The Forgotten written by Tony Lee
Seeing all of the Doctor’s costumes with an additional touch for each (brolley, jelly babies, cat badge, etc) is a blast of pure nostalgia and beautifully captured by Pia Guerra. I was grinning from ear to ear! There’s a hilarious THUNK as the Doctor faints before a slapstick Martha. Nothing could have prepared me for the joy of seeing the first Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan huddled together by the TARDIS as a group of spear wielding Egyptians approached them menacingly…in monochrome! Then the scale and awe of them walking from a huge pyramid into the desert. To be able to experience the visual splendour and magic of a Hartnell historical in black and white is simply glorious. I lavished over the pages, taking in every detail. It takes little imagination to bring these excellently drawn images to life into a moving story of the first Doctor and company larking about in the pyramids.
More superb likenesses, Troughton is all clenched jawed and rumpled and Jamie and Zoe (rightly so) look practically edible! Doctor Who in comic form is made for wonderful imagery such as the giant snake wrapped around the space station. Musical notes float through a scene as the Doctor charms the snake monsters with his recorder. There’s a wonderful portrait of the second Doctor in the access tunnel all wild eyed and torch lit. Giant spiders hunt Bessie over the South Downs shooting at her with pink lasers! There’s a very impressively coloured explosion that rocks through the museum and sees the tenth Doctor ducking out of the frame.
As you can tell I am loving this – it’s the best anniversary celebration I have seen since The Five Doctors. IDW have totally made up for their horrendous first graphic novel: 10/10
Pick pocketing and cricket ball swaps, these Doctors are a sneaky bunch! Very enjoyable: 8/10
Look at that spider on Martha’s back, it brings back instant memories of Planet of the Spiders. There’s a great action shot as the Doctor tosses the sonic screwdriver crystal out of the frame towards the reader. The sixth Doctor blazes into the story all colour and bombast and fiery blond curls. He was made for comic books, I swear. I loved the page showing the sixth Doctor up to some industrial espionage, its an enticing look into another sort of story I wish we could have had on TV. Its odd that the artist should make Peri look so gorgeous and feminine and yet Ace winds up ill defined and very butch looking! There’s a great shot of Ace tossing Nitro Nine out of the page. There’s an ominous DONG DONG DONG of the cloister bell in the last few pages and I squealed out loud at the sight of Voc Robots and Clockwork soldiers! The last page has some exceptional artwork with real depth and warm colouring and leaving me hungry for the next instalment.
One fantastic flashback and one so-so one but with a framing story that is getting more gripping and full of intriguing mysteries to be answered, The Forgotten continues to excite: 8/10
This is the chapter that surprised me the most with two of the shortest running Doctor’s – in terms of television exposure – both getting a sparkling little tale that enriches their era and a barrage of enjoyable twists at the end of the chapter. Like Agent Provocateur enhanced the year five billion here we have a return appearance of one of the Conglomeration from Utopia. The Doctor admits that he once convinced his greatest enemy that he was half human – proof if it was needed that he was making it up in The TV Movie. This story seems like a throwaway adventure until we realise he is looking for a component of a DeMat gun because one day soon he might have to create something that removes millions from time and space at once and lock them in Medusa Cascade! Now that is what I call exploiting the shows rich tapestry to shock your audience. This is as close to seeing the eighth Doctor during the Time War days that we have ever seen. The tenth admits that he started and ended his eighth incarnation alone. He saw Gallifrey sacrificed, burned when the Cruciform fell and he turned the key and doomed them all. Again the ninth Doctor tale looks like a throwaway visit to the First World War until we realise why he has brought Rose here and he has managed to start a footie match between the English and the Germans for one fantastic Christmas during all the madness. Once we return to the main story we discover that Martha has been the TARDIS trying to aid the Doctor all along and that the bearded man following the Doctor’s progress is not the Master but the meta crisis Doctor from Journey’s End! Shit, bollocks, bugger – how cool are these twists?
The eighth Doctor beaten in a cell with radioactive sunlight spilling through the window is an evocative image. He looks wild haired and Byronesque, every inch the romantic hero. There’s another powerful frame of the Doctor silhouetted against the burnt sunlight tinged windows. I really like the ninth Doctor and Rose in Word War I trench coats but more often than not their likenesses make them look like mannequins! The page depicting the football match is loaded with sentiment and the whole sequence has bleached out colours to give the atmosphere a respectfully grim look. There is a gorgeous drawing as light tears from the chameleon arch and bursts into some of the tenth Doctor’s most memorable memories.
Shocking, emotional and racing towards an unforgettable climax; this story gets better and better: 10/10
Madness would be the only way to describe this concluding segment with Tony Lee merrily throwing in pretty much every other companion of note that we haven’t already seen in this miniseries! I really enjoyed how the tenth Doctor mocked his alter ego with the crap beard and the crap name (the Valeyard indeed!), poor Mr Es’cartrss of Tactire is running short on originality! The observation of ‘don’t you ever stop talking?’ to the tenth Doctor made me howl with laughter. So did ‘why are we running?’ ‘Because they’re scary!’ It warmed my heart to think that the TARDIS is taking on the guises of various companions to aid the Doctor. First the beard, then the toys – this evil Doctor really wants to find another mentor other than the Master! I howled with laughter as he was destroyed screaming ‘I’m melting! What a world!’ When the Doctor’s all come face to face there are a number of fun interactions across the regenerations but I was especially tickled by the seventh Doctor’s ‘of course it was, you’re very important. Well done!’ to the sixth Doctor. You’ve never felt such a bond between the Doctor and the TARDIS and he asks one final thing of the old girl before resuming his travels and that is to see his dear Susan again which of course she arranges. I was giggling like a school kid looking at porn at the Doctor’s ‘Little squiddy no mates!’ at the Tactire!
Its one blast from the past after another in this climactic instalment. Its lovely to see Harry again and I’m sure for those of you who appreciate this sort of thing Leela looks practically edible! Unfortunately the first drawing of Mel makes her look cross eyed. Kamelion has a fight with a Voc Robot – my God could this get anymore fanwanky? Sarah Jane looks more vibrant than ever and they’ve made Adric look way more cute than he actually was! There’s a marvellously coloured explosion that throws the Doctor across the room. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight of the ten Doctor’s standing together over a two page spread – I got goosebumps and longed to have this enlarged as a poster for my study. The bearded tenth Doctor melted is…icky: 9/10
Frankly I don’t actually feel as though The Forgotten needed a particularly great conclusion because it had provided such a great ride throughout and whilst the explanations are acceptable they are kind of perfunctory compared to the nostalgia fest that is going on. This was a hugely enjoyable piece of work overall with tempting glimpses into stories we never saw and gorgeous reminders of how each era of Doctor had a unique and wonderful style of its own. We visited a whole array of different times and places and the individual segments are packed with humours and delightful little observations. As a comic book celebration of the series there is none finer that I have read and the overall piece is bursting with visual splendour and imaginative artwork.
IDW, you’ve made up for Agent Provocateur and then some – make sure you keep it up!