Even though I just got into it about two years ago, Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows on television. I love both the current series and the classic Who adventures. Though some episodes may be over the top and the effects are never very great, the show is (and for the most part always has been) well written, clever, and an all around good time. So, it comes as no surprise to me that the Doctor Who comic, specifically the annual, is a fun read.
I have never read any of the Doctor Who comics before this one, but I think I might start.
The annual is a collection of four short adventures that take place in the current television show’s continuity. These four stories each have their ups and downs, but for the most part, they really deliver.
The first story is by classic comic book writer (and Swamp Thing creator) Len Wein. I have a real soft spot for Wein as I have always been a fan of his Swamp Thing work, and he is a pleasant human being (or at least he was at the 2012 C2E2 in Chicago). His writing is not always flawless, but it is dependable to be at the very least accurate to which ever character he is writing. With “In-fez-station” (his story in the Who annual), Wein nails the Doctor’s “voice” perfectly. I could hear Matt Smith say “Fezzes are cool’ as if he were in the room with me. Not only is the first story good, the art is fitting as well. Matthew Dow Smith’s work has a bit of a Mignola feel while still being his own. The style fits the Slitheen alien race very well.
The second story, written by Richard Dinnick, keeps things going strong with plenty of twists and turns. “Time Fraud” is a fitting title because there is an abundance of deceitful aliens in the story. Who fans will appreciate this because in the TV show things are rarely what they seem. Josh Adams does a good job of capturing the character’s facial expressions.
“Escape into Alcatraz” feels like it should have been a web short or something because it truly felt like I was watching an episode. Tony Lee is no stranger to Doctor Who comics as he is currently the writer on the main Doctor Who comic book series. His veteran knowledge of the character shows in this story when you see the lengths the Doctor will go to in order to rescue a friend, namely, get himself put in Alcatraz.
Finally, Andy Diggle (another Swamp Thing writer) tackles the Doctor and his companions in “The Eagle of the Reich” with artist Mark Buckingham. This is a team of creators who are very capable of good, solid storytelling, and “Eagle” is no exception. Though possibly the weakest of the four, it is still better than a lot of comics I read (mostly because I read Hawkman, Blek!). Even though Whovians have seen the Doctor fight Nazi’s before (a few times) this story still manages to be fresh and exciting.
I give the annual 9 out of 11 (because there have been eleven Doctors, get it?).
Read the annual; annuals are cool.