This one is going to be a different format. Doctor Who #23 is the last issue of the Marvel run, while IDW’s Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #10 contains one of the same stories, but continued on. However, both have different comics after that. So I’m going to do a bit of comparison as I’ve been going back and forth between both as my collection ended up with. Which is better will depend on your preference, but I’ll be looking at the stories inside. This is going to be a long article but it’s the only one I have time for this week.
Doctor Who #23
Marvel Comics Group (August, 1986)
Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #10
IDW Publishing (September, 2009)
COVER ART (BOTH COMICS): Steve Parkhouse (it’s the same artwork with different trade dress and colorists)
MARVEL COVER COLORIST: George Roussos
MARVEL INTERNAL COLORIST: Andy Yanchus
IDW COLORIST: Charlie Kirchoff
“Lunar Lagoon” (from both comics) and “4-Dimentional Vistas” part 1 (IDW only)
(originally published in Doctor Who Monthly #76-77 and #78)
WRITER: Steve Parkhouse
ARTIST: Mick Austin
“Voyage To The Edge Of The Universe”
(originally published in Doctor Who Monthly #49)
WRITER: Paul Neary
ARTIST/ADDITIONAL DIALOG: David Lloyd
“An Unearthly Child: The Unscreened Edition
(originally published in Doctor Who Winter Special 1983/1984)
Tim Quinn & Dicky Howett
From my “it just came out “review from Doctor Who Classics, which was part of a “speed run” review that week.
The first story I actually have already, as it was the final story reprinted during the Marvel US run back in the 80’s. (Number 23, to be exact.) The Doctor believes he is in 1983 on an uninhabited island. Instead he ends up captured by a Japanese soldier name Fuji who is still fighting World War 2–as are the airplanes of that period in the air, one of which bombs the TARDIS. An American pilot is shot down, and Fuji goes to take him prisoner as well, but because the Doctor was able to get the bullets out of his gun, the Japanese is instead killed by the American.
In the next story, the Doctor comes across the American (whose name isn’t given in this story) who tells him the year is 1963. Instead of just assuming he got his date wrong (which has happened quite often throughout the series, he instead believes he’s on a parallel Earth and lost in time. He ends up wandering into the ocean while lost in thought and nearly drowns until the American saved him. The Doctor decides to take him along as a new companion.
Neither soldier in the story really wants to be part of the war, and are only there via circumstances. It could have been an interesting look at the two sides, but it just doesn’t work for me. It’s probably one of Steve Parkhouse’s weaker stories. I would have liked to have seen Fuji join along with “the American” (who I hope gets named next story) to see how the two get along. I also find it fascinating that the US Marvel run ended just before the first American companion. (In the comics, anyway–I don’t know if this story predates Peri, although continuity wise it would have to, since Peri was there when Peter Davidson regenerated into Colin Baker.) Not a strong story, but I’m at least interested to see what Parkhouse did with it since I’ve enjoyed his Who stories in the past.
The American would later be named, Angus “Gus” Goodman. You can find reviews of the rest of “4-Dimension Vistas” here and here. Meanwhile, Marvel posted two comic stories in their final issue, rather than continue with this tale. It’s an interesting one to go out on, but it missed introducing a new Companion and the rare American one.
So what stories did they go with? The second follows a survey by the Daemons led by Commander Azal, a recurring Who foe from the old days, although with only one TV appearance. I’m not sure that it is the same character though, given that TV Azal is supposed to be the last of his kind but here he’s trapped between dimensions. I’m getting ahead of myself. The Daemons are looking for the edge of the universe and after years of travel finally find what they think is the end. Azal explores the void they stop in alone first and comes across another Azal. As they make contact they fuse into one being but can’t decide which universe to go back to improve. Eventually both versions of the survey team decide he’s gone and opt to leave. And apparently this isn’t the first time this has happened. Azal is just the latest in a long line. It’s an okay story but like I said, I don’t know if this is the same Azal the Master tried to summon in the serial “The Daemons” or not.
The final Marvel tale is a parody of “An Unearthly Child”, the very first episode. It pokes fun at the limited budget, the mistakes in adaptations that came later, and the girls screaming a lot. It’s not hilarious but it is cute.
And here’s the problem with choosing the Marvel finale over the IDW continuing story. Both comics have one story the same, the coloring works for both, but both also have some interesting tales. IDW just continues the story while Marvel has some interesting side stories that you might not be able to find again. That’s why I have both, but decide for yourself which you prefer. Either way I’m caught up with Doctor Who single issues, but while future articles will return to our favorite Time Lord’s classic adventures I’m going to start a new series on Wednesdays next time. Let’s just say I’ll be going where the Doctor has gone before. I think that’s cryptic enough.