Tony Fyler’s a bit of a Cornell fan.
Because of an increase in the general number of geeks per head of population, and a general decline in the standards of linguistic imagination, it is these days possible to have a nerdgasm, a geekgasm, and probably, in some dark, unexplored corners of fandom on the internet, even a squeegasm.
Buy this, and prepare to have them all.
Thank you very much – job done.
More? The four Doctors in question – War, Ten, Eleven and Twelve. In one comic-book, along with their comic-book companions.
Even more? Kick-ass redesigned version of a First Doctor villain that was relatively recently redeemed on audio.
Even even more? Fantastic in-character arguing – imagine inviting the Twelfth Doctor to the Day of the Doctor, and sharpening it up by a factor of 50.
Even even even more? The return of one of the Ninth Doctor’s best villains.
Feel free to have whatever kind of gasm most suits you.
It’s probably very sad that one of the most exciting things about this issue for me is that it’s written by Paul Cornell, of Virgin Who books, including Love and War and Human Nature. Paul Cornell, who probably shudders at the idea of being the father of Bernice Summerfield. Paul Cornell, who knows his Who, and knows his way around the witty end of the writing palette, too. He brings both to bear here, which is one of the main reasons for all the various gasms going on. He gives us a solid ‘pre-credit sequence’ with one Doctor, establishing the stakes and giving us the first two or three air-punches (though at least one of those is down to artist Neil Edwards’ rendering of Cornell’s imaginings). Then he delivers note-perfect characterisations, not only of the various Doctors, but of their comic-book companions too, which is where a less committed writer could easily fall down even on as prestigious a job as this multi-Doctor comic-book.
Not Cornell – Ten, Eleven and Twelve each have their particular nuances, and they’re all captured here, along with a particularly strong and in-character rendering of Clara Oswald, with Alice Obiefume and Gabby Gonzalez both well delivered too. The nature of an approaching cataclysm is defined, and then the shouting and bickering begins as it all goes spectacularly to pot in the way every Who fan desperately wants it to – Multi-Doctor events are all about the interaction between the personalities of the various incarnations, and if you’re one of the fans who thought the combination of Ten and Eleven in The Day of the Doctor was a bit chummy and non-confrontational, perhaps even bordering on the smug – you need to buy this comic-book because, to quote the Twelfth Doctor here, “Daddy’s home,” and he’s not about to put up with his two “Manic Pixie Dream Doctors” getting above themselves.
Sadly – or delightfully, depending on whether you’re in the situation or simply reading it – Captain Hothead is at least partially responsible for things getting very, very much worse and more complicated than they already were when the Blinovitch Limitation Effect kicks in (one for the Classic fans, there), leading to yet another in Titan’s recent series of ridiculously kick-ass cliff-hangers.
So let’s simply say Cornell has written 26 pages of top-quality Who here, the like of which would easily have done as good a job as the first fifth of Day of the Doctor – with which it shares at least a couple of panels in terms of similar scenes.
Artwork? Neil Edwards is clearly conscious of the bigness of the deal with which he’s charged here. His slightly younger, more buccaneering War Doctor is a joy to behold, his First Doctor world and creature superb, and the action that takes place there – the scenes which share a vibe with The Day of the Doctor – positively meticulous. When it comes to scenic panels, Edwards excels in warm tones, crisp lines and delivering something interesting to look at in every corner of space available to him – his Twelfth Doctor Tardis scenes are beautiful, his Clara especially well-observed to mimic Gemma Coleman’s body language and way of wearing outfits, When he delivers 1920s Paris, it has a suitable combination of crispness and dinge, Alien jungles with mysterious plot-engines in them? Meat and drink to Edwards’ excellent eye. Essentially, Edwards’ artwork stands up to Cornell’s scope of imagination and wit, and renders panels and pages where there’s always more going on than just the dialogue, meaning you can enjoy the story as much as if it was meticulously shot for TV viewing, and then you can enjoy it all over again for the breadth and colour of the vision in and of itself. This is a very exciting pairing of talents, and there are four more episodes or issues of this story left. On the basis of this rip-roaring opening, we’d say buy them all. In fact, pre-order them all, because ‘to avoid disappointment’ isn’t really a strong enough warning. ‘To avoid missing possibly the comic-book event of the year’ would be more like it.
Go now. Do what you need to. Get this issue. Get this series. Get it twice – once to keep pristine in polythene covers, and once to give your eyeballs a big big treat.
Issue #1 of Four Doctors is out today.
To find your local comic store visit www.comicshoplocator.com/, and then run there quickly.
You can find out, check out all the variant covers here,
watch the trailer here and read the first six pages of issue #1 here.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk