4 out of 5
These are a lot of fun! Collecting (I believe) all of Grant Morrison’s Doctor Who strips from the old UK mag, the first time I read these I wasn’t as familiar with the British comic magazine pacing – 6-8 page serialized strips – which was to my readerly detriment; I was expecting something a bit more epic and sweeping, I think, as opposed to bite-sized. But years of reading 2000 AD behind me now, I love the format, and I love Grant’s take on it with the sixth and seventh doctors in these three stories.
‘Changes’ is a two-parter starring the 6th doctor, and a stowaway shapechanger on board the TARDIS. ‘Culture Shock!’ is a quick single with Sylvester McCoy. Issue 2 collects the entirety of ‘The World-Shapers,’ which coincidentally ties in to an old TV serial I’d literally just finished watching (Patrick Troughton’s The Invasion), and does some timey-wimey stuff with Doc’s history.
Issue 1 is a hoot. John Ridgway takes us through Changes, and Grant sets up a great rhythm of patter between the companions and Doctor, as well as that sprinkle of Morrison-y pseudo-sci-fi jabber that he always makes sound so legit. Brian Hitch has the opportunity to go quite wild with his art of Culture Shock, in which a depressed seventh doctor is revitalized by the mission of having to coax a sentient hive-mind culture to fight off a virus in its host body. Issue 2’s World-Shapers (Ridgway again) bites off a bit more than its three parts can afford to handle, swooping back through Doctor 1 and Doc 2’s history, and jamming in some impressive retconning (which I’m curious as to whether or not is regarded as canon…?), but ideas are too big for the space and so it feels like it doesn’t quite get the twisty or impactful conclusion it needs. It’s still a good ride, though, and, of course, it’s great having these classic strips all collected in a new publishing.