Titan Books have once again been kind enough to send me an advance preview of a new Doctor Who book, this one featuring the adventures of the Eighth Doctor. Seeing him in modern Who’s short but sweet “Night of the Doctor” certainly has its perks on the licensing front! Like the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, he gets a new Titan-specific companion, but I wouldn’t hold my breath about seeing the Time War in the book’s pages. I could be wrong, of course, and even hope I am – would love to see it start to intersect his adventures – but the only thing that matches “Night” right now is the haircut. Even the tone is fairly light. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
“The Pictures of Josephine Day”
Writer: George Mann (he’s written a couple of Doctor Who novels for BBC Books – including the premiere War Doctor novel – and done some work for Big Finish)
Artist: Emma Vieceli (has worked on all sorts of comics, from Manga Shakespeare and Marvel Girls to Jem and the Holograms and My Little Pony; she is the co-creator of Dragon Heir)
Though this first issue presents a nice little one-off about monsters escaping from paintings in a sleepy Welsh village, there’s a longer arc at work regarding the new companion Josephine “Josie” Day. Mann is pulling an “Impossible Girl” conundrum on us and the Doctor, as Josie shouldn’t be painting monsters from his earlier adventures. And as happens in the Eleventh Doctor’s television adventures, the only way to crack the mystery is obviously to offer her a trip in the TARDIS. My hopes for Josie are that she isn’t just her mystery, and that the joke about her being a cipher on the inside front cover is just that, a joke. My other hope is that being an artist is a strong part of her identity; I don’t think we’ve seen someone like that paired with the Doctor yet. As I was saying earlier, Mann’s Doctor isn’t really touched by the darkness of his latter-day adventures, so perhaps the Time War is still a good ways off. Instead, the Eighth Doctor is closer to the youthful exuberance and Byronic leanings of the TV Movie. Readers unfamiliar with his tenure will recognize more recent Doctors in that attitude, at least.
Emma Vieceli’s art has a touch of the Manga in it – in fact, the script plays with it by introducing “animae particles” – the companion even having brightly-colored hair, but I do wish it had a darker inking job over it, especially early on. I was wondering if Hi-Fi’s color palette was limited to pastels, or what. But it gets better within a few pages and there’s hope (that word again, I guess I want Eight to have some success despite not being one of the big TV Doctors) that future chapters will be darker.
So here’s to finding out what the mystery of Josie’s powers is, but more importantly, what makes her tick as a character! The Eight Doctor Adventures’ first issue comes out November 4th.