The Doctor Who Prisoners of Time Omnibus collects together the 2013 anniversary series of stories written by Scott and David Tipton. They were illustrated by a vast range of artists, including some classic artists from the history of the Doctor Who comic strips. There is also a set of essays giving a potted history of Doctor Who in comics and setting out their place in the progress of the show and the relevance they had.
For anyone who already has the individual titles, or earlier three-part collections, there is little new here except the convenience of a single 304-page compendium. For fans new to this release they have the chance to relish a massive multi-Doctor / multi-companion story. The story first has eleven instalments (no War Doctor nor appearance for Capaldi) each with a single Doctor and one or more companions. The format is simple – Doctor arrives, a local problem gets sorted and right at the end as he is about to leave, his companions get kidnapped. As time progresses the Doctor begins to understand his foe and begins to influence events. The Master appears as a threat but it is made clear he is not the main villain of the piece. For those who have yet to read this, all that needs to be said is the Tipton brothers have been rather astute in finding a foe for the Doctor, even if the final part doesn’t do much to break the mould of a classic tale.
Being the anniversary year, the final part is a chaotic multi-Doctor all-at-once melee, supported by a vast collection of companions before the inevitable happy ending. For the anniversary year this was as it should be. Outside that context it is rather self-indulgent and the ending is only saved by nature of the salvation of the enemy.
The artwork is varied as a consequence of the range of artists and it has to be said many of them fail to capture the characters at all well. Some stories seem aimed squarely at a young audience (at least visually) others have light and shade both visually and in terms of narrative. The range of stories does mean there should be something for everybody and it is hard to find fault with the second, third and sixth Doctor stories.
For anyone less familiar with the history of Doctor Who in comic form, this is informative in places, and does give an insight into the lasting appeal of comic companions such as Frobisher the penguin.
In summary, if you have a version of this already, there is little reason to add a further version; if you haven’t there is a lot here for the investment.
DOCTOR WHO PRISONERS OF TIME OMNIBUS / AUTHORS: SCOTT TIPTON, DAVID TIPTON / ARTISTS: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: 16TH FEBRUARY