Titan Comics’ The Lost Dimension sees eight different Doctors encounter the Void as it threatens to undo all of time and space. It’s a purposefully ridiculous thrill ride
Multi-Doctor stories in Doctor Who, where various incarnations of our favourite Time Lord meet themselves, are traditionally affairs high in sugar and low in nutritional value. Like Death by Chocolate cakes and magnums of Champagne, they’re not usually wheeled in for regular Saturday nights in. They’re to celebrate some massive occasion like a 10th, 20th or even 50th wedding anniversary.
Titan Comics’ The Lost Dimension has no such excuse for existing, so readers could be forgiven for considering it a bit indulgent. But it’s no lavish bash, with tinkling glasses and lots of toasts to the happy couple. Instead it’s like an epic night out with your best friends. The sort of night that sees you wake up fully dressed, crumpled on the floor. Perhaps with dim memories of squinting at the chipper menu and pondering when ‘deep fried battered pizza’ became a thing. The sort of night that leaves you squinting into the afternoon Sun, a mug of coffee the size of your head in hand, declaring to the world “I regret nothing!”
Almost daring the reader to laugh along at its audacious spectacle and use of characters, Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension is unapologetically fun
This is particularly true of the opening chapter by Cavan Scott and Rachael Stott. There’s a massive sense of joyful abandon infecting every panel as yet more characters and ideas are thrown at you. The Ninth Doctor! Captain Jack! Jenny! Jenny encountering the Fifth Doctor! “Oh, she’s got herself a bowship!” The Twelfth Doctor, Bill and Nardole! The Tenth Doctor, Cindy and Gabby! Kate and Osgood! It’s fantastically silly and fun and powered along by the charisma and energy Stott brings to every panel of art. To keep a cast this big distinct, not just in likeness, but expression and body language is amazing. And her spot on ability to give Bill, in particular, hairstyles and clothes she never wore on TV but feel absolutely right for the character is genuinely impressive and rare.
The nature of this sort of event, snaking its way through various books, means it feels a bit disjointed. We move from one Doctor Who book’s writer and artist team to another every couple of dozen pages. That’s offset a little by the nature of the threat. A void that’s appeared throughout time and space, consuming reality itself and breaking down history, means that all the different Doctors can encounter it simultaneously as separate adventures.
Events lead to a cliffhanger ending on ancient Gallifrey that leaves you drumming your fingers impatiently for Volume Two
So in Nick Abadzis and Mariano Laclaustra’s tale, the Ninth Doctor, Rose, Vastra and Jenny Flint discover the Void while visiting a Silurian leper colony on 19th century Earth. And the same writer teams with Ariana Florean and Giorgia Sposito to bring us the story of the Void taking over the Cybermen to launch an assault on a space station in the far future. And in the final installment in this volume, writer Alex Paknadel and artist I.N.J. Culbard fling the Eleventh Doctor and Alice back to ancient Gallifrey and the test flight of a Type 1 TARDIS. A test flight which may well be the cause of everything else that’s happening.
Overall, this gives Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Volume One the feeling of an anthology of linked stories, rather than one narrative. There’s a stop-start pace as events build to a climax, only to restart with setting up a new scenario. It robs it of any huge sense of momentum. But the cliffhanger ending leaves us with signs that, if Volume One saw a collection of problems and clues thrown into the air, Volume Two will cut a clearer path towards the solution.
Fun, brash and freewheeling The Lost Dimension is an entertaining thrill ride from Titan Comics despite its piecemeal nature. A cheeky explosion of ideas, it more than merits its place among the canon of multi-Doctor adventures.
Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Volume One
In this first of two volumes collecting Titan Comics’ giant Doctor Who crossover event, witness the return of Jenny, the Doctor’s daughter, who has a terrifying message for the Twelfth Doctor, Bill, and Nardole. The Void is hungry, and it’s beginning to devour the universe we know and love!
From there, the threat of the Void spirals out to affect all of the Doctor’s incarnations. From the Ninth, who re-encounters Silurian detective Madame Vastra. To the Tenth, who battles cybernetic foes on a space station orbiting a white hole. To the Eleventh, who journeys beyond the universe and into an impossible era of his civilization’s ancient past…!