Doctor Who #1: The Crystal Palace
As a massive Doctor Who fan, I was less than pleased that writer Andy Diggle had been tapped to kick off the next era in IDW’s Doctor Who comic series. I’ve had issues with Diggle since his abysmal work on Daredevil: Shadowland, so I cracked open Doctor Who #1 with great reserve. Surprisingly, the story here is quite good and Diggle does a nice job transitioning the TV personalities of the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory to comics quite well. Sadly, Doctor Who is still a misfire, but not because of Diggle.
Let’s start with the story. The issue opens in London in 1851. A husband and wife team is attempting a séance to help a couple talk to the woman’s dearly departed father. Problem is, the whole thing is a ruse. Their trickery uncovered, the husband and wife sit and await the coming of the Bobbies. Don’t cast aspersions just yet my friends, for the husband and wife team have reason for their deception. Years earlier, a mysterious force possessed the wife and she gave directions to build a machine, one that looks like a giant mirror. Using their life savings to build it, the husband and wife were devastated to find it didn’t work.
Cue the arrival of the Doctor, Amy and Rory. The good Doctor has brought his two companions to The Crystal Palace, years before it was moved to the south of London. Inside the Palace, the giant mirror stands, having been sold by the husband and wife team when money became scarce. The Doctor senses something is amiss and sends for the husband and wife to try and figure out what the mirror is and where it comes from. The Doctor and Amy attempt to trace a faint alien reading and make a most shocking discovery, while a shadow hand reaches out from the mirror and pierces Rory’s chest. Exciting stuff. A story I would definitely want to check out the next issue of
The art. The art is terrible. Awful. I mean some of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Mark Buckingham attempts to inject a bit of watercolor finery to the scene and ends up making a mess. First, there is no life to anything happening in Doctor Who #1. The images just lay on the page, even the eyes are dead. Buckingham also has a problem with proportions. At times, The Doctor’s head seems like its enormous, at other times, it looks like moving Jell-O. One particularly harsh panel has Amy Pond screaming, which Buckingham represents with a circle. Seriously, it’s a circle. Amy ends up looking like a blow up doll. Panel after panel, the art is atrocious.
Doctor Who #1 is a win for Andy Diggle, but he needs to get a new artist fast.
(4 Story, 2 Art)