Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who: The Iron Legion

Publisher: Panini UK
Release Date: January 22nd 2013
Genre: Sci-Fi/Media Tie-In

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Other Doctor Who Reviews: Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Archives Omnibus Vol. 1 / Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume 1 

I don’t know what it is about this particular collection of Doctor Who comics compared to the previous ones I read, but these just come across as more fun. Maybe it’s the presence of Baker’s Doctor that does this, or the lack of Rory and Amy, or the fact the artwork is more consistent, but I definitely found myself enjoying this one a bit more!

Doctor Who: The Iron Legion is a collection of comics from the Doctor Who Magazine, combining various story arcs and issues and putting them in one handy book. These particular ones introduce a companion unique to the comics – Sharon, who ends up travelling with the Doctor after story arc ‘The Star Beast’.

We get two adventures prior to Sharon’s introduction. ‘The Iron Legion’ shows an alternative timeline. The Roman Empire never fell and, in fact, it flourished to take over the galaxy. This is a pretty fun adventure, as the Doctor discovers more about the Empire and works out who the real head of Rome is.

‘The City of the Damned’ is, again, a lot of fun, as our good friend tries to get to Benidorm but ends up on a planet where the people are not allowed to feel any kind of emotion. Now, this is not just the Doctor, but Baker’s Doctor, and he’s not just going to walk away from a place where people aren’t allowed to smile or laugh. He of course gets himself captured, but joins up with some rebels who are working on bringing emotion back.

In ‘The Star Beast’ we meet Sharon, who along with her friend discovers Beep the Meep, an adorable, cute alien currently being hunted by scary aliens. But looks can be deceiving. Sharon shows herself as brave and clever in this story, so of course she appears again in the next one. But sticking with ‘The Star Beast’, out of all the stories presented here this one feels the strongest. The art isn’t perfect, but the cartoon aspect to it really suits the Meep. There are some really nice moments in this one, and Sharon, as a character, really stands out, making it so satisfying when we shift to ‘The Dogs of Doom’ to find she’s still with the Doctor. This takes both characters away from Earth, where they meet some very American trucker-type cargo haulers, working for a galactic empire that comes under attack from what seem to be werewolves.

As usual with Doctor Who, there’s more going on here than it first appears, and our Doctor has to work out what’s happening in time to save everyone. The final story, ‘The Time Witch’, was a bit of a low point to finish this on. A woman is locked away for eternity, and when she emerges she finds herself in a dimension where she can do anything she likes. The Doctor and Sharon arrive and the ‘witch’ does everything in her power to get rid of them. It’s interesting, because in a sense it feels like a different Doctor – especially in the new era – would have handled this differently, but here he goes straight into battle mode.

Still, it’s a fun collection and an enjoyable read, touching on many ideas and themes that are stables of Doctor Who. Definitely one to check out if you’re a Who fan.

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