Published on July 7th, 2016 | by Steven Roman
Review: Doctor Who: Supremacy of Cybermen #1
Crossovers—if there’s one thing comic fans can’t seem to get enough of, it’s epic stories in which their favorite characters team-up for a major event.
And when you have a show like Doctor Who, where the lead character has been played by twelve actors over the course of its fifty-three-year history, crossovers become a staple of the franchise. Starting in 1973’s “The Three Doctors,” in which the first three incarnations of the heroic Time Lord—played by William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee—teamed up to prevent the universe’s destruction, multi-Doctor events have become a favorite storyline among fans. There’s been “The Five Doctors” (1983, with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, Troughton, Pertwee, a stand-in for the then-deceased Hartnell, and a wax dummy standing in for Fourth Doctor Tom Baker), “The Two Doctors” (1985, with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker and Troughton), “Time Crash” (2007, with Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Davison), and the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor” (2013, with Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, Tennant, and the newly created “War Doctor,” John Hurt). And that doesn’t even count the numerous Doctor crossovers created by audio-drama production company Big Finish, from their 1999 debut release, The Sirens of Time (with Doctors Five, Six, and Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy) through their own DW 50th anniversary special, The Light at the End (with Doctors Four through Seven, and Eighth Doctor Paul McGann).
In 2015, publisher Titan Comics decided to get in on the fun, producing Doctor Who: Four Doctors, a five-issue miniseries in which Doctors Ten and Eleven bumped into current Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi (and a double of him, hence four Doctors). The positive response to that Paul Cornell–scripted, Neil Edwards–illustrated event has, naturally, led to a sequel.
And so we have Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #1, written by George Mann (Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor: A Matter of Life and Death) and Cavan Scott (Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor), and illustrated by Alessandro Vitti (Captain America & Hawkeye), Ivan Rodriguez (Vampirella vs. Dracula), and Tazio Bettin (Sally of the Wasteland). Long before Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the Borg, that terrifying alien race that assimilated other cultures by turning living creatures into humanoid-cyborg mash-ups, there were the Cybermen, who made their debut in the 1966 Doctor Who serial “The Tenth Planet” (which was also original series lead William Hartnell’s final starring role as the First Doctor). They’ve returned again and again to plague the Doctor, and in this new five-issue miniseries—timed to celebrate the Cybermen’s own 50th anniversary—they’re taking on Doctors Ten through Twelve, who are joined by new crossover participant, Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston.
Mann and Scott—who previously collaborated on Titan’s Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor 2015 Holiday Special—hit the ground running in this first issue, with the quartet of Doctors facing busloads of trouble from dinosaurs, two races of alien warriors, and, yes, Cybermen. As one would expect, the story here is pure setup, leading to the obligatory cliffhanger ending—but it’s one certain to pique the interest of Whovians everywhere.
Artwise, three pencilers means the comic is a bit of a mash-up, but Vitti, Rodriguez, and Bettin avoid having their styles clash and succeed in making certain that each Doctor looks like the actor who portrays him. And they definitely bring an energy to their respective pages that matches the action-packed story they’re handling.
Bottom line? A fast-paced adventure starring the four incarnations of twenty-first-century “NuWho,” taking on some of their oldest enemies, should definitely appeal to the current generation of fans, as well as longtime Whovians (like me) who‘ve always gotten a charge from multi-Doctor stories.
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #1
Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott
Art by Alessandro Vitti, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tazio Bettin
Main cover art by Alessandro Vitti
Publisher: Titan Comics
32 pages • full-color
Now on sale