The intriguing and enjoyable IDW series commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, Prisoners of Time, continues with the second issue focusing on the second incarnation of the Doctor, originally portrayed by Patrick Troughton, with his most memorable companions Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon. The solid writing from the debut issue not only continues with this follow-up, but is markedly improved with some absolutely brilliant artwork that also tops the previous chapter.
With the debut chapter of Prisoners of Time, we were introduced to the concept of the anniversary series: one issue on each Doctor, and a final 12th issue to bring it all to a riveting conclusion. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #2 the Doctor with his companions materialize in a store that specializes in selling Police Boxes… a store that sells Police Boxes in outer space! The ridiculous premise echoes elements of modern Doctor Who as well as Troughton’s era, which truly grabs your concentration immediately.
The Police Box Store is located on the Frenko Bazaar, an intergalactic trading post that is essentially a shopping mall for space travelling aliens – complete with a food court. While enjoying a bite, the Doctor spots a species known as the Voraxx, a lizard-like (almost Trandoshan you might say) race that dedicates themselves to slavery (like the Trandoshans you might say). Jamie gets himself kidnapped by the Voraxx, but it is a ruse all set up by the Doctor to get to heart of the intergalactic slave ring and to put an end to it.
Considering that each Doctor has only a single issue of wiggle-room for an adventure, that’s a difficult writing challenge – yet with issue two, Scott and David Tipton both manage to surpass expectations. Not only do they capture the best essences of the chief characters, including two of the most important companions in Doctor Who history, but they also manage to show an appreciation for the surreal elements that often crop up in the series, both classic and contemporary. Their approach to writing Troughton’s Doctor is superb, and a far better achievement than their work with the previous issue.
The artwork in the Troughton issue is also a massive improvement upon the first. Inside the confines of this issue, a new art team has come forth, and their efforts tower above and beyond Issue One. Lee Sullivan’s art is stunningly close to the likenesses of the characters from the series, but holds onto a lingering tip-of-the-hat to the classic Doctor Who comic strips from the Sixties and Seventies as well.
It’s a delight to behold to see such reverence paid to Troughton’s era. The colors by Phil Elliot are bright, vivid, and surprising in some places. His contributions provide a slight variation here and there (Zoe’s outfit is different, as an example) to give fans a different glimpse of the Whoniverse. Combined, their artwork is phenomenal.
On a side note, and one of favoritism, I am thrilled that Wendy Padbury’s character of Zoe some nice attention in this issue. Out of all the Doctor Who companions, she remains my favorite and (hubba hubba ooh laa laa) the love of my life. Zoe interposed something more than just the "pretty girl assistant" for the Doctor, and was a highly intelligent mathematician and scientist by her own rights. She was a revolutionary character for the series, and endowed a glimpse of what was to come in the future. Unfortunately, this shines through only in a limited fashion in this issue. If I had my way, Zoe would have her own comic series. But that’s just me.
On the combination of work between writing and artwork, I’m starting to get the feeling that there’s much more to the eye with the ongoing overarching story arc of Prisoners Of Time. There are several things meticulously rendered in the background of specific frames in this issue that associate very much to the Doctor’s previous and future experiences. The most notable one was the Police Box store, but the other was the Hat Store showing a majority of hats the Doctor’s worn, including the Fez and the Stetson. There are other especially subtle tips in there as well, so I am guessing that there’s some connectivity here that we will need to revisit as the series progresses.
Doctor Who fans, particular those who appreciate the Troughton era, will be highly impressed with this issue. It’s got a good pace, and the artwork is stellar. I think sci-fi fans and casual readers might be interested in this one too, though I will add that if you pick this one up, you might as well grab #1 as well so that you don’t get too lost. Definitely worth a look, even if it is only just to see a glimpse of the Ice Warriors again!