Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 - The Paintings of Josephine DayBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
Eighth Doctor Mini-Series #1 (Credit: Titan)

Writer - George Mann
Artist - Emma Vieceli
Colorist - Hi-Fi
Letterer- Richard Starkings + Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
Editor - Andrew James
Assistant Editor - Kirsten Murray
Designer - Rob Farmer
Released November 4th, Titan Comics

This latest original story from the ever-growing Titan creative collective brings in yet another new companion for the evergreen Eighth Doctor. How they meet is something of a bizarre coincidence as the Doctor has a legitimate reason for being there as the official owner, but Miss Josie Day is the actual resident at this point in time.

The Doctor is on a hunt for a particular book, but cannot help noticing the remarkable, if somewhat alternative, paintings that litter the house. And things soon take a turn for the worse as the monstrous subjects that occupy the paintings leave the frames and assume corporeal form in the Welsh village surroundings. What they intend to do with the people living there that they round up is not clear, but the twin hearted Gallifreyan with a blue box must add his own dash of artistic inspiration in order to achieve a good outcome.

So many spin-off products have featured the Eighth Doctor, as well as the official Doctor Who magazine comic adventures for a good number of years. Yet it feels like this Doctor is still relatively unexplored, owing to two fleeting appearances onscreen by Paul McGann in 1996 and 2013. His is one of the more romantic and easy going Doctors, who faces danger head-on but likes to give his companions a role to play as well, rather than being the most patriarchal of regenerations.

The approach for this new mini series is that of closely linked issues that can function as stand-alone but reward sequential reading due to the underlying mysteries and main plot involved. Considering the recent mini-series we have had, this is a welcome change in tact, although this opening segment on its own is somewhat low-key; presumably so the other adventures further afield take on rather more life.

Artwork is very impressive here, with perhaps the odd panel of the Eighth Doctor being a little too unlike the McGann 'look'. But all the other original characters and monsters involved look great and the colours and backgrounds are done most effectively to breathe live into this opening story with somewhat of a  laidback tempo. And pleasingly. a distinct anime style of art is used, which makes this mini series even more identifiable than the excellent Ninth Doctor collection (recently announced as becoming a fully-fledged monthly series next year). My personal nostalgia has a real link to Anime (and Manga films) goes back even further in my formative memories than Doctor Who itself. The style really fits, and makes reading this issue in one sitting the very antithesis of an unenviable chore.

The original monster, dubbed 'Witherkin' are of some mild interest but due to their ponderous sheep-herding plan make a rather diluted impression. Writer George Mann is keen to give readers some continuity to enjoy by putting Ice Warriors and Krotons in the group of living paintings as well, but they strangely seem to be overlooked in the sense of how the Doctor responds to their unleashing. 

Mann also provides some links concerning other versions of the title hero. There is a reference to the previously released Twelfth Doctor Issue 12, which had the Doctor encountering a remarkable woman, especially for that era in human history. We also get some references by this incumbent Doctor to the Third incarnation, which perhaps surprisingly are not the most positive in spirit as the Paul McGann version does have some definite things in common  with the much-loved Jon Pertwee one.

I still think this mini series can (and will) pick up a gear or two, but as an example of an opener to a new series this comic is comfortable astute in its confidence and sense of meeting objectives.

BONUS:

 

No new strips feature this time but some alternate cover are on show.