Rejoice, Whovians! Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor returns in the Doctor Who Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition #1 and it’s just as colorful as ever. The first treasury edition combines both “The Iron Legion” and “City of the Damned” storylines. Originally illustrated by Dave Gibbons in the late 1970s, the comics have been re-colored beautifully for the treasury edition.
That name should sound familiar whether you’re a casual comic book reader or an avid one, and, well, it should make you want to mentally squeal. Dave Gibbons is best known for his work with Watchmen and 2000 AD. He proved himself a perfect fit for the exotic universe of Doctor Who and his companions in the multitude of comics he did for Doctor Who Weekly in the seventies and eighties. The return of his detailed art in the comics provides a welcome distraction from the modern Who comics, which seem to favor drawing the characters to look nothing like their human counterparts and therefore distracting you from whatever action is taking place.
As a rather large Doctor Who fan, I jumped at the opportunity to see these classic Who comics and the fourth Doctor once again in action. “The Iron Legion” is set in a parallel Earth where the Roman Empire never fell, and it eventually extended its growing empire through the skies and across the galaxy. The story dragged just a little bit in the beginning because of the scenes that didn’t match the typical speed of action in the Doctor Who Universe, but quickly picked up speed as the Doctor was joined by two new friends along the way: the stupid but lovable Morris and the robot historian Vesuvius. Between the three of them they manage to complete their mission while using the special Doctor Who brand humor and good old Time Lord ingenuity.
After I finished reading the first storyline, I was quick to continue to the next story, eager for more of the Doctor in “City of the Damned.” Out of the two, this one was my favorite because it combines the perfect amount of action and plot development. The city that the Doctor accidently lands in only has one law – and that law forbids emotion of any kind. In order to overcome this severe violation of human rights, the Doctor is assisted by a large group of people who live outside of the city and thrive off of their individual emotions. With adapted names like ‘Slightly Angry,’ ‘Half-Daft,’ and ‘Humble,’ they provide a humorous background to a grim situation. The last panel of this story actually made me bark out a laugh once I got to it and manages to end it perfectly in a Whovian’s ‘happily ever after.’
Both stories capture Tom Baker’s vibrant Doctor in his entirety and hold your imagination hostage as you follow the Doctor into adventures. While it is mostly passed over in the newer Doctor Who, these classic comics include the more gritty aspects of traveling with the Doctor when he was in his younger regenerations, as there isn’t always a happy ending for some characters.
Basically, if you love or even just like Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor, you’ll easily fall in love with these comics because it’s just like watching a retro episode of Doctor Who. The stories and art are done brilliantly and I’m crossing my fingers for a second edition.
So stock up on the Jelly Babies and grab your longest scarf– because the fourth Doctor is back in town.