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Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1

Review by Paul Bowler

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith return for a new adventure in Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1 (of 5), and this time the TARDIS has brought them to Victorian London in 1887, but their presence has not gone unnoticed. A sinister woman resides in a mansion of the blind, Scryclops scour the streets at night, and the insatiable hunger of a dark alien power is rising. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane will have to uncover the mystery of Lady Carstairs house, encountering new friends and enemies along the way, as they face a horror lurking in the heart of Victorian London in this all-new-adventure: Gaze of the Medusa.

From its dark, sinister opening moments in a shadow mansion, where blind servants tend to their black veiled mistress, writers Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeby skilfully build the brooding atmosphere, before we catch up with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane as they enjoy a show. Gaze of the Medusa: Part 1 is a glorious throwback to the Hinchcliffe / Holmes era of the classic TV series, from the dark foggy streets, to the gothic tone, its an issue that’s sure to induce pang or two of nostalgia for many, the characterization of the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane is also spot on, and you will find yourself completely swept along by the riveting story.

Doctor Who 4th Doctor #1

After the lumbering Scryclops capture Sarah, the Doctor finds some new allies in the form of Professor Odysseus and his daughter Athena. These scenes as the Professor fills the Doctor in on everything that’s been happening are also beautifully written, especially when the conversation turns to the field of chrononautology, and as the Doctor responds you’d swear you could almost hear Tom Baker delivering these lines word for word in your mind.

Brian Williamson’s artwork for this issue perfectly captures the look and tone from this period during the Fourth Doctor’s era, all the familiar tropes are here, dark gothic themes, horses and carriages trundling down foggy streets, weird looking monsters, and a spooky old mansion filled with horror and mystery. The panel layouts are concise enough, there are some bold full pages that cleverly punctuate key moments in the story, Williamson’s has done a superb job capturing the likenesses of the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane – there’s even a nice take on the Doctor’s deerstalker outfit from The Talons of Weng-Chiang – and the vivid colors by HI-FI stylishly enhance the tone of the story and make every detail leap from the page.

As the Doctor, Professor Odysseus, and his daughter Athena set off to rescue Sarah from the creatures lair in a mansion in Chiswick, time might already be running out for Sarah after she meets Lady Emily Carstairs and discovers that something horrible awaits for her in the mansions eerie gallery of treasures… Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1 provides an excellent beginning for this new Titan Comics mini-series, with its exciting story by Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeby, great art by Brian Williamson, colors by HI-FI, and a wealth of impressive variant covers to choose from, there is lots to recommend here, especially if, like me, you are a big fan of the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane.

Publisher: Titan Comics / Writers: Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeby

Art: Brian Williamson / Colors: HI-FI

Letters Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt