Monday, March 28, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

We were going to try and interview Tony Lee at Thought Bubble last November because of his work on IDW's Dr Who comic line, but sadly he couldn't attend. Not that I'd read any of his stuff at that point, but then I'd not seen any of Deborah Watling's performances on Dr Who and it didn't stop me from interviewing her at Whooverville. So, whilst visiting our favourite comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham, I decided to rectify matters regarding Mr Lee's oeuvre and pick up a few collections. Okay, its all tenth Doctor, not my favourite by any means, but sometimes you just have to give these things a go.


The first one I opted to read was the stand-alone story "The Forgotten". This was partly because someone appeared to have scarpered with Volume 1 of the ongoing stuff, but partly also because its a ten Doctors story. Sort of. Finding himself in a museum dedicated (quite ego-massagingly) to himself, with no memory of how he arrived and only Martha for company, the tenth Doctor finds himself under attack and missing his memories. This gives the author a neat framing device for a series of vignettes involving each of the previous Doctors.

Some of these work better than others, particularly as each tale is acting as a clue to what is happening, with the result that sometimes the story-telling feels hampered by its own clever conceit. The Hartnell story is very slight, although there are some lovely nods to "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Aztecs" and the Tom Baker story is just odd, even if it does reference "City of Death". I must admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for Davison's encounter with the Judoon and Eccleston's visit to World War I (even if he does look like some sort of deranged, grinning serial killer throughout).

In fact, there are numerous witty, rye and touching references to huge tranches of the show's continuity, old and new, all done in a way that would not alienate new fans and might even encourage them to look further into the show's history. Some old favourites in the monster department make guest appearances, as do some frankly quite-impossible-to-pull-off-on-TV-without-causing-unintentional-hilarity new ones. The artwork is mostly good (apart from the really disturbing Eccleston and a point where Tennant goes a bit Cowboy BeBop in the sideburns department) and the choice of companions is almost spot on. Going as it does for a "best of" feel almost everywhere else, you do have to wonder why Mel & Kamelion get an appearance and I would be very interested to hear what the decision making process was behind who made it in and who didn't.

Despite having worked out one or two of the twists (playing as it did into something myself and the Prof thought might make an excellent plot point should they ever want to shoe-horn Tennant back into the show), the denouement was actually very touching and thankfully not what I was dreading from the build up. I can't be any more specific than that without giving the whole game away, so you'll just have to go and read it for yourself if you want to find out what I'm jabbering on about.

Multiple Doctor stories are incredibly difficult to do well, especially if you're trying to deal with every regeneration to date in a limited page count. "The Forgotten" manages it to pull it off, with an interesting story, a sympathetic tenth Doctor and a script where Rose's name hasn't just been crossed out and Martha's written in over the top. Once read, never forgotten...

2 comments:

HeadBurro Antfarm March 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

"Eccleston's visit to World War I (even if he does look like some sort of deranged, grinning serial killer throughout)"

To be fair, that's his default look in every bloody thing he does...

HeadBurro Antfarm May 19, 2011 at 2:47 AM  

"Eccleston's visit to World War I (even if he does look like some sort of deranged, grinning serial killer throughout)"

To be fair, that's his default look in every bloody thing he does...

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