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Doctor Who: Time Machinations

Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2009
By: Ray Tate

Tony Lee
Paul Grist, Phil Elliot (c)
IDW Publishing
Tony Lee's latest Doctor Who story starts out strong. It has a good flow that replicates the feeling of the series, but then it strikes a wall of solid expository dialogue that could have and should have been edited into something more palatable to the non-Whovian.

The story opens with H.G. Welles escorting his friend John Smith to see the Doctor and a TARDIS lacking fuel. The Doctor claims to need a physicist to help him retrieve the fuel with a souped up "petrol can." The trouble is that Torchwood is on the Doctor's tail. Torchwood is the organization established by Queen Victoria to thwart the Doctor should he ever return to England. Can the Doctor refuel the TARDIS while evading Torchwood and not leaving his friends diced in the crossfire?

Lee and Jack Staff artist Paul Grist combine forces to recreate a dead-on imitation of David Tennant's performance as the Doctor. Though anyone expecting photorealism from Grist will be disappointed. However, Tennant himself is a human cartoon and that's one of the reasons why Grist's style works so well when he captures Tennant's expressions and mannerisms.

In addition to the Doctor, Lee and Grist craft a variety of interesting characters. The Torchwood people, for instance, have an air of zealotry about them and look like they belong to the period. John Smith and H.G. Welles exhibit believable chicanery. These factors added to my enjoying this story pieces.

Lee was doing so well, but then he lets his inner fan get the better of him. He gives out too much information about events from the previous story "Talons of Weng Chiang." This slows down the rapid pace and will probably confuse the hell out someone who might be just curious about Doctor Who. What's so frustrating is that for the most part Lee was being extremely subtle, but at the end it's as if the dam bursts. Because of this, I can't give the story more than three bullets. Otherwise it was in the running for five.



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