11 April 2015

DWM: Art Attack

Art Attack is an efficient one-part story, but never does much to blow your boots off. It features the Doctor and Rose visiting a plush new art gallery in space - The Oriel - after the latter asks to see the Mona Lisa. 

There are a few twists along the way, but thanks to its condensed running time, Art Attack has to deliver a relatively straightforward in-and-out narrative. Cleverly, writer/illustrator Mike Collins elects to put the emphasis of the piece on character work - most notably the figure we're initially led to believe is the villain. However, this doesn't always come off wholly convincingly and it never feels like all that much of the dramatic potential is being used. 

Turning to the regulars, Collins seems to have opposite problems with the Doctor and Rose. Whilst he gets the dialogue of the former pretty bang-on, the spirit of the character isn't entirely authentic or consistent. And with Rose, he absolutely gets the character but her dialogue's off. It's completely understandable as while he may have had access to some of the scripts (or be guided by editor Clayton Hickman, who definitely had) he'd only seen two of 2005's episodes when writing. The speech patterns Billie Piper affords Rose aren't present here, but it's no biggie. My favourite moment that told me that Collins got the character was her admission that she sloped off to a theme park with her mates when she was supposed to be visiting the Louvre. 

This is a nicely drawn comic - the Escher-esque Oriel is initially visually impressive but crucial to the later plot too. Collins' work in the art department is a little more accomplished than in the writing and this story's most memorable bits are images rather than plot or concept. Dylan Teague colours the whole thing nicely, matching the tone of the piece as written. 

All in all then, Art Attack isn't an especially standout piece of Doctor Who. It's admittedly unmemorable and slight thanks to its one-episode duration. But even so, Collins' story is a little unremarkable - though pleasant enough. It's been shown how good single parters can be (I'm thinking of Time of Your Life) and this fails to meet the same kind of standard. And that's probably a good word for this: standard. It's good enough, with a nice attempt at character work, but reminded me more of the Doctor Who Adventures strips than the DWM ones. There's a joy, a vibrancy and energy to the 2005 TV series that Collins just hasn't managed to capture here. A pleasant way to pass the time, but I can think of better. 

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