Mike Yates is taking Jo Grant out on a (real) date. The Doctor is showing off to the geriatrics at the Bertram Club. The Brigadier is mustering his troops to investigate “something enormous and under intelligent control” which has just come down in Bedfordshire. All is right with the world and Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor is back in business in this latest title from Titan, who appear to be determined to issue a Doctor Who comic of some sort every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Writer/fan favourite Paul Cornell is on record as not being a particular fan of the Earthbound Pertwee era, so it’s a relief to report that he’s not tried to reinvent the wheel here, he’s not tried to turn the Pertwee TV era into something it never was to suit his own tastes. For the most part this is a pretty accurate recreation of early 1970s Doctor Who, with something extra-terrestrial crash-landing in Middle England and UNIT’s five-man army rushing in all guns blazing. As usual it’s hard to get a real handle on the spread of the story from this brisk and lively opening instalment, but Cornell has recreated the show’s regulars - and TV irregulars like UNIT second-stringers Corporal Bell and Private Osgood - with effortless ease (and often more successfully than artist Stone whose depictions of Pertwee, Katy Manning and Co. are often little more than vague resemblances). The story rattles along with the Doctor turning up (in his familiar yellow roadster Bessie) to confront hostile aliens before getting shot in the chest for his sins. Recovering quickly from the low-level blast, he whips up a sonic device to disrupt the control field which holds the aliens together before nabbing a specimen and rushing back to his lab at UNIT HQ to give it the once-over. There he finds a completely-unexpected surprise awaiting - and no, we’re not about to spoil the delightful final splash panel of this wonderfully and willfully old-fashioned and straightforward comic book romp.
Dotted with nods and references to the clichés of 1970s Who - and with another cameo appearance which will delight long-time fans hidden in its pages - The Herald of Destruction is a crisp, confident and refreshingly-unfussy strip which evokes its era with charm, wit and a real sense of joy. Roll on issue two.
DOCTOR WHO: THE HERALDS OF DESTRUCTION #1 / WRITER: PAUL CORNELL / ARTIST: CHRISTOPHER JONES / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW