hopes and dreams for stardom!  Who or what could be doing this and are the two things connected?  The Doctor is determined to find out but this time his stirring up trouble might just land him as a fatal cliché on the silver screen.

On his previous Doctor Who outing Lee proved that he could quite capture the voice and attitudes of the character of the 10th incarnation of the Doctor.  Here, though, something seems a bit off.  Lee has increased the manic quotient here, making the Doctor more of a whirling dervish than the joyful child on a sugar high that the character has come across as on TV.  Lee obviously wanted to create continuity between the comic book series and the TV series and so there are references to series 4 companion Donna Noble and her desire to meet Charlie Chaplin.  Of course, due to constraints with having to get permission to use Chaplin’s name and likeness from his estate, Lee instead substitutes a paper thin replacement.  While one can appreciate his reasons for doing this, unfortunately the practice is jarring and throws the story slightly off-kilter from the start.  On the other hand, this is slightly ameliorated by the way Lee gets a chance to play with some of the old Hollywood tropes and clichés and the story starts to pick up steam at the end because of it.

The real letdown this issue is artist Al Davison.  The figures are not consistent from panel to panel and the Doctor goes decidedly “off model” on one than one occasion.  In fact, in one panel, Davison’s rendition makes the character look positively chubby!  Even worse, facial expressions often do not match the dialogue – making the reader wonder what is supposed to be going on or ripping them out of the story altogether. 

While this new Doctor Who series should be a boon to American fans who are having to wait through the show’s semi-hiatus, this issue does not quite live up to Lee’s earlier promise.  Still, all is not completely lost.  There are flashes of humor and some plot playfulness here that leads one to hope that Lee needs only to get his feet under him before really knocking this series out of the park.

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