The Doctor is arrested and put on trial for changing the course of history. Sound familiar?
The premise of ‘Fugitive,’ IDWs four-part comic storyline (the second in its ongoing series), is a simple one at first glance. The Doctor is put on trial for his life by the Shadow Proclamation after saving the life of Emily Winter in the previous arc, but he soon discovers corruption within the Proclamation. The storyline, however, quickly turns expectations on its head, as the Doctor discovers the prison barge is to be destroyed before it reaches Volag-Noc.
Writer, Tony Lee (Amazing Fantasy; Doctor Who Magazine) presents us with a rogue’s gallery – from Krillitane to Ogrons, Draconians to Sontarans – against the background of an oncoming war, as the Doctor fights to save his life and his enemies-come-companions. The storyline is strong and memorable, complemented by bold art that may seem harsh to the eye at first, but soon becomes beautiful and perfectly suited.
Matthew Dow Smith’s (Nightcrawler; Hellboy) art is somewhat reminiscent of John Ross’s (current artist on Doctor Who Adventures), but the pages are crafted more expertly, lending a fluidity to the comic. A fan since he was six years old, Smith is obviously as familiar with the characters as Lee, whose references to the past could – thrown in more carelessly – risk becoming like fan fiction, but instead are an indulgence for fans new and old.
There are obvious parallels to other storylines and characters, but Lee acknowledges this, and makes the tale fresh, with great cliffhangers that are sure to keep you hooked (part two’s, surely inspired by The Caves of Androvani, is pure brilliance). These amalgamate in a satisfying ending, which also foreshadows his final tenth Doctor arc, Final Sacrifice, later in the year, ending the series at issue 16 before re-launching (with Smith back on art duties).
IDWs numerous covers are also an incentive to buy the series, although it can be frustrating if the comic book store does not stock the one you want, or if they charge extra for the Retailer Incentives.
Al Davison returns to the series in the next storyline, Tesseract, alongside Lee; I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that his art will prove more realistic than his previous venture!
Fugitive was released alongside Silver Scream in trade paperback format last month.