The Eighth Doctor and Josie arrive in Victorian Edinburgh to see a performing illusionist named Silversmith (check this). All seems well until the showstopper: a mirror illusion where Silversmith can clamber into one and emerge, unharmed, from another. However, when some members of the audience try it, they don’t come out quite the same and the Doctor’s investigation takes him beyond our Universe.
Whilst there’s very little contribution to Josie’s story arc here, she gets some great little moments of characterisation – like chiding the Doctor for techno-babbling – which is good to see this early on into her tenure. The artwork is simple and stylistic, doing an excellent job portraying the many action moments in this story, especially when it comes to faces. (Artist)’s style is, however, a little inconsistently applied, with some of the quieter moments featuring the Doctor looking pained when I think she was going for awe.
The story alternates between two settings: the dingy backstage of a theatre and an otherworldly setting that I won’t give away. Because of the limited time, it’s not surprising that the latter goes tragically under-explored. Writer George Mann has created the potential for a lot of imaginative story ideas to spring from this location and, luckily, there’s a hint that the place may come into play later on. For now, Mann has engineered events to stay fairly static so that the plot breathing space but ensured there was plenty of imagination still on display – there’s a monster present in the story that will give TV viewers Flatline flashbacks. That said, the creativity didn’t extend to the colouring, which didn’t vary much between environments and made it tricky to distinguish between the two. Whilst there’s a logical reason for this in the story, once you learn what this new world is (rather than where), you wonder how such an opportunity for inventive use of colour was missed.
Though Silversmith initially comes off as a campy panto villain, he becomes more and more interesting the more we learn about him. He’s from that special class of villain that think they’re doing you a favour. This is undermined somewhat by a twist near the end, but it made him an effective villain for the bulk of the story nevertheless.
Ultimately, this is a fun, straightforward adventure that makes the most of its self-contained nature. The intriguing location will hopefully be explored more in later stories but George Mann has done an excellent job at making sure we weren’t short-changed on this outing.
- Writer: George Mann
- Artist: Emma Vieceli
- Colorist: Hi-FI
- Letterer: Comicraft
- Cover A: Rachael Stott & Hi-FI
- Cover B: Photo Cover by Will Brooks
- Publisher: Titan Comics
- Format: Softcover
- Page Count: 32 PP
- Price: $3.99
- On Sale: January 6th