Friday, October 17, 2008
Grant Morrison's Dr. Who #1
"Changes", the first story in this collection is a standard Doctor vs. monster story in two parts. It has nice art by John Ridgway that seems completely in line with (the relatively little I know of) the conventions of 1980s British sci-fi comics. Nothing makes it stick out as a "Grant Morrison" comic, although there is some clever dialogue that plays off the monster's shape shifting abilities.
The second story, "Culture Shock!", is a one-parter and, at first glance, seems more like filler. It also has a standard set-up: the Doctor shows up just in time to help some alien creatures in need. But Morrison's take on the creature and its plight - linking the microscopic to the cosmic by dissolving the conceptual barrier between them - is distinctively his own and anticipates some of the ideas that show up in Animal Man, JLA, and The Filth.
Bryan Hitch is the artist here and his work was the only thing that really surprised me in the entire comic. But that's only because I had forgotten that he used to be a real cartoonist. Hitch is very talented and I like a lot of the stuff he does, but while his current style seems to be pretty suited to an action-movie take on super-heroes - like The Ultimates - it feels out of place in a book like Fantastic Four that (at its best) has never been about "realism" of any sort. Dr. Who is definitely more on the Fantastic Four side of the spectrum, so it's nice to see a bit of "cartoony expressiveness" in his work.
From a completist's perspective, I'm glad that these stories are being collected. But even though I'm a reasonably big fan of both Dr. Who and Grant Morrison, I don't think anything here is essential reading. Neither story added anything new to the way I look at the Doctor or at Morrison's work.