Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time #10
Written by Scott & David Tipton
Art by Elena Casagrande, Arianna Florean, Azzurra M. Florean
Cover by Francesco Francavilla, Charlie Kirchoff, Dave Sim
Release Date: November 06, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99
The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who is almost here, and the days are counting down until the release of The Day Of The Doctor and An Adventure In Space And Time. Meanwhile, IDW continues their ongoing celebration of the anniversary with the tenth installment of Prisoners Of Time, a multi-Doctor story spanning twelve issues. It has been the comic event of the year as far as I am concerned.
With issue #10, we turn to the David Tennant era of Doctor Who. The Tenth Doctor and companion Martha Jones arrive in Los Angeles at the Griffith Observatory during the 1950s, where Hollywood filmmakers are creating a robot-packed sci-fi movie at the location. As Martha is swept off into becoming a star in the movie, the Doctor learns that numerous members of the cast and crew are disappearing.
Hiding behind the scenes as robot props, the Doctor discovers the Quarks have returned – AI controlled robots run by The Dominators – last seen by him in his second incarnation. The Dominators have a plan for Earth, and to control the humans they intend to use the incalculable propagation of film entertainment to institute brainwashing via subliminal technology.
But the Doctor has other plans for them. He must stop the Dominators, but is also beginning to recall the invasion of his time stream by a mysterious nemesis kidnapping his companions and imprisoning them. With the revelation of the nemesis’ identity during his previous incarnation, can the Doctor take on two dangerous threats at the same time?
While the concept of authoritarian aliens trying to control the masses via subliminal domination and enslavement may sound like a hunk of cheese, it strangely works well in Prisoners of Time.
Scott and David Tipton write the story exceptionally well, with the ‘hunk of cheese’ characteristic coming across more as a tip-of-the-hat to the classic sci-fi alien monster flicks from the 1950s, during which the story is set.
The winning element is in the chemistry between the Doctor and Martha in this issue. The Tiptons nail the relationship brilliantly; depicting it as well as it was on-screen. The Doctor’s individuality exudes the lovable and quirky David Tennant sensibilities and idiosyncrasies, with much love and attention paid to this era of Doctor Who.
The overall story arc gets a smaller look-in during this issue. While we see the now-identified nemesis appear again, the segment is quick and short, with a connection made to an important sequence in the Colin Baker issue. While a little disappointing, it makes sense – the climax of the overall nemesis arc is coming to a head in issue 12, and it’s probably best to pull back from it a bit to allow it full exposure in the final issue.
The artwork by Elena Casagrande and colors by Arianna Florean with Azurra M. Florean are united to be an absolute dream team. There’s a rich vibrancy to this specific issue of Prisoners of Time, aiding to capture the love-letter approach the Tiptons take to the Tennant era. The likenesses of the main characters are stellar, but the winning element is Casagrande’s efforts in wonderful reactions of characters. Great effort is made to seamless connect a Second Doctor era villain into a Tenth Doctor era – which may not have worked on-screen, but works very well in the comic pages.
I’ve said it before – Prisoners of Time is the must-read event of the year. It’s a spectacular series, depicting each Doctor era with much care and grace, in both writing and in art. The tenth issue is of no exception, and I believe that all comic readers will continue to enjoy the series.
Overall Rating: 4½ out of 5