Dec 24, 2013

[Comics] Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time

With this year being the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, pretty much everyone involved in the franchise tried to do something special to mark the event. Beyond the special episode "The Day of the Doctor", we also had commemorative books like the Doctor Who: The Vault and a wide number of documentary TV specials.

But another interesting part of the on-going adventures of the Doctor involve the various comic book stories created by IDW Publishing. They've not only followed the recent Doctors since the 2005 reboot, but they've also tried to create additional stories featuring the various Doctors of the classic era with a good degree of success. Or at least that's how I choose to view the comics - they've managed to stay alive in this rather cutthroat environment after all. Plus they do have some rather interesting stories for our dear Doctor.

And IDW's big celebration for the 50th anniversary was this 12-issue special story called the Prisoners of Time. It's a pretty epic story touching on the Doctor's eleven known incarnations (at least known prior to "The Day of the Doctor") and tying everything together as they face on big villain. It's a very traditional story format - one that we've seen in previous instances when multiple versions of the Doctor have gotten a chance to deal with one another more directly.

Synopsis: Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time is a 12-issue comic book mini-series released by IDW Publishing as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Doctor Who TV series. The series was written by Scott & David Tipton with a variety of artists working on the different issues.

The story begins with our unseen adversary studying various images of the Doctor across his incarnations. he determines that the Doctor is never without his friends across the stars and thus he determines that the best way to strike back at the Doctor is by targeting his companions. And this sets the stage for the entire series as the various Companions of the different incarnations of the Doctor are kidnapped by this mysterious foe.

Each issue essentially covers a standalone adventure for the Doctor. In each period, the Doctor and his companions go through an adventure and towards the end the companions are made to disappear somehow. As the overall series progresses, we get more and more glimpses of the man behind the kidnappings and the Doctor also gets more and more insight into who is attacking his various incarnations in this manner. Given it's a 12-issue series, you know things will end with a big confrontation between the Doctor and this hooded figure in one rather epic conclusion to things.

The quality of the writing is pretty good all-throughout. As much as the Doctor is supposed to be one character with many faces, we have to admit that he takes on rather unique personalities withe very regeneration. And thus to write stories for each of those Doctors means being able to highlight how each Doctor is different but at the same time still show that he's he same man. That's not an easy task for anyone. But the Tiptons manage to get this done.

The villain in this story was a very nice reveal, I have to admit. Hooray for the Tipton's clever use of an existing TV character to really bring this story together. The motivations of our villain are pretty understandable given past circumstances and thus the adventure doesn't feel too cheap. Sure, it doesn't exactly end with one of the best endings for any comic book, but it still makes for quite the enjoyable comic book adventure.

If you ever want to get into the recent Doctor Who comics, then Prisoners of Time is a nice entry point for you to get acquainted with how the Doctor works in this medium. The series as a whole gets 5 ways different companions prove their value to the Doctor out of a possible 5.

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