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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Lost Dimension: Book Two (Hardback)


Writers: George Mann, Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby and Cavan Scott
Artists: Ivan Rodriguez, Wellington Diaz, Rachael Stott and Mariano Laclaustra, with Anderson Cabral, Marcelo Salaza and Fer Centurion
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £17.99, US $24.99
Age: 12+
ISBN: 978 1 78586 347 9
112 pages
Publication Date: 20 March 2018

The universe is collapsing, swallowed up into the Void – and the people of Earth have turned against the Doctor, forcing him to team up with his past and future selves! The unprecedented crossover between all thirteen incarnations of the Time Lord continues, as the secret of the Void is revealed, the Fourth Doctor and River Song play crucial parts in the survival of all of time and space, and the final, spectacular conflict is engaged! Writers George Mann (Dark Souls), Cavan Scott (Tekken), Gordon Rennie (Fighting American) and Emma Beeby (Mata Hari), with artists including Rachael Stott, Mariano Laclaustra, Ivan Rodriguez, Wellington Diaz and many more bring this universe-shattering tale to its amazing conclusion…!

The second and final volume of Titan’s multi-Doctor epic collects the final four issues of the Lost Dimension saga: Special #1 and #2, The Twelfth Doctor #3.8 and Omega. Well, most of them, anyway – thirteen pages of Special #2 have already been presented in Book One. However, there’s still plenty to enjoy in these pages, because Special #1 and Omega were extra-long issues, so you’re still getting slightly more than four issues’ worth of comic strip.

Indeed, Special #1 ran to a generous 40 pages, which allowed for a regular issue’s worth (22 pages) of adventure with the Fourth Doctor, even though he shared the comic with River Song. That’s not to say that he and River actually meet. No, in his episode the Fourth Doctor is travelling with the Second Romana, on their way to the 1902 Royal Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead… though naturally they end up materialising somewhere else.

The writing of Gordon Rennie captures this particular TARDIS crew very well. His Romana combines a sense of haute couture with superior control of the space-time craft. Meanwhile, the Doctor chooses his next move not on the toss of a coin but on the colour of a jelly bean (sic – maybe this is an in-joke about the first American editions of Fourth Doctor comic strips, in which jelly babies were ‘translated’ as jelly beans). What’s even more fun is the legion of enemies that the travellers soon face, including the Krotons and the Quarks! Yes, it’s the clash of the rubbish Season 6 monsters! But these robots are far more formidable than the Krotons and Quarks encountered on television (in fact, the latter are more reminiscent of the fearsome invaders seen in the Second Doctor’s TV Comic adventures). Add to this some more old adversaries with a Star Trek makeover, and the whole affair is highly entertaining.

Wellington Diaz’s likeness of Tom Baker is unconvincing at first, but he soon finds his feet. Assisted by Anderson Cabral on the later pages, he serves up some dynamic shots of hardware – Krotons, Quarks and lots of spaceships – the larger-than-life style being not dissimilar to the work of Doctor Who Magazine artist Adrian Salmon.

Next up is River’s story, which was originally presented in two eleven-page instalments across Special #1 and #2. Professor Song is acting as an external examiner to a nervous young archaeology student called Willdar – but the long-lost Silurian colony that they uncover proves to be far less extinct than they had anticipated. Here the two halves of the tale are presented back to back, which makes the plot slightly easier to follow… but only very slightly.

Ivan Rodriguez’s visuals are often confusing to the eye. Which of the spacesuited figures in long shot is which? What is that blue globe doing to that dinosaur? However, much of my befuddlement is down to Emma Beeby’s script, which is unnecessarily enigmatic. Why hold back on revealing Willdar’s heritage until close to the end of the story? Given his knowledge of Earth reptile culture and language, I had assumed that he was half-Silurian, but no. What is the Dacha that River is searching for? How was it supposed to help the colony? In what way did it fail? Is it holding back the sickness of Void-corruption or causing it? Having read and re-read the story, I’m still not much wiser.

After that muddle, things really come together – and so do the Doctors. As we rejoin the Twelfth Doctor’s beleaguered party at St Luke’s University, different incarnations of the Time Lord begin to meet, starting with the arrival of the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS in a rather unexpected location. There’s a lovely scene here as the Twelfth Doctor assumes that Ten’s awestruck expression is down to his recognition of his successor, whereas in fact his attention is entirely focused upon his daughter Jenny. Notably, these two Doctors get along a lot better than they did in Four Doctors, in which Ten didn’t trust Twelve at all. Contrast that with his attitude here, where he claims, “I think I’m going to like being you, you know.” Perhaps it helps that, as in Vortex Butterflies, the Tenth Doctor mistakenly believes that Twelve is “the next one”, whereas in Four Doctors he considered the old man to be an impossible incarnation, since the Eleventh Doctor should have been the last.

Another way in which this story differs from Four Doctors is that there is no discharge of Blinovitch energy when the various regenerations touch (there are a lot of ‘hand on shoulder’ shots), but that was an aberration which was unique to Four Doctors. It does not usually happen when Doctors meet.

Once the Ninth Doctor has been added to the mix, the top-quality multi-Doctor bants come thick and fast. “We’ll just have to move Earth out of its way,” suggests the Twelfth Doctor in reference to the nearby white hole. “I’ve done it before,” he adds, indicating himself two regenerations ago, “Or at least, he has.” “Oi!” protests the Ninth Doctor, “Spoilers!” The Tenth Doctor refers to his predecessor as “Me with the ears”, and the Twelfth Doctor as “Me with the eyebrows”.

The final two chapters flow together very smoothly – a process that is helped, no doubt, by the consistency of the writing. George Mann provides the penultimate episode, which originally appeared in The Twelfth Doctor #3.8, and joins forces with Cavan Scott to script the concluding Omega issue. In terms of overall plot development, River Song’s story might have been better placed somewhere within or between these two instalments (she sees visions of the Ninth, Tenth and Twelfth Doctors, and observes that the Time Lord is “taking self-help to an entirely new level”), but it would have been a pity to spoil the flow.

The concluding chapter has no connection with the villain Omega, by the way, despite references to anti-energy and a threat from outside this universe. The legendary figure from Time Lord history does get a name-check, however, in the phrase “Omega Limitation Effect”, which, according to the Tenth Doctor, refers to the inability to retain memories from encounters with one’s future selves. Both this and an earlier reference by the Twelfth Doctor to “an Omega level threat” (which has nothing to do with Marvel Comics superpowers) appears to allude to the events of The Three Doctors.

With the honourable exception of the Fourth Doctor at the beginning of this book, the classic series incarnations are mostly relegated to cameo appearances, very much as they were in The Day of the Doctor – though, of course, these aren’t stock footage. There are some awesome splash pages by artist Mariano Laclaustra (with assistance from Fer Centurion) as they all work together. The Eighth Doctor (with whom George Mann has form) gets a little more to do than his fellows, but it’s largely an inactive role.

Of the new series Doctors, the Eleventh gets the least ‘screen time’, which came as something of a disappointment to me as I am a big fan of his, though admittedly his role is pivotal. His companion Alice Obiefune comes out of it even worse, appearing in just a single frame towards the end of the saga. It’s a pity that she doesn’t get to meet Twelfth Doctor companion Bill Potts (who benefits from some excellent dialogue, by the way), as I would have liked to see how they interact.

After so much preamble, including the dispensable but fun Fourth Doctor episode and the inessential and inexplicable River Song escapade, and despite an extra-long (28 pages) final chapter, The Lost Dimension comes to a very hasty halt. I would have preferred more time spent on multi-Doctor action and tying up loose ends, and less River Song.

Nevertheless, there’s something here to appeal to fans of every iteration of our beloved Time Lord.


Richard McGinlay

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