Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #5
Written by Scott & David Tipton
Art by Philip Bond and Charlie Kirchoff
Covers by Francesco Francavilla, Robert Hack, Charlie Kirchoff, Adrian Salmon, Dave Sim
Publication Date: May 29, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99
With the fifth issue of Prisoners of Time, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, comes the Peter Davison Fifth Doctor Era, in which we find our as-of-yet unnamed nemesis continuing to kidnap the Time Lord’s companions from multiple epochs of this Gallifreyan’s incarnations. The story continues to ramp up in this issue, as more pieces of the bamboozle fall into place.
The Fifth Doctor, not long after his regeneration and before the heartrending confrontation with the Cybermen, arrives on an unknown desolate and dark planet to use a small crack in time (such as the one in Cardiff, Wales where the Torchwood base would be formed) to recharge the TARDIS. Along with companions Tegan, Adric, and Nyssa, they begin scouting the area only to find them under fire.
The Doctor has inadvertently landed them in the middle of a skirmish amid the Sontarans and the Rutans – one of many battles during their centuries-long war. From Rutan capture to the base of the Sontarans, the Doctor finds himself in a quandary – he knows he cannot bring this war to an end, but is there a way he can reduce the unnecessary loss of life? And while he finds himself torn between two warring factions, the unnamed kidnapper watches him from afar for the right moment to strike.
The writing in Prisoners of Time continues to be spectacular – ESPECIALLY with this issue. While Doctor Who geeks are familiar with the Rutans from Classic Doctor Who, and the Sontarans from both Classic and Nu Who, never before have we seen elements of the great legendary war between the two factions. There are allusions to numerous episodes in which both aliens appear, such as The Horror Of Fang Rock and The Time Warrior, as well as some lighter and obscure references to the modern series.
Peter Davison’s depiction of the Doctor is captured brilliantly in the writing, as are elements of the characters of Adric and Tegan.
However, just like the classic episodes from Davison’s first season, this story suffers from “too many companions,” with Nyssa being rather left out of the loop and providing filler lines that do not sum up her character very well at all.
Philip Bond and Charlie Kirchoff take on the art duties in this issue, and while Bond’s artwork may seem a little toon-esque at first, as you read through the issue it really grows on you and does well in characterizing the exchanges between our heroes and the warring parties. There are elements that remind me of Clone Wars here and there (apt, with the Sontarans being a race of clones), and actually represent that era of Doctor Who quite well.
Kirchoff’s colors are breathtaking this issue – and the reason lies in the planet being so colorless and dim. His efforts really amplify the characterizations of the Sontarans (reds and browns and blues) and the Rutans (greens and yellows), in addition to their firepower. The Sontarans retain much of their Classic-era look, with certain touches from both Bond and Kirchoff to tie them to Nu Who – but this issue of Prisoners of Time is an artistic "billet-doux" to the Davison era.
This issue, we see much more of our unnamed antagonist from the overarching plot, with the story even addressing a couple of ‘plot hole’ issues since been raised by fans with regards to the memories of the Doctor. I have no idea who this villain is, but it’s an energizing story, and this series has quickly become one of the biggest highlights of this year’s anniversary.
Whovians will love this issue, and fans of the Peter Davison era will adore its presentation. Classic Who fans will go NUTS over the Sontaran vs. Rutan war being displayed and I also still believe that casual fans and other comic readers will enjoy this issue too. As I’ve said before, Prisoners of Time has been a stellar effort thus far, and has quickly become the must-read experience of the year.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5