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Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Volume 1 - Gaze of the Medusa (Doctor Who New Adventures) Hardcover – January 10, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"5 out of 5!" - Kabooooom
"Pitch-perfect...9/10" - Pop Culture Bandit
"Captures the voice and tone of the longest-tenured Time Lord" - Major Spoilers
"The voices of Tom Baker and the late Elisabeth Sladen ring true in the script" - Newsarama
"Feels very much like a 70s Who story" - We The Nerdy
"Strong writing ... flawless artwork" - Blogtor Who
"I felt like I was reading a lost story.” - SciFi Pulse
About the Author
Gordon Rennie is a Scottish comics writer, responsible for White Trash: Moronic Inferno, as well as several comic strips for 2000 AD and novels for Warhammer Fantasy
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Co-writers Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby follow the lead of Baker's first producer and script editor-Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes, respectively-and provide a science fiction explanation for a horror icon-in this story, Medusa, the woman from Greek mythology whose hideous appearance is capable of turning people to stone.
But, not suffering from the constraints of budgets and special effects technology Hinchcliffe and Holmes faced, Rennie and Beeby also include a second horror icon from Greek mythology, the one-eyed Cyclops, as well as a trip through time to Ancient Greece itself and a meeting with a Zeus who looks like he wandered in from a Jack Kirby comic, as well as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
All of this is in the context of a story that sees the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith visiting Victorian London, circa 1887, and finding themselves- as well as eccentric Professor Odysseus James and his adventurer daughter, Athena, who are similar in many ways to the Doctor and Sarah Jane-caught in an alien conspiracy stretching back to the aforementioned Ancient Greece.
Rennie and Beeby employ the Fourth Doctor's trademark whimsical charm and offbeat humor to lighten their story, so effectively that the reader can hear Baker's voice.
Artist Brian Williamson provides an effective Gothic horror atmosphere through heavy use of black, and also bold page layouts that give the story an epic scale the low production budgets of Baker's day could not hope to match. In addition, Williamson's likenesses of both Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen are spot on. And colorist Hi Fi's subdued hues not only complement Williamson's spooky atmospherics, but make both the Doctor and Sarah Jane stand out more on the printed page.
"Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor-Gaze of the Medusa" blends old-style storytelling and modern art techniques to create an ideal graphic novel for fans of "Doctor Who" in general, and of the Fourth Doctor in particular.
This book is a great piece of nostalgia. Featuring the Doctor and his most beloved companion, Sarah Jane Smith, the story feels like something that could have been aired on Doctor Who during Season 13. Every page has that gothic horror feel that was so characteristic of the Philip Hinchcliffe era on Doctor Who: the settings, the monsters. In that way, it's perfect. The story and the human guest villain are solid, but not particularly great other than in their design.
My main criticism of the book is that Sarah Jane is taken out of the action for nearly two full issues out of five in the book. In a limited series, having Sarah Jane is a big deal and so taking her out of the action seems ill-advised, and the substitute companion is okay but there's no real good substitute for Sarah Jane.
Other than that, the book is worth a read for how brings a long ago era of Doctor Who to life in comic books.
Firstly, the artwork is very good; which for a Titan Doctor Who comic means exceptionally good. The main characters mostly look like their actors most of the time, though just a bit too much like they have been copied from photographic poses; in action scenes they don’t always carry it off. However, compared to most of Titan’s artists, this is still head and shoulders above the usual caricatures.
The story itself also manages to capture the ‘feel’ of a Tom Baker adventure, with some of the panel layouts looking like the perspectives you’d get from watching a TV show of the period – some of which were due to camera mobility, and some due to special effects requirements, with things having to be in particular places in order to merge the shots.
The supporting characters, a Victorian scientist and his daughter, are, however, dire, the scientist in particular.
However, many supporting characters back then were a bit dodgy, so maybe you can write that off to period atmosphere – 1970s atmosphere, that is, not Victorian.
If you are just looking for entertainment featuring your favourite Doctor and your favourite Companion from your childhood, you will be able to forgive many of these flaws; but Tom Baker was never my favourite Doctor, so I’m not going to. You, however, are free to enjoy it as much, or as little, as you want to.