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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Four Doctors #5


Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Neil Edwards
Colourist: Ivan Nunes
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: 12+
32 pages
Publication Date: 23 September 2015

Their memories altered, the three Doctors have been thrown back into the Vortex, with no hope but to relive everything they’ve just experienced. Is the Doctor doomed to become that which he most hates? What did Gabriella Gonzalez see in the Eleventh Doctor’s parcel of comics – and did the Voord truly see her gravestone? Has Alice Obiefune just perished at the gunsight of a Voord sniper? Is Clara Oswald really fated to betray the Twelfth Doctor? How can the Doctors and their surviving companions put time back on the right track…?


Writer Paul Cornell continues to demonstrate just how well he understands what makes Doctor Who tick, by coincidentally echoing an event from the recent television two-parter, The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar. The cliffhanger ending of The Magician’s Apprentice seemed to show Clara and Missy being exterminated… only for them to reappear alive and well at the beginning of The Witch’s Familiar. Similarly, #4 of this comic-book miniseries seemed to kill off Alice and Gabby… only for the latter to reappear, in your face, as the subject of #5’s opening splash page.

Back to the Future references abound as the temporally displaced version of Gabby fades in and out of existence, and that photograph is used as an indicator of whether or not our heroes have managed to escape their fate.

There’s also an oblique reference to The Three Doctors as Clara recognises a sort of time bridge. However, unlike the First Doctor in that story, Twelve regards the bridge as not for crossing, but for burning.

However, I don’t buy into Cornell’s theory (towards the end of this story) that the Ninth Doctor never had the potential to turn bad as his successors did. What about those dark days in the aftermath of the Time War before he met Rose? Or when he almost became a gun-toting Dalek killer in two different episodes? Or when he was bitterly disappointed by Rose in Father’s Day (which Cornell himself wrote)? Or when he abandoned his companion in The Parting of the Ways? It’s a nice cameo appearance, though – one might even go so far as to call it fantastic.

In common with #1, the accompanying humour strip drawn by Marc Ellerby, The Doctor Shops for Angels, forms part of the main story – which is brought to a satisfactory, if somewhat low-key, resolution in this issue.


Richard McGinlay

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