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Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 Review

Caliburn24 here crossing the Void in my Type 40 TT Capsule to bring you a new Doctor Who series from IDW. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time features a cover not only with the face of the First Doctor, William Hartnell, by Francesco Francavilla, but also the retro-logo that reminds me of the real Doctor Who. The logo also sports the Beeb logo and a Tardis with 50 years at the corner. The series is written by Scott and David Tipton, the team which wrote the Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who –Assimiliation Squared limited series. The art is by Simon Fraser that captures the likeness of the actors. The issue opens with a gallery of Doctors and Companions. The long scarf of the Fourth Doctor is seen as is Martha Jones, and K-9. A hooded figure contemplates the different forms of the Doctor. He looks at portraits of the Second, Fifth, Fourth, Eighth, and Eleventh Doctors. His fingers hover over the picture of Tom Baker’s Doctor. The figure contemplates the Doctor which also brings those who don’t watch the program up to date.

The figure realizes that the Doctor has the Companions, including a picture of Jack Harkness, Rory and Amy, and the penguin companion, Frobisher, from the comic strip during the time of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. He vows to take his Companions away. The next scene has Tardis emerging in a back room of a London college in 1868. The First Doctor emerges and tells his Companions that it is safe to enter. They do so dressed in period clothing. This is Ian and Barbara, schoolteachers who joined the Doctor on his first adventure, “An Unearthly Child”, and also Vicki, a young woman who joined after the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, left them. The supporting characters are not properly introduced, but the reader gets up to speed. The Doctor reminds them that they can’t change the past. Shades of the Prime Directive. He has taken them to the college to see a lecture by Thomas Huxley. The writers are also clever in explaining is his role in promoting Darwin’s theory. There is also a brief note of social decorum with men surprised at women attending the lecture.

The Doctor and the Companions meet with Huxley afterwards and he interrupts their meeting because news has come that two of his students are missing. Huxley leads them to the underground railway where the Doctor uses a flashlight that surprises the others. Vicki starts to get a headache. They continue on and find some webbing. The group encounters a giant ant creature that the Doctor shouts is a Zarbi. This is a species that the Doctor encountered in the second season, “The Web Planet” episode. Vicki collapses from her headache and the rest are taken prisoner by the Zarbi. The action slowly builds with a Zarbi knocking over one of the party members and the rest scramble to pull him up. Huxley is surprised that the Doctor points out that the Zarbi are an offworld species. The group is separated and only the Doctor, Ian, and Huxley remain. The others return with gold control collars around their necks. The Doctor knows that they are being controlled by the Animus.

The Doctor forumulates a plan and enters the lair of the Animus with Huxley. The Animus is a large, green blob with tentacles. It explains that the iso-tope weapon the Doctor had used on it weakened it, but it made its way to Earth. The Animus unleashes an army of Zarbi and threatens to take over all of humanity. They are overtaken by a bright light and Ian sets off the whistle of a train. The train crushes the Animus set up on a juncture of different tracks. The Doctor guides the now docile Zarbi through a portal to their home and he makes Huxley promise not to reveal anything about their adventure. He also suspects that there is something that brought the Animus and created the portal. The next moment, the Doctor finds himself alone with Ian, Barbara, and Vicki missing. It looks like the next issue features the Patrick Troughton Doctor and the series will cover all eleven Doctors. It’s a fun look at the Doctor and of course features the novel invention of the show which was to replace Hartnell with an entirely different actor in the best sci-fi casting tool, the regeneration.