Best Shots Advance Reviews: DOCTOR WHO, DANGER CLUB


Doctor Who #1

Written by Andy Diggle

Art by Mark Buckingham and Charlie Kirchoff

Lettering by Shawn Lee

Published by IDW Publishing

Review by Pierce Lydon

'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

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Andy Diggle takes over as the head writer of the latest volume of Doctor Who and from the outset, it’s clear why he got the job. Combining his love for the franchise with the serious comic book writing chops he showed on and , Diggle crafts a somewhat straightforward introduction that posits many more questions than it answers, in classic Doctor Who fashion. Mark Buckingham is along for the ride, marking his first direct collaboration with Diggle with an exclamation point.

Great Doctor Who stories combine the best of , and to create stories that are wonderfully weird, oddly affecting and have you cheering by the end of them. The first part of Diggle’s “The Hypothetical Gentleman” is setting itself up for greatness.

The Doctor does as he is wont to do. He takes Rory and Amy to the Great Exhibition in 1851 as a wedding anniversary present. But no giant room full of ancient artifacts is safe when the Doctor is around especially when a telepath, her husband and a homemade quantum resonator are involved. This is where Diggle succeeds. He infuses the dialogue with the wit and heart that has been a mainstay of the franchise while delivering on big sci-fi ideas.

There hasn’t yet been any revelation of a regular series villain such as the Weeping Angels or the Daleks but Diggle doesn’t need to lean on them. Simply knowing the Doctor’s penchant to get angry when things are out of his control and the way the story unfolds, Whovians are sure to be excited for what comes next.

And maybe that’s the biggest problem I can find. Whovians will be excited but to a new reader with no familiarity with the Doctor (and specifically Matt Smith’s portrayal) there is no sense of anticipation for the conclusion of this arc and enjoyment of the first part is so reliant on the surprising revelation at the end.

Mark Buckingham’s work in this issue is very strong. His layouts are simple and clear. His sense of storytelling is on point as well. He has some trouble recreating the faces of some of the actors from the television show with absolute accuracy but that’s to be expected to some extent. There’s never a point where the characters are unrecognizable compared to their television counterpart but a few times they look a little bit off.

The best parts of the book come when he has to draw the insides of the Great Exhibition. The halls are filled with artifacts and knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes and Buckingham does a wonderful job at rendering them. Things like the quantum resonator have a suitably steampunk look to them that definitely sells the Victorian era.

Doctor Who #1 is another solid entry in the storied Who franchise. While it may not hold immediate appeal for anyone wondering just what this Doctor guy is all about, it should be enough to at least pique some curiosity and send them diving backwards into glut of material from the past. Diggle remains true to the current status quo of the series, and fans will get to spend some more time with the Ponds.


Danger Club #4

Written by Landry Q. Walker

Art by Eric Jones, Michael "Rusty" Drak and Garry Black

Lettering by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Published by Image Comics

Review by David Pepose

'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10

People always talk about accessibility in comics, about every issue being someone's first, about spoon-feeding every bit of relevant exposition into every single issue, to make sure every single passerby won't be left in the dust.

And then there are books that are so exciting, so excellently executed, that it doesn't matter if you don't have the backstory. Books that are so dazzling, they don't just hook you in — they make you want to work for it, to go back and buy all the back issues you can to learn more.

Danger Club is one of those latter books.

Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones' post-apocalyptic spin on the Teen Titans is one of those books that is a pure joy to read. It's one of those books that reminds me of the dynamic, action-heavy, super-stylish comics that got me hooked as a kid in the first place. Walker doesn't hold your hand but instead takes bold strides with every page, daring readers to take a leap into a story of violence, betrayal and threats almost too big to comprehend.

The secret? Confidence, and the imagination to back it up. Walker doesn't even introduces characters like Kid Vigilante or the Magician by name, but instead trusts in their characterization to pull you in. From Kid Vigilante gritting his blood-spattered teeth as he defiantly shouts "I always have a plan" to the Magician making his way to the great beyond by use of an ominous-looking needle, Walker manages to take the Teen Titan archetypes and really bend them to his advantage. We're made all the more desperate because these characters are both familiar and incredibly new.

Yet this book wouldn't be a fraction as potent without the stellar artwork involved. Artist Eric Jones and colorist Matthew "Rusty" Betancourt wipe the floor with a good percentage of their counterparts at Marvel and DC, and if they toil in relative obscurity after this series is over, it'll be a crime against comics. Energetic (particularly with the colors) and able to instantly switch from endearing to iconic to ultra-violent, there's a lot to love about the visuals to this book.

Think of Steve McNiven's cartoony little brother, and you've got Danger Club. You've got emotive characters, such as Jack Fearless, who you sense struggling after the deaths of his comrades last issue; you've got dynamic layouts, including Kid Vigilante holding his own against a horde of armored guards; you've even got larger-than-life environments, such as the other world that the Magician explores in the hope that he'll find the missing superheroes and restore order to the world.

To be honest, the only thing that could have made this issue better would have been a caption here or there just explaining names and powers, or even mentioning people by name, but that's a tiny blemish that will only drive away the close-minded. Danger Club is as good as it gets, and will only read better in a collected form. But let's be honest here: this is a comic that earns your attention, demands your respect, and is absolutely worth coming into, cold or not. The world's greatest superheroes might just be the ones you haven't even heard of yet.

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