John, Fandomania’s resident Doctor Who expert, has been keeping up with the new comic series, Doctor Who: The Forgotten, and here’s his review of the second issue, in stores now.
Doctor Who: The Forgotten #2
Writer: Tony Lee
Artist: Pia Guerra
PREVIOUSLY: The Doctor and Martha find themselves in a museum which, for reasons unknown, is totally devoted to The Doctor. Unfortunately, The Doctor and Martha have no time to be mystified. The curator of this museum, whoever he is, seems to be obsessed with The Doctor and he is able to wipe The Doctor of every memory he has of his previous incarnations. It’s up to Martha to jog his memories using items from all of his previous incarnations.
CURRENTLY: Martha continues to jog The Doctor’s memory using items from his past. The Doctor remembers events involving his second and third incarnations. The mysterious Curator, on the other hand, is not giving them a moment’s rest as he unleashes some deadly exhibits to keep Martha from making The Doctor whole again.
ANALYSIS: The cliffhanger at the end of issue one left me freaking out, and the month and a half wait did not help! Issue two helps satisfy my appetite for more Doctor Who adventures, and The Forgotten is a story that is intriguing enough for me to wait for the next issue. In my interview with writer Tony Lee, he stated that his intention with this story is to serve as a bit of a nostalgia trip for classic WHO fans, and as a source of edification for NuWHO fans who are curious about their newfound love. To this end, the story has been a resounding success. Much like in issue one, we get a helping of adventure involving some of The Doctor’s previous incarnations.
What Lee does to make it more interesting is that he doesn’t just retell stories that OldWHO fans have already heard. Instead he tells brand new mini adventures using classic characters. In issue #1 we were treated to a tale in Egypt involving The First Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her schoolteachers Ian and Barbara. This time we get two adventures featuring The Second Doctor, his highlander companion Jamie, and future girl Zoe, as they battle a troop of snake men on a space ship. Later on we are thrown into a fantastic car chase featuring The Third Doctor, his assistant Jo Grant, and his stalwart military buddy Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, as they are being chased by dog men operating massive mechanical spiders.
The issue is chock full of little bits and bobs from the classic era, and taking place in this museum it almost feels like we’re being attacked by the Doctor Who exhibit in Blackpool. In issue two The Curator decides to attack our two heroes using an Auton (for NuWHO fans that’s the name of those shop window dummies in the New Series first episode “Rose”). The attack is then remedied by using a can of Nitro-9 which was a favored weapon of The Seventh Doctor’s companion Ace. The more I read through this story, the more it feels much like a “Missing Adventures” novel and a “New Adventures” novel had a baby with this story as the result.
The only shortcomings this issue has is that Pia Guerra’s artwork felt a bit stagnant compared to the previous issue, mainly with the segment regarding The Third Doctor. The design on The Doctor was adequate; you could still tell who he is. On Jo Grant, however, the first panel that we see of her face she looked more like Liz Shaw, The Third Doctor’s first companion. Plus, it’s easy to discern that the military chap sitting next to The Doctor is The Brigadier, but unfortunately the artwork surrounding him is a bit underwhelming. He looks a bit too young in this little anecdote. It’s just fortunate that Lee’s characterization of the Brig is right on the money, and he even gets to make little jabs at The Doctor’s expense. The bit about reversing the polarity had me in stitches, but I digress. The artwork in the anecdote felt a bit rushed and just not as detailed as all of the scenes surrounding The Tenth Doctor and Martha. I will say, though, I loved during The First and Second Doctor anecdotes how Guerra decided to paint them in only black and white. It really lends to the nostalgia kick. I can only be left to assume that for reasons unknown Pia Guerra may have gotten delayed. In any case, the artwork still succeeds at keeping the excitement level on a constant high and keeps you turning the pages in anticipation.
As far as the story progression goes, The Doctor and Martha are still no closer to finding out who this cruel overseer is, but I’m sure that all of the answers will come in time. In the meantime I’m just going to take in this entertaining comic book clip show as it progresses.
FINAL GRADE: B+