29 April 2015

DWM: Mr Nobody

Although it was first printed in the 2006 Annual, that was a publication from Panini and so was the work of Doctor Who Magazine's comics team from the time. This was Scott Gray's first return to the world of Doctor Who since contributing the climactic Eighth Doctor finale The Flood, which many still herald as being amongst the best stories the show has ever offered. 

I think it's fair to say this uses the one-part format much more effectively than the earlier Art Attack, and reminded me in a way of a retelling of Rose. In that respect it could also be reminiscent of Dalek. Phil Tyson, we're told, is nobody. No future, no prospects. This is it. But then he's abducted by viscous aliens accusing him of being a terrorist reincarnated. It's an abrupt introduction to the world of the Doctor, and in a difference to the two aforementioned TV episodes it's the human that's pulled into the madcap world of the Time Lord rather than him crashing into ours.

The story of this episode is relatively straightforward. It consists of Phil being kidnapped to the ship, the Doctor turning up, then the three of them escaping to the TARDIS. I can tell Gray has put a lot of thought into its construction though, as there's still a twist in the tale as the aggressors then try to fry Britain to get Phil out of hiding - but the Doctor has of course rigged their weapons and the ship blows up. I enjoyed the ambiguous ending; whether Phil really is the Martin Luther King-like figure he's accused of being is never confirmed or denied.

The art for this story is relatively simplistic, and more of the style I'd expect from Doctor Who Adventures or Battles in Time, but perfectly serviceable. I think it's probably fair to say that John Ross' skills lie in scenery rather than humans, but the whole thing has a quite a unique style. The layout's different to Mike Collins' but that's not to say it's worse. The scenes in the cafe and on the street at the end are particularly memorable, and the art really helps to reinforce the uplifting nature of Gray's script. This is another example of the Doctor touching someone's life for a second and improving it immeasurably. The arc Phil experiences in miniature here reminds me of the plotline Russell T Davies would later use with Donna, as he discovers self-worth thanks to the Doctor's input (and saving the day!).

All in all, then, this isn't one that destined to stick in the memory, and is undoubtedly less of an event than Gray's previous story, but it's perfectly enjoyable across this length. The themes and concept feel reminiscent of Davies' television series (only setting it on Earth and a spaceship above it) and this is a pleasant way to spend a few minutes. Very nice.

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