Review: Doctor Who: Four Doctors #1

Doctor Who: Four Doctors #1 is a bit of a slow start, but also a very simple and entertaining collision between everyone's favorite Time Lords. I love Doctor Who, so it's always interesting reading these comics.  It's very easy to be excited about small things that remind me of the show I love, but it's equally easy to be hyper-critical of things that don't fit my weathered perception of the characters.  Paul Cornell wrote one of my favorite Doctor Who stories ever, so I went into Four Doctors #1 with high hopes.

The biggest success in this comic is the portrayal of the various Doctors and how they interact: I really think the dialog is spot-on.  The most appealing thing about Twelve, to me, is his open (and justified) contempt for the awkward frivolity of his previous incarnations.  He's serious, maybe sometimes too serious, but always concerned about saving people, despite the condescending overtones.  Eleven never felt... older, to me, which was sort of what we were promised.  So, seeing Twelve really fill that role through his interactions with his previous incarnations was a lot of fun.

DW_Event_Art_Cover_A_#1webUnfortunately, I'm dog-tired of Clara and the "I'm the one who needs to save the Doctor from himself" shtick. One of the most bothersome things about Moffat's run on Who, for me, has been the all-too-talky, posturing sort of foreshadowing that leads to nowhere.  This issue contains a flashback which only exists to tell us that the world is coming to an end if all of these Doctors meet.  That feels so forced.  It feels like a scene devoted to raising the stakes before I even have a stake in the story itself.

The opening scene focuses on the War Doctor and is a rip-roaring start for Cornell, Adams, and Nunes.  There is some really clever sci-fi on display in concept and in the visuals, and more great characterization of the War Doctor, one of the most peculiar but best things to happen to this series since Ten.  But as soon as this story hops back over to Clara, it gets a little too talky.

There's plenty of exposition in the show and obviously there has to be some in the comics.  Like I said, the dialog is probably the strongest point of this issue other than the opening sequence; but, even when the comic is just trudging along in a coffee house, it seems like Adams sometimes has trouble keeping his line work on the characters consistent.  Adams seems far more comfortable drawing oddities like those found at the beginning and end of the issue, and I'm sure there will be opportunities for him to show off going forward.

I'm chalking this one up to first-issue blues.  There's a lot of promise here, and less room to repeat these mistakes once the plot is in full motion.

Score: 3/5

Doctor Who: Four Doctors #1 Writer: Paul Cornell Artist: Neil Edwards Colorist: Ivan Nunes Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/12/15 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital