Spanning fifty years, Doctor Who may be better identified for its impact on television viewers, but the universe of comics have had its share of significant tales of the Time Lord, and with the finale of Prisoners of Time, we reach a closing chapter on the comic book celebrations for the 50th anniversary.
With The Time Of The Doctor still to come on television on Christmas Day, there’s still much to come – but just like the impending regeneration into the Peter Capaldi Doctor, the concluding chapter of Prisoners of Time promises that the Doctor Who comic legacy will also continue into the future.
Over 11 issues, Prisoners Of Time zones in on each individual Doctor and his companions of that era, experiencing a stand-alone adventure facing villains new and old. But across the expanse of time and space, a nemesis is reaching out and kidnapping the friends of the Time Lord – creating an overarching plot that now reaches its climax, where all eleven Doctors need to unite to rescue the companions.
The Nemesis, who I shall leave unnamed so you won’t be spoiled, has united with another former enemy of the Doctor’s – whose sole mission and purpose is havoc, destruction, and vengeance upon the Doctor in all his incarnations. With some help from the shape-shifting companion, Frobisher (popular in the comics during the 1980s, though he never made a television appearance), the Doctors must free their companions from stasis, and put a stop to the madness unleashed by the villains.
The writing by Scott and David Tipton in the closing issue is of a good quality – though it suffers from a restriction of space. With all of the Doctors now showing up, once you come to the conclusion of the issue, it feels that this final chapter would have benefited from more pages to help expand the interactions with each of the incarnations. As a result, the issue comes across as compressed or even rushed in some places, which is unfortunate, considering the strength of past chapters.
That being said, the focus on concluding the overarching plot is done rather fittingly, and convincingly (considering the union between the villains), with a major focus on redemption, consequences, and choices – electrically conveyed on the page as convincingly as it has on-screen through the years in the television broadcasts. The Tiptons have done an exceptional effort at capturing the spirit and heart of the Doctor – and this in and of itself makes up for any perceived shortfalls I think.
Another added bonus in the writing is in the appearance of other companions that did not show up in the previous issues. The Tiptons take a leaf out of the Steven Moffat approach to writing in this case, highlighting that not everything that happens to the Doctor need be seen on screen – or in this case, on the page. The Ponds show up, if even only briefly, with a nice little intro between them and Clara – and even Mickey makes an appearance. Sharp-eyed fans of the classic series should also keep your eyes open for Kamelion!
The artwork in the concluding issue is spectacular. Charlie Kirchoff continues the coloring, but Kelly Yates picks up on the art for this segment. Considerable focus is made on nailing the likenesses of the characters where possible – especially with the companions – and fans will be delighted in the efforts.
This includes some careful (and very meticulous) renderings of “the nemesis,” ensuring that some comparable likeness is achieved – symbolically it fits in to the redemption subplot I mentioned earlier, which is very important, but I shall not divulge any further so as not to spoil it for you. Just believe me when I say, the artwork is beautiful, focused, and carefully framed for the impact of the issue.
I can’t help but feel a little bittersweet at coming to the end of this series. It was so exciting to read over the course of the year, and was clearly the comic reading event of 2013 – not just for Doctor Who fans, but for comic fans in general.
The efforts that went in to the writing, the artwork, and the overarching plot have been stellar, and the creative teams should be not only praised for their efforts, but be awarded with some kind of timey-wimey statute. Is there a Gallifreyan version of the Eisner’s? Well, there should be – and if there were, these guys would not only win, they’d sweep.
Prisoners of Time is highly recommended. Check out all of the issues. Seriously, it’s worth it.