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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Eighth Doctor #3


Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Colourist: Hi-Fi
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.69, US $3.99
Age: All
32 pages
Publication Date: 13 January 2016

Welcome! Welcome! You lucky people, you privileged few, will tonight witness one of the greatest feats of stage magic ever performed. I do not make this promise lightly. You will leave this theatre amazed. Changed forever by what you have seen…” Edinburgh, 1866. The Doctor and Josie Day visit a mysterious magic show – one that is replacing audience members with ‘Silvered’ duplicates, mirror-dimension reflections who jealously watch their real-world counterparts! With the deadly doppelgängers causing chaos, can the Doctor and Josie escape the magician’s grasp…?

There are some very cool and creepy images in this episode, The Silvering. In a couple of panels that extend across double-page spreads, we see characters stepping into a magician’s mirror and simultaneously out of another on the facing page. Artist Emma Vieceli tips us the wink that something is amiss with the people who emerge, by showing that one young woman’s distinctive freckles have switched sides. I was reminded of a couple of Tenth Doctor and Martha novels from a few years ago, with a mirror dimension (“a twisted reflection of the real city”, as the Doctor calls it) resembling that in Martha in the Mirror, while grotesque minions composed of fragments of people that have been captured in reflections bring to mind the disembodied limbs in The Many Hands (which also happened to be set in Edinburgh of the past).

“There’s something very wrong going on here,” the Doctor correctly surmises in a delightful character moment, “Wrong in a baked beans and garden peas sort of way.” “Beans and peas?” asks Josie, confused by his simile. “Exactly,” replies the Time Lord, “Things that should never be mixed.” As they investigate backstage, he also references Arthur C. Clarke and The Talons of Weng-Chiang. There are also signs of a bigger picture forming, as the Time Lord notices a connection to the crystalline life-forms from the previous issue.

Rather misleadingly, the incident depicted on the cover (the creation of mirror versions of the Doctor and Josie) doesn’t actually happen within the comic, though it is thematically linked to the events of the story.

A special feature towards the end of this issue affords a fascinating glimpse into the creative process, showing the development of the strip’s opening page from George Mann’s script (which reads rather like a screenplay), through to Emma Vieceli’s pencils and uncoloured inks. So that’s how the magic is done!


Richard McGinlay

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