Writers: Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeby
Artist: Brian Williamson
London 1887, and the Doctor and Sarah’s visit to a Wild West Show doesn’t go unnoticed…
One of the many tragedies of Lis Sladen’s untimely death was that we were deprived of a reunion between her and Tom Baker in Big Finish Audio’s series of 4th Doctor Adventures. As Lis had proved in five seasons of The Sarah Jane Adventures, there was still plenty to explore with the character, and putting her back with the Fourth Doctor could well have been magic.
Titan Comics has stepped into the breach with this new miniseries (which, like the Ninth Doctor stories, I hope leads to a regular monthly run) reuniting the pair for fresh stories very much in the Philip Hinchcliffe mould. Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby’s script for this opener is a cracker, getting that horror movie vibe (with Cyclopean characters in full Victorian garb, and a ghastly gallery of exhibits that might bring to mind a certain 10th Doctor novel) counterpointing the quick wit of the Doctor and the bravery of Sarah.
Brian Williamson’s artwork, particularly for the original characters, is very good. A few of the likenesses of Tom Baker feel a bit posed, and there’s more than one place where the inking seems to follow the shading of the original photograph on which the artwork is based rather than the situation in which the Doctor finds himself, but that doesn’t apply to the rendition of Sarah, so hopefully this is something that will become less obvious as the story progresses.
Verdict: Slotting easily into the gap between Seasons 13 and 14, this is a very promising start for this stepback to the 1970s – it’s teatime in 1976 once again… 8/10