Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1 cover by Alice X. Zhang

The historically most popular Doctor (at least in the states), the fourth, played by Tom Baker, gets his own miniseries of five issues. The first issue of “Gaze of the Medusa”, as written by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby and illustrated by Brian Williamson, sets up the elements, which feel like a classic 1970s Doctor Who story.

There’s a mysterious old lady with possessed servants, classic monsters revisited (single-eyed “scryclops” in suits and top hats), and a young lady in danger, accompanied by her professor father, all running around Victorian London… this is firmly in the mold of the Baker Gothics.

The art does the job, although the likenesses can occasionally be jarring, as shown here.

Panel from Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1

See how the detail of the Doctor and Sarah Jane’s faces doesn’t match the crowd around them, how much more rendered they are, and how the directions of their gazes don’t match, either each other or the crowd? It looks like a Photoshop cut-and-paste gone awry. It’s handled better in other pages of the issue. This is the most distracting example, possibly because the adventure hasn’t fully gotten started when it appears.

Everyone’s been investigating time travel, which provides room for the Doctor’s wry responses. My favorite part was seeing Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen) again, although it’s a shame that the plot gets going with her kidnapping. Perhaps that’s also period-appropriate, but I’d rather see a more modern sensibility applied to her character.

Aside from the cover variants shown above, there are six store-specific variants as well.

(The publisher provided a digital review copy.)


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