Dragon's Claw (Panini Graphic Novel)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 15 December 2017 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Dragon's Claw (Credit: Panini)
Written by Steve Mooreā€ˇ & Steve Parkhouse
Artwork by Dave Gibbons & Mike McMahon
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: Panini UK LTD

The second and final Volume of Fourth Doctor's run in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine (or as it was known then Doctor Who Weekly) strip, is Dragon's Claw. The Doctor, K9, and Sharon continue their adventures in Space and Time, traveling from 1522 China and then to spaceships and futuristic societies. 

With Sharon having been aged at the end of "The Time Witch" (which was the final story in the previous collection The Iron Legion), she is reluctant to return home when the Doctor manages to get her back to her own place and time. But luckily for her, they end up plucked from her home before they can leave the TARDIS, and eventually, she decides to leave the Doctor in classic Doctor Who style, by falling in love with a man she hardly knows and deciding to stay with him forever. It's kind of a shame they dropped Sharon from the strip, but I am sure with the show changing styles fairly drastically at the beginning of the 80s, and with it clear Baker would be leaving soon, they wanted to clean up the continuity a bit before the strip changed it's lead to Peter Davison.

The rest of this book features the Doctor solo or with just K9, and as they feature him in his Season 18 costume, it clearly takes place later in his timeline. There are some good stories featured throughout the book. The opening story, the titular "Dragon's Claw," is quite excellent. "The Free-Fall Warriors" and "Junkyard Demon" are also fairly memorable, and the closing story, "The Neutron Knights," is a solid final strip for the Fourth Doctor that also manages to set up a few mysteries and characters that would be picked up on during the Fifth Doctor's tenure. 

I would say that this collection is fairly notable for planting the earliest seeds of the internal continuity the strip has had in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine over the years.  There are characters, themes, places, and ideas that would continue through other Doctors and eras, and the earliest elements to that long and storied continuity begin in the strips featured within this collection. 

This book is another fine collection from Panini, who once again do a high quality job restoring the black and white strips to their former glory. There are a lot of stories within, in terms of quality of storytelling it can be a bit of a mixed bag, but overall it is a fine collection of stories wonderfully restored.