Dec 10, 2013

[Comics] Doctor Who: The Forgotten

For as long as the Doctor has had multiple incarnations, writers know that fans enjoy any excuse to have the different Doctors meet one another. We first saw this happen in the classic Doctor Who episode "The Three Doctors" and saw it happen as recent as "The Day of the Doctor" 50th anniversary episode. And let's face it - it is a heck of a lot of fun to see the different versions of the same character try to work together to defeat some greater challenge.

Doctor Who: The Forgotten is a lovely comic book mini-series that sort of capitalizes on that same aspect of the Doctor Who fan culture - showcasing the diverse history of the different Doctors. And while this story doesn't quite involve the Doctor working together with his alternate selves, it is an interesting tribute piece that involves the Tenth Doctor drawing from his past experiences in order to get out of the present crisis.

And while I'm not a major fan of the art, I really did enjoy this story. For those of you wishing to dabble in the Doctor Who comic books, this might be a nice story to venture into.

Synopsis: Doctor Who: The Forgotten is an IDW Publishing 6-issue mini-series featuring the Tenth Doctor. It was written by Tony Lee with art by Pia Guerra, Kelly Yates, Stefano Martino and Nick Roche. The story takes place sometime after the events in "Journey's End"

The Tenth Doctor wakes up in an unknown location. The TARDIS is nowhere in sight and he also appears to be missing his sonic screwdriver. Eventually Martha Jones appears and the two discover that they're in some sort of museum featuring various artifacts of the Doctor's life. But as they continue to go through the museum, an unseen figure triggers something that strips the Doctor of the memories of his past incarnations - he can only remember things as far back as the Sycorax invasion on Christmas Day.

Martha then hands him the staff used by his first incarnation, and holding the item somehow helps the Doctor focus and remember a story from that period. Over the course of the various issues, Martha continues to provide different artifacts representing each Doctor (such as the Second Doctor's Recorder or a bag of the Fourth Doctor's Jelly Bellies) and this helps him regain more of his memories. At the same time, the unseen adversary continues to disrupt their efforts by sending various enemies from the Doctor's past to threaten him and Martha in the museum.

The comic is an amazing adventure for longtime fans of the show. I've only read the book once, but I know that I'll be going back over it a few times just to further examine the museum in detail. Even as just background material, the artists made sure to insert a lot of Easter Egg items drawn from the show's diverse history, which is always a good thing. This is, after all, a comic designed to pander to the fans. And yet it's still an officially authorized exploration of the Doctor Who universe as well.

The comic nicely captures the quirky personality of the Tenth Doctor in terms of his dialog and the sort of things he ends up doing. Provided that a Doctor without his memories is somewhat diminished, certain qualities remain constant and they shine through in this story. In addition, the book also nicely captures the different incarnations of the Doctor, including giving us a glimpse of the largely unknown history of the Eighth Doctor, right smack in the Time War. And because of the way "The Day of the Doctor" had been written, this little insertion still works with respect to overall Doctor Who canon.

The overall plot wasn't too bad - stories that involve multiple Doctors often need to resort to rather elaborate twists and turns to justify the Doctors being together. But in the spirit of the whole mini-series, the team behind the book decided to continue to draw from the show's history to provide decent explanations for why they're all brought together. But in terms of how it was all implement really makes the story shine in a way that is hard to explain without getting into spoilers.

Overall, Doctor Who: The Forgotten is a lovely little story that makes me miss seeing David Tennant as the Doctor in a really bad way. It nicely touches on various parts of the Doctor's diverse history and thus encourages you to dive into Classic Doctor Who serials in order to better appreciate what's going on. Due to sheer satisfaction, the book rates an awesome 5 Doctor Who tidbits hidden in the comic book panels out of a possible 5.

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