Doctor Who, Vol. 2 #14 Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Matthew Dow Smith
Colors by Charlie Kirchoff
Lettering by Shawn Lee
Covers by Mark Buckingham, Charlie Kirchoff, and Matthew Dow Smith IDW Publishing
Release Date: February 01, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
Doctor Who #14 is the second part of an ongoing escapade entitled As Time Goes By. As the title and cover art suggest, the story finds the Doctor along with companions Rory Williams and Amy Pond in Casablanca during World War II. The concept is clearly influenced by the celebrated film featuring Humphrey Bogart, with the exception that the Silurians have shown up to cause trouble.
Effectively, these Silurians – the Homo Reptilia strain of the species – have decided to rise to the surface of Casablanca, and begin taking back their planet. There are some references, both hidden and explicit, the relate to the traditional incarnations of the Silurians, Classic Doctor Who fans will be disappointed that only the modern variation of the Silurians are shown in the comic book.
Notwithstanding this, the writing is fairly solid, with most of the text in dialogue alone. Joshua Hale Fialkov does quite well at capturing the nature and personality of the main characters from the television show; from Rory’s regular self-reflection on morals and mistakes, to the Doctor’s manic nature of approaching and interacting with other characters.
In contrast, the artwork in this issue I was a little disappointed with. In previous issues, Matthew Dow Smith has done an exceptional job in maintaining a good balance between likeness and his own unique style. In #14, the pencil work is particularly angular, with considerable weight given to ink. I struggle to find the right work to describe it, but ‘angular’ and ‘blocky’ are words that come to mind. There is a detour from any likeness in this comic – with some frames producing dark shadows instead of being able to see specific details, such as Amy’s and Rory’s eyes, for example. I’ve enjoyed Smith’s art from previous issues, so perhaps this was an ‘off day’.
On the other hand, the coloring by Charlie Kirchoff helps bolster the art, and provides a nice contrast between foreground characters and their surroundings. The Silurians in particular stand out brilliantly, their green skin contrasting brilliantly with the pastel-like and slightly desaturated backgrounds. Kirchoff and artist Mark Buckingham also need to be commended for their outstanding cover of this issue, playing on the whole Casablanca theme and also using the color contrasting to magnificent effect in this instance. The cover would make an outstanding poster.
By the close of the issue, I found that I liked the story I had read, but felt some disappointment in elements of the artwork. Overall it feels like the IDW team hit something of slump with this issue, especially when taken in comparison with recent issues. I am hopeful they’ll be back up to their game in future releases. Don’t get me wrong, it is good – just not up to par when compared with previous efforts.