From the beginning of the universe to the end of time itself, one immortal has made it his duty to fight for those who cannot. He is spoken of in the legends of trillions of worlds in billions of languages. He has been awarded titles such as The Oncoming Storm and The Bringer of Darkness by his many enemies.
His appearance is mercurial as are his manner and methods. The one constant is that he is never cowardly or cruel. He never gives in. He never gives up. He is The Doctor!
While there have been many Doctors, the laws of time prohibit his various incarnations from meeting one another except under the most dire and unusual of circumstances. Unfortunately, the most dire and unusual of circumstances have revealed themselves to Clara Oswald – the companion of the most recent Doctor. And owing to Clara’s own rather complicated relationship with time, she’s managed to trace those circumstances back to one moment where three of The Doctors will have a meeting that must not happen.
Unfortunately, the harder you fight fate, the harder it fights back. And Clara’s efforts to recruit the companions of two of The Doctor’s past incarnations to aid her in preventing the meeting only hasten its occurrence!
Why have The Doctors been gathered? What great crisis has warped time and space so that they could be gathered? And what does the meeting of the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors have to do with The Time War and the most mysterious of The Doctor’s incarnations, The War Doctor?
One can say this for writer Paul Cornell – he does not play for small stakes. Everything about The Four Doctors speaks of an epic stage upon which the grandest of dramas shall play out for our amusement. The book opens with a flashback depicting Daleks with guns that can erase a person from history as if they had never existed in the first place and builds from that point.
And yet the best parts of the issue involve the hilarious interaction between The Doctors themselves. This is no surprise for those of us familiar with Cornell’s previous work. The man has a great gift for witty dialogue and the comedy quotient of this issue goes through the roof, with Ten and Twelve getting into an argument over which Hogwarts house Clara should have been sorted into. For the record, Ten favors Gryffindor whereas Twelve insists she’s a Slytherin.
Sadly the script, while funny, is not flawless. The chief problem is that the personalities of the companions other than Clara seem a little flat, though that may be due entirely to them being given little to do in this chapter besides listen to exposition. And the opening sequence with The War Doctor, while thrilling, doesn’t connect to the other parts of the story effectively.
The artwork, on the other hand, is entirely amazing! Neil Edwards does a masterful job of capturing the likeness of the actors who appeared on the show and breathes life into the companions who, thus far, have only existed within the pages of other Doctor Who comics. And the color art by Ivan Nunes proves vivid and exciting.
On the whole, this first chapter of The Four Doctors proves a promising start. What flaws exist are minor things and do not distract from the enjoyment of the individual components thus far. Whovians are certain to enjoy this epic tale.