Issue two of Titan’s new Paul Cornell-scripted Third Doctor romp now establishes the series not as a serious attempt to properly evoke the storytelling style and motifs of the Pertwee era – there are no brainy boffins or pompous politicians for the Doctor to deflate or, indeed, any new supporting characters at all – but a chance for us to be remind ourselves just why the 1970s era of Doctor Who is still so fondly regarded.
This second edition revels in its cast of TV-familiar faces and Cornell continues his pleasingly-authentic recreations of them all as they now stand squarely centre-stage with even the ‘Earth invasion’ conceit of the first episode shunted aside somewhat to allow us to spend more quality time with the third Doctor and his UNIT ‘family’ and his old enemy The Master (actor Roger Delgado’s likeness nicely captured by Jones). Readers of the first issue will recall that the second Doctor (as played on TV by Patrick Troughton) has also turned up, sent by the Time Lords (the story is set after tenth anniversary TV yarn ‘The Three Doctors’) to help the third Doctor combat his latest enemy.
As the Doctors combine their titanic intellects to try to work out what the new alien arrivals want with planet Earth, the Brigadier, still out in the field where the aliens are attempting to establish a foothold in a quiet suburban street (as 1970s Doctor Who aliens were often inclined to do), receives a visit from UNIT high-up General Mayhew. But the Brigadier quickly realizes this isn’t the general, it’s the fiendish Master wearing one of his convincing replica face-masks which, Cornell cleverly explains, are a part of his living TARDIS. He uses the expanding mask to effect a spectacular escape from the UNIT chopper ferrying him back to UNIT HQ which allows the Brigadier to inform the Doctor that “the Master got away using his face as a parachute” which is a glorious, cherishable line of dialogue by any reasonable standard.
Back at the Doctor’s UNIT lab Jo Grant has been attacked and infected by the ‘transforming’ alien interloper and the third Doctor takes a trip into her psyche, which is as fab, groovy and far-out psychedelic as we might have expected. But the alien intruder already has a firm grip on Jo and, as another quality cliffhanger suggests, it isn’t about to let go without a fight. Richly imaginative, ‘Heralds of Destruction’ is shaping up into a warm, witty and wonderfully nostalgic little comic strip which doesn’t concern itself with being dark, brooding and menacing and is just happy having some good old-fashioned fun.
WHO - THE HERALDS OF DESTRUCTION ISSUE TWO / PUBLISHED BY TITAN COMICS / WRITTEN BY
PAUL CORNELL / ART BY CHRISTOPHER JONES / OUT NOW