Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Vol. 3 #13…
“The Doctor and Clara cross paths with Oscar Wilde and Calamity Jane in the frontier town of Deadwood as they pay their respects to the recently passed Wild Bill Hickok. But soon they discover the grave is empty and that the town is being plagued by a masked gunman who shoots his victims with nothing but a finger! Join us for the four-part “Dead Man’s Hand”! “
The Doctor goes back to the Wild West. “Yee-Haw!” etc. So, it’s back to Stetsons being cool and off we plop to the time when men were men and beans were beans (nod to Blazing Saddles). I like my Westerns and I like my Doctor Who so this is bound to be a corking issue – “Yee-Haw!”
Taking us backward in time around with the feeling of ‘A Town Called Mercy’ we start our story with a Gunslinger (who may be the reanimated corpse of Wild Bill Hickok) that can kill without a gun and just his finger (no not an Auton), Calamity Jane and Oscar Wilde all wrapped up in one story. It takes us back to Doctor Who at its best, teaching us some history but with a gruesome death and a bit of mystery wrapped around it. Though there is a problem in these Who pages and, if you’ll forgive the phrase, NuWho is to blame.
You see, Tom Baker was my Doctor as I was born in 1975 and I grew up with Doctor Who stories that took four to five weeks to resolve (or if it was part of a story arc it went on a few weeks longer), but with NuWho we don’t get that. Instead we get stories wrapped up in 45 minutes to an hour. We no longer have stories that gradually play out unwrapping mysteries as they go. These days I want my Who fix in one episode. I’ve been spoilt.
With that in mind it’s easier for me to explain my negatives about this issue; the story so far is taking so long to register a keen interest. Yes we have history, cowboys and mystery, but we have nothing that grabs our arm and screams, “Allons-y!”. Some of you may be thinking that this is a good thing and I’d have to agree to an extent, but four part comic stories like the previous story ‘Sky Jacks’ managed to pull this off perfectly. The four part serial can deliver fresh, new excitement – we’ve seen it work. Tony Lee has penned this story and for all it has my attention already with the mystery of the inventor in the hills and the phrase the masked gunman says as he kills his opponent – it’s interesting yes, but not exciting.
The look of this comic is great though, from the excellent panels drawn by Mike Collins who has got everything from the players to the town of Deadwood or Clara’s semi-detached home down, through to the perfect pallet of Charlie Kirchoff , the blues in and near the TARDIS to the clay colours of the town. The art is spot on.
All in all, buying this comic will feel more like a show of faith that this is a slow build to a perfect story.
Villordsutch is married with kids and pets. He looks like a tubby Viking and enjoys science fiction. Follow him on Twitter.