Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 8th Doctor # 3 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 8th Doctor # 3 (of 5)
"The Silvering"
Written by: George Mann
Art by: Emma Vieceli
Colours by: Hi-Fi

This third issue of the Eighth Doctor miniseries sees the Doctor and Josie travel back in time to Victorian Edinburgh to indulge in a magic show, and unwittingly discovering a nefarious plan to imprison people in a mirror dimension. The Victorian vaudevillian setting reminds me of storylines such as “The Crimson Horror” or the classic storyline, “The Talons of Weng Chiang”, which even gets a sly reference as the Eighth Doctor associates empty theatres with Giants Rats and Homunculi. I think that this time period is a fantastic era for the Eighth Doctor as it works well with his romantic personality and love for magic and illusions. It feels like a natural fit for this incarnation of the character – I'd love to see him interact with the Paternoster gang, but I guess that would cause some continuity headaches... although it was never established when the Doctor first met Madame Vastra and Jenny.

George Mann's script is practically flawless and once again he has nailed the Eighth Doctor's vocal tics and mannerisms to a tee, ensuring that this story feels authentic and true to that era of the show. Clearly, Mann has spent plenty of time listening to Paul McGann's voice on the Big Finish audios to recreate the same cadence in his dialogue – it's a wonderful touch and really helps me visualise McGann's distinctive delivery as I read through the word balloons. I'm really glad that this series is being written by someone with a genuine love for the character of the Eighth Doctor, rather than someone attempting to tell a Ninth, Tenth or Eleventh Doctor story but with Paul McGann's likeness.


Once again, Emma Vieceli does a tremendous with the art for this series, imbuing each of her panels with a tangible sense of light-hearted adventure that feels synonymous with the Eighth Doctor. One of Vieceli's strengths as an artist is the way she uses her panels to convey movement and pacing, and in this issue, she does a fabulous job at bringing the transition from the mirror world and the real world to life on the page. While some of the colours may have been a bit too bright and garish for a Victorian-set adventure, I loved the vaudevillian design of the Silversmith and Josie's choice of clothing for the period. Another stand-out moment for me was the introduction of the Silversmith's flock – a misshapen group of half-reflections that resembled a gang of circus freaks.

Upon reflection (pun intended!), I think this might be my favourite episode of the mini-series yet – not only did it feature one of my favourite time periods, but it also introduced a fantastic new villain in the form of the Silversmith and his army of reflections. I'm really enjoying the self-contained nature of these adventures, and while there are subtle hints towards a connection between all three stories thus far, it doesn't distract from the main plot. I'm actually quite disappointed that this is merely a five-issue mini-series as I think this would have worked fantastically in the same fifteen issue format as the other Doctor Who comic series, giving George Mann's carefully plotted story-arc some more room to breathe. This has been a fantastic re-introduction to the character of the Eighth Doctor, and I really hope that readers have supported this series so that Titan Comics could be persuaded to launch an ongoing series, much like they have done with the Ninth Doctor! In fact, I would even argue that a Eighth Doctor ongoing is far more feasible than a Ninth Doctor one, considering the brief window of continuity available to that incarnation.


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website. Be sure to put in a standing order for the upcoming issues in the series when you pick up your copy!

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