Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And Speaking Of Dr Who...Room With A Deja View!

Generally I don't do reviews, but in some cases I tend to make an exception or two - this is one of those cases.

Rich Johnson, he of Bleeding Cool fame, sent me his latest offering, Dr Who: Room With A Deja View, and asked what I thought of it. I'll get to those thoughts in a second, but I feel it might be a good idea to have Rich set it up.

"It's a story that uses time travel in the actual structure of the comic itself," says Rich, "which can make it intentionally hard to read as a comic (I'm trying to get the reader to work a little).

"One trick is that, just as the TV show, blue means backwards in time, red means forwards, and the colours of the gutters reflect that. Basically one specific chunk of the book reads better forwards than back. But hey, we all read manga now, should be something fairly easy to work out."

Confused? Try reading it without knowing the trick.

The story itself would be interesting and entertaining without the backwards gimmick, which can be seen to great effect in the page shown here, the gimmick enhances the experience. Read the page like you normally would, then read it from the bottom to the top - it all makes sense. On first view the book is hard to read and is fairly stop-start, but once you get used to reading the blue pages in reverse, and the red pages (trust me, it'll make sense when you see it) normally the story comes out as being bloody good. Loads of Doctors (you'll have to read it to find out), the TARDIS gets multiple showings, the comic makes the reader both work and think and the whole package is worthy of purchase - I know I'm sold.

The concept of a shifting, non-linear time story is just too perfect for words, but often under-utilized for the character of Dr Who. The time shifts and execution reminded me, in a small way, of the time shifts in the classic episode Blink. The art is of a high standard, frankly I've seen far worse in more mainstream comics this week alone. If there is a quibble then it'd be that the depiction of David Tennant is a bit off in places, but hey, you want picture perfect, buy a photo.

I'd buy it, and I will. Frankly I'd say that if you're a fan of Dr Who then this, as a stand alone story, will probably make you as happy as you're going to get before the last of the specials appear on the screen.

2 comments:

Robert Thomas said...

Will definitely give this comic a go. Doctor Who comics tend to be somewhat hit and miss for me.

The recent "The Forgotten" was a bit fannish indulgent (but what the heck - loved it anyway) but this one strikes me as having a very original premise and structure.

Just imagine if Alan Moore would do a revisit to the Dr Who universe?

Dale said...

"Just imagine if Alan Moore would do a revisit to the Dr Who universe?"

I venture it would feature an angry, alcoholic Doctor doing rather pornographic things to K-9.

Seriously, I seem to recall Moore saying that he only did the stories for the checks as he couldn't stand the program, so probably to leave it there when it comes to Moore.