Doctor Who Archives: Prisoners of Time Omnibus
As a companion to their many Doctor Who comic titles, Titan has collected the 12-issue Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time series originally published by IDW in 2013. Instead of the single-volume hardcover IDW put out, now we’ve got an affordable softcover with a cover that prioritizes the newer Doctors, in keeping with Titan’s audience.
Prisoners of Time is a fun read for those who enjoy the whole gamut of Doctors (which only spanned to 11 when this was put out). As written by Scott & David Tipton, the series gave each one an issue in which they’d have a representative adventure, then their companions were taken. The final two issues provide the final showdown with the villain, with some help from a penguin, just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary.
Between the chapters are one-page text pieces on the history of Doctor Who in comics, from the 1960s TV Comic to the current Doctor Who Magazine. Some of them explain some of the previous comic continuity that’s homaged here. There’s also a cover gallery at the end.
The first Doctor takes his friends to meet Thomas Huxley in Victorian London, where they find monsters in the unfinished tunnels of the Underground. The second winds up at an intergalactic shopping mall where a crocodile kidnaps Jamie because he’s a “rare antique”. The third, assisted by both Liz Shaw and Sarah Jane Smith, attempts to prevent an alien-possessed Brigadier from flooding the planet. The fourth takes Leela and K-9 for some planetary sight-seeing, which turns into meddling in a conflict between three alien life-forms. The fifth bumbles into a more advanced interstellar war when trying to do maintenance on the TARDIS. The sixth is taken prisoner in a future asylum. And so on.
I was impressed by how different the tones were, to suit the different Doctors. The stories are in keeping with the kinds of TV adventures each were seen in. The third Doctor, for example, often had alien invasions connected to bureaucracies with an undertone of whatever real-life threats people were worried about (here, both ecological concerns and nuclear armament), so that’s what we see. I also appreciated the cameos by well-known threats, such as the Autons. The villain behind it all is a clever choice as well.
Art is by, in order, Simon Fraser, Lee Sullivan, Mike Collins, Gary Erskine, Philip Bond, John Ridgway, Kev Hopgood, Roger Langridge, David Messina & Giorgia Sposito, Elena Casagrande & Silvia Califano, Matthew Dow Smith, and Kelly Yates. There’s a variety of styles, but each seems suited to their feature Doctor. Cover likenesses are by Francesco Francavilla, who does a lovely job of accuracy without reference stiffness.
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time is a wonderful smorgasbord, the kind of “everyone appears” historical moment that just isn’t possible any more anywhere else but in comics. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)