I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve long thought that the intro pages of comics have a lot of potential to really add to your comic reading experience. A lot of them don’t live up to this potential, but the ones that do…well, let me just start off by saying that Four Doctors #1 is one of those. The background description for the comic ends with “When the fabric of the universe is threatened, when the laws of time, space and all of reality start to break down…on those dire days, different incarnations of the Doctor can meet. It should never happen. But this is one of those days…” and you know from those words that it’s going to be a good ride. And when, as a Twelfth Doctor fan, I read a description of him that says he “is done with guilt, wants to fix things, and now feels he has a license to—and doesn’t have to be a happy, fun, Manic Pixie Dream Doctor to do so”…well, Titan Comics, if I picked this up in a comic shop, I would squee twice and rush to the counter to throw down my money.
Four Doctors only gets better from there. We meet the fourth Doctor (not the Fourth Doctor, mind you) right off the bat, and he’s a personal favorite of mine as well. And at the same time, we get one of the biggest bads of all from the TV show (the mention of them, at least), with another two big bads also making appearances in the pages of this issue. Call me a happy Whovian right there. And that’s even before I get the joy of witnessing the meeting of Companions Clara Oswald, Alice Obiefune, and Gabby Gonzalez, with the inevitable comparison of their Doctors and their travels—delightful. All of this good stuff even before the Doctors had clapped eyes on each other, which in itself was every bit as awesome as I had hoped.
I know, I sound like I’m rambling. No, I am rambling, but I don’t know how to express my happiness with this issue without spoiling it for you before you read it. That is the absolute last thing I want to do, because I don’t want to rob you of the discoveries and Whovian inside-jokes that are in store for you on every single page.
So let me stop fangirling for a minute (it’s so hard) and approach this rationally. I really don’t see how this miniseries could have started out more epically in scale, and I sincerely hope that Paul Cornell can sustain this size of events and the breakneck pacing he’s begun with, because in this issue he’s captured everything that makes Doctor Who one of my favorite TV shows. He writes all four of the Doctors beautifully, and I can hear the voices of the various actors in my head as I’m reading the dialogue. He’s also got the Companions (all women! two of them Women of Color!) front and center in the action for a large part of the issue, which is very much appreciated by this lover of strong female characters. And he’s got a hell of a story arc set up that I cannot wait to see develop.
High praise for the writing, and now some high praise for the art: I get the feeling that Neil Edwards and Ivan Nunes had a blast with this issue, making three completely different planets (and the TARDIS) and everybody on them almost jump from the pages like that old A-ha video for “Take On Me.” While the Doctors and Companion we know from TV aren’t always drawn in a photorealistic way, it happens with enough regularity to make me a happy fangirl. When they’re not, Neil Edwards captures the defining characteristics of each so well that I would know them all even without their distinctive costumes. The Eleventh Doctor’s way of not quite fitting into his own skin, Twelve’s pulling at his lapels (ala the First Doctor), Ten’s swagger. It’s all there, and Ivan Nunes has colored and shaded it so well that I felt at times I could reach out and feel the clothes each person was wearing. It’s glorious work.
And at the end, as a wonderful little coda, a humor strip featuring the Eleventh Doctor by Paul Cornell and Marc Ellerby that ties into the plot of this issue and features comics. It’s a really nice touch to end on.
Four Doctors picked me up on page one, took me on an exuberant dance like the Eleventh Doctor would, but with none of the uncoordination, and didn’t let me down until the final page. I can’t think of another thing I would have wanted from a first issue. Four Doctors #1 gets 5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
Four Doctors #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Neil Edwards
Colorist: Ivan Nunes
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Humor Strip: Paul Cornell & Marc Ellerby
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: 8/12/15
Here’s a preview…