Doctor Who: The Third Doctor #1 already had an ace up its sleeve with writer Paul Cornell, a man who has plenty of experience writing for the Doctor on television, in print, and in comics. It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Cornell captured the Third Doctor’s era so completely. It feels so…him, as one of the modern Doctors might say. Cornell wisely set the story after the Third Doctor’s forced exile on Earth, which leaves the door open for future issues to take us anywhere in time and space. But for now, the action is set firmly on our world as an unexpected alien invasion occurs while an old enemy plots behind-the-scenes.
The Third Doctor had a terrific supporting cast during his time on the show, and Jo Grant particularly shines in this issue. The story actually gave Jo a few pages without the Doctor that helped establish her life beyond UNIT. Jo also received a great moment with the Doctor where she demonstrated just how much of his world that she’s come to understand. The art and expressions used by artist Christopher Jones on that page effectively showed the Doctor’s pride at her advancement. This issue is full of those little human touches. Our one complaint is that Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart didn’t get a lot of interplay with the Doctor, but that should change in future issues.
Jones and the colors by Hi-Fi gave this issue an almost cartoonish quality. Just to be clear, that is not a complaint. Jones stayed pretty close to the original likenesses of the performers without making his figures look stiff and overly posed. Jones was actually quite adept at rendering different faces while maintaining his style. That’s an impressive accomplishment in of itself.
As for the story, it’s a bit thin. This is only the opening chapter, but it doesn’t give its readers much to go on beyond a vague alien threat and a classic unmasking of the real adversary behind-the-scenes. But even with some minor shortcomings, it’s a really enjoyable leap back into one of the best eras of Doctor Who.
Without giving away the issue’s biggest surprise, it has to be said that Cornell and Jones have pulled a fast one us. The story that we’re gonna get isn’t what we expected, and that cliffhanger has us really excited to see who else might show up. It’s one of those moments that would have been really difficult to pull off in live-action, but it’s perfect for the comic book realm. Long time Doctor Who fans are gonna love this twist, and even fans who have only watched the modern series should pick this up. This is classic Who with a modern perspective.
RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
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Images: Titan Comics