Doctor Who: The Forgotten
Written by Tony Lee, Art by Pia Guerra
IDW, 146 pp.
Rating: Teens (13 +)
I dip my toes into the waters of the great and vast Doctor Who comic franchise with a look at Doctor Who: The Forgotten by Tony Lee and Pia Guerra. The Doctor and his companion Martha find themselves trapped in a museum culled from the long history of the Doctor and his various incarnations. With his memories fading and various enemies from his past pursuing him, the Doctor must unravel the mystery of how they got there and why before it’s too late.
The Forgotten follows something of a formula and sticks to it with each chapter. Some monster pops up and chases the Doctor while he flashes back to a previous incarnation, depicting short adventures from each one. Throughout this there’s the mystery of how he and Martha ended up in the museum, who brought them there and why. The eventual pay off is fraught with twists and turns and, like much of this book, calls back to adventures from the original TV series. It’s a perfectly acceptable, middle of the road adventure with tons of cameo’s and nods that are sure to appeal to long term Doctor Who fans. It’s a very dialogue heavy book, but I never felt this got in the way of my ability to enjoy it. Furthermore Tony Lee does a very good job at capturing David Tennant’s voice, the actor who portrayed the Tenth Doctor in three seasons of the TV series. He really nailed the rhythm and tone of the character. I didn’t feel that the voice of Freema Agyeman, the actress who portrayed Martha, faired quite as well though in fairness there’s an in story explanation for why that might be.
Pia Guerra does a good job at capturing the various likenesses of the different Doctors. With each face and costume looking accurate, but never quite crossing that line into photo realism which some comics using actors likenesses tend to cross. That’s a good thing as often times the faces becomes far more detailed than the surrounding art and is often stiff, lifeless and sticks out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately, while Guerra’s art is fantastic, clear and easy to follow, the process of putting it up on the Emanga e-reader renders it null and void in places. In several instances double page splash images or panel layouts stretching across two pages are broken up due to the organization of the pages in the e-reader. This really impacts the flow and ruins some of the impressive “wow” scenes. On more than one occasion I found myself having to jump back and forth between two pages in an attempt to follow dialogue or a panel-to-panel sequence, something that really hurts the flow of the story. On a related note I ran into a bit of a problem with the lettering. Often times the text was so small that it was difficult to read without enlarging the page considerably. This in turn affects the flow as it requires a lot of moving pages up and down, side to side and such to make out what’s being said.
In the end I found Doctor Who: The Forgotten to be a fun little read that didn’t really add a whole lot to the mythos but at the same time honored it nicely. It’s not required reading for fans of the franchise by any stretch of the imagination, but it is undeniably fun to see all Ten incarnations of the Doctor appearing in one story.