Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur
Written by Gary Russell, Art by Nick Roche, Jose Maria Berdy, Steffano Martino and Marco Pierfederici
IDW, 144 pp.
Rating: Teens (13 +)
Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur comes courtesy of Gary Russel and a bevy of artists, including Nick Roche of Doctor Who: The Forgotten. It’s a long, convoluted tale of the Doctor and Martha as they’re roped into a scheme to defeat some ancient, evil being from beyond our reality.
This story is a bit of a mess. It starts off with a one shot that seems to have no connection to the overall arc of the book, only the framing sequences give it any sort of the connection to the rest of the series. From there, very slowly, a large story begins to emerge but it does so at a snails pace. Essentially The Doctor and Martha find themselves sucked into a plan concocted by a group known as The Pantheon to defeat an ancient, nameless evil. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s the way the plan unfolds that leaves you scratching your head. Why the elaborate ruse? Why all the intrigue? To make matters worse, The Pantheon is given zero personality beyond this plot, and only one member has anything vaguely resembling a regular talking role. Instead a lot of time is given over to one off adventures until the final few chapters, at which point all is revealed and the story careens head first to a conclusion that comes so quickly and suddenly that it feels terribly anti-climatic. Also, while the Doctor and Martha are more or less themselves, something about Russel’s writing and dialogue feels a bit off.
The artwork doesn’t help much as it’s all over the place due to the number of artists involved. I was rather keen on the later artwork, which I believe was done by Martino and Pierfederici though I’m not sure since there aren’t any specific chapter breaks in this collection. They seemed to do a fantastic job at catching Martha and The Doctor’s likenesses while keeping a nice amount of detail to the rest of the art as well. The earlier chapters are a bit too cartoony, which is odd since some where done by Nick Roche and I had no problems with his art in Doctor Who: The Forgotten.
Honestly, I think Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur is a bit of a mess. It feels like it could have been streamlined immensely to make the story a much easier, less convoluted read and probably would have cleaned up some of the head scratchingly obvious plot holes to boot. It certainly tried to be incredibly epic, spanning several time periods and planets, but in the end it just felt a bit silly and fairly forgettable.