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Doctor Who #5

Posted: Saturday, July 5, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Gary Russell
Mirco Pierfederici, Tom Smith (c)
IDW Publishing
The jump in art quality is the most noticeable thing about Doctor Who. Mirco Pierfederici's work in the previous issue was underwhelming. In the current issue he seems to have unwound the stiffness from his drawings. He contributes a better likeness of Freema Ageyman, who portrays Martha Jones on the series. The sense of scale and scope have improved. Last issue, the characters looked squashed.

Previously Pierfederici was using some rather famous moments from Doctor Who Magazine for his "guide" but this chapter appears to be completely his. Perhaps Pierfederici was intimidated by the more futuristic setting in the last chapter. With the Doctor back on earth, Pierfederici seems more sure of himself.

Tom Smith's colors compliment Pierfederici's artwork, and in this issue he uses a natural wash that creates stronger illusions of texture. This technique makes special effects such as glowing eyes stand out and enhances Pierfederici's dead on likeness of David Tennant, the tenth Doctor.

With regard to the story, Gary Russell continues to engender confidence in the reader; the Last of the Time Lords is in good hands for this comic book series. The Doctor sounds as he should, and Russell mimics Tennant's snappy patter of massive verbiage with scary accuracy in the dialogue. The author draws upon the intelligence of Agyeman's performance to convey believability in Martha's status as a budding doctor. Her knowledge cuts a lot of unnecessary scenes and quickens the pace. Russell in this way follows the zesty tempo of the new series set by Russell T. Davies.

Martha and the Doctor end up in 1957 sans TARDIS. Something shocking occurs, and the event galvanizes the Doctor. The simple moment acts as "a pebble thrown into a pond."

The ripples belie that this chapter of Doctor Who will be part of the bigger picture, yet the rationale for the shock moment forces the Doctor and the plot to move directly into Russell's long game. The ripples furthermore evolve the characterization. The Doctor's choice of alias in this story is based upon the memory of another companion that faced a similar, though not identical, situation Martha experiences. What to a casual viewer of the series would seem to be a throwaway vignette actually has a much deeper meaning for the faithful fan, and it leads to richer characterization for the Doctor.

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 started in November 1963 continued until 1989, returned to television in 1996, went on hiatus then triumphed in 2005 with a newly revamped series already in its fourth season.

The Doctor -- Half-Human Time Lord; the Last of the Time Lords. The Doctor was once a respected scientist, until he reclaimed his decommissioned TARDIS and with his granddaughter traveled through time and space to witness history first hand. This broke Time Lord law and made him a renegade in the eyes of his people. The point is moot now since the Time Lords were all slain in the Time War.

TARDIS -- Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Bigger on the inside than outside, TARDIS were used by Time Lords to travel in time and space. Due to a malfunctioning cloaking device, the Doctor's TARDIS is forever stuck in the shape of a police box, blue telephone kiosks that were popular in England during the nineteen fifties. The Doctor, however, likes it that way.

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. A medical student that will one day become a physician, the extremely bright Martha has fallen in love with the Doctor. The Doctor's hearts, however, still belong to Rose, his first companion after the Time War. Martha is extremely jealous of Rose; though they have not actually met. In a rescue from certain doom, Rose ended up trapped in a parallel universe forever out of the Doctor's reach.

Harry Sullivan, M.D. -- One of the Doctor's few male companions. Harry was a member of UNIT -- The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce -- and assigned to tend to the Doctor after his third regeneration. During the course of events, Harry wanted to prove, for the patient's own good, that rational, sane people do not travel around time and space in police boxes. He walked into the TARDIS and instead found a very large surprise. Harry stayed aboard until "Terror of the Zygons". Harry's last adventure, albeitly earth-bound, was "Android Invasion". The Doctor's habit of using his old companions' names as aliases began in the Third Series episode "Tooth and Claw".



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