Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #2

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Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #2Having previously gone on record during an interview with Down The Tubes (in February 2015) that “it still bamboozles me that I’m not writing one of the new Who comics that are out now”, Gordon Rennie’s script for Issue Two of “Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor” perhaps shows just why the Scottish author wasn’t initially considered to pen a “Titan Comics” publication. For whilst there are times when the twenty-two page periodical’s narrative does a fairly competent job of replicating the atmosphere of a “Hammer Film Productions” silver screen feature, the Diamond Comics Award-winner’s plot involving laughably large cyclopean monsters serving a moderately fossilised Victorian widower in her quest to escape the curse of a Gorgon, probably has more in common with Graham Williams’ derisory flop “The Invisible Enemy” than one of producer Philip Hinchcliffe’s highly-regarded Mid-Seventies ‘horror stories’.

Indeed, considering that this second instalment to “Gaze Of The Medusa” is based upon the premise that “the sinister Lady Emily” supposedly needs to “break through the barriers of the Chrono-stream” so as to help a snake-headed entity escape her cavernous prison and subsequently heal the partially-petrified woman as a sign of gratitude, arguably appears too absurdly convoluted a narrative even for “the longest running on-screen Doctor of the series”. Certainly, the ability of the Machiavellian Madame’s one-eyed manservants to be able to use their singular sight to record and then two-dimensionally project what they can see like the cameras of a closed-circuit television set-up must have struck some of this comic’s 8,521 readers as an incredibly incongruously contrived device to forewarn this story’s antagonists that “there’s still some Englishmen left with a bit if backbone to them.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that this comic is without any merit whatsoever. The book undoubtedly contains a wonderful replication of Tom Baker’s dialogue and mannerisms, professionally pencilled by artist Brian Williamson, which makes it especially easy to imagine the actual actor rushing through the adventure with his well-documented wit and vigour. Plus the rather cowardly “expert in chrononautology”, Professor Odysseus James”, also increasingly manages to shake off the disagreeable egotism of this mini-series’ opening instalment and delightfully replaces it with some much-needed humour, predominantly at the stiff-back scientist’s own expense; “Hmmph. You’ll have to forgive my daughter, Doctor. If I were some dashing young army subaltern called Henry, I doubt she’d disapprove so strongly of my intemperate ways!”

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This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.
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For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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