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Doctor Who #2

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Gary Russell
Berdy, Phillips, Torres, Kirchoff (c)
IDW Publishing
One of the more noble aspects of the Doctor that has been carried through each of his incarnations is his anger at those who threaten his companions. This week in Doctor Who Martha, as you can clearly see from the cover, gets transmogrified into sand.

Russell unleashes the Doctor’s fury at the perpetrators of this particularly nasty crime. What’s more, he turns the Doctor on a dime. In other scenes, we see David Tennant’s staccato of speech, his repetition and his overall hyperactive behavior, but when Martha succumbs to the alien force, the Doctor stops his tics, his verbal spasms and threatens those responsible. The words carry the power that Tennant is capable of conveying on the show.

The whole sandy affair started in Egypt. Doctor Whohas covered this territory before in the episode “Pyramids of Mars” which introduced the evil Egyptian deity Sutekh as one of the ancient Osirians. The character seen in the second issue of the comic book series may remind readers of that television series race, which was supposedly dead. Russell grounds the menace, whatever its actual nature, to modern day Doctor Who by employing the mythology created for the current episodes of the television series. He in addition concocts an enjoyable variation on the typical reincarnation romance that has become a staple of the more imaginative genres. Combining the two results in a fun, imaginative plot that would appear on the Doctor's radar.

The rest of the story takes place in 1974, and this allows for some opening frivolity as Martha shops at Carnaby Street for some retro fashions, with respect to her time frame. While the time travelers imbibe history, a feline pursues. In these scenes, Russell displays the Doctor’s sharp intellect. A normal person probably wouldn’t think twice about the black pussycat padding after him, but the Doctor notices the surveillance immediately. He also doesn’t dismiss it. A human would have simply ignored the cat, but the Doctor sees the cat as a potential threat. The watchful eyes of the cat are a callback to the seventh Doctor’s television episode “Survival” but Russel,l through the variations in his plot, makes the device fresh.

Jose Maria Berdy does an excellent job capturing the architecture of England and brings out period flavor through a figurative fashion catwalk. His characters are lively and filled with depth. Martha and the Doctor are on model, but I think he fails to fully express the Doctor’s height and gangly appearance. Still, taken as a whole it's an excellent illustration of the Doctor Who universe.

1000 Year Old Diary (Warning! Here Be Spoilers)

Doctor Who -- The longest running science fiction television show in the history of the medium. Doctor Who began in November 1963 continued until 1989, returned to television in 1996, went on hiatus then began anew in 2005.

The Doctor -- Half-human Time Lord; the last of the Time Lords, an advanced species that were wiped out in a bid to stop the ultimate racists, the Daleks, from winning the Time War and conquering the universe.

TARDIS -- Time and Relative Dimension in Space. The Doctor's time machine, which is disguised as a 1950's police box, due to a malfunctioning camouflage unit called the Chameleon Circuit.

Martha Jones -- "The Doctor often travels with an entourage. Sometimes they're human. Sometimes they're alien. Sometimes they're tin-dogs."--Sarah Jane Smith, one of the Doctor's oldest and dearest companions. Martha Jones is the Doctor's current companion. They met in the television series episode "Smith & Jones", a play on the Doctor's occasional alias Dr. John Smith.

The Sonic Screwdriver -- The Doctor's jack of all trades device. It's been around since his second incarnation.

The Shadow Proclamation -- A cosmic treatise hammered out and agreed upon by numerous races during the Time War. The Shadow Proclamation's articles allow for parlay, truces, etc. This concept was introduced in the television series episode "Rose".

Austin Powers -- A time traveling spy created by Mike Myers. Powers has appeared in three movies. The Doctor is not dressed up as Austin Powers on page five. Rather, he is dressed up as his third incarnation who took the form of an older white-haired mod.

Incarnation -- Time Lords had the ability to regenerate. Each Time Lord or Lady could do this twelve times. At the point of death, a Time Lord or Lady underwent metamorphosis. This resulted in a new body that typically issued a different temperament. Thus, a crotchety, balding old Time Lady if, for instance, poisoned could transform into a healthy, cheerful, young beauty. The Doctor has regenerated nine times. He currently is in his tenth incarnation.



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