In Review: Doctor Who: The Highgate Horror

Doctor Who: The Highgate Horror
Cover by David A. Roach

Doctor Who: The Highgate Horror is the latest collection of Twelfth Doctor strips from the pages of Panini’s Doctor Who Magazine, wrapped in a smashing cover by David A. Roach.

The strips in this collection are:

“Space Invaders!”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 484

Writer: Mark Wright
Penciller: Mike Collins
Inker: David A Roach
Colourist: James Offredi
Letterer: Roger Langridge

The Doctor and Clara take on Rigellan Hyper-Kraken after a bizarre sight unseen auction aboard a space station.

“Spirits of the Jungle”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 489 – 491

Writer: Jonathan Morris
Artist: John Ross
Colourist:James Offredi
Letterer: Roger Langridge

A cracking story centred on a search for a deadly weapon on an equally dangerous jungle planet from Morris and Ross, not least for the sequence that sees Clara turned into a deadly cyborg. There are some great moments in this tale, particularly from Clara.

Art from "The Highgate Horror" by David Roach
Art from “The Highgate Horror” by David Roach

“The Highgate Horror”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 492 – 493

Writer: Mark Wright
Artist: David A Roach with Mike Collins (Part Two only)
Colourist:James Offredi
Letterer: Roger Langridge

A spooky tale set in one of London’s most famous cemeteries, with stunning art from David Roach (the story marking his debut as artist, rather than inker, on this strip), although the story itself gets a bit convoluted and seems to miss a couple of beats in the telling. Largely, I think, because the Dioctor himslef seems completely at sea for much of it, for reasons I wasn’t quite able to fathom. That said, it’s still an effective tale, which lays the seeds for a future story – and a new temporary companion.

“The Dragon Lord”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 494 – 495

Writer: Steve Lyons
Artist: Adrian Salmon
Colourist: Adrian Salmon
Letterer: Roger Langridge

The Doctor and Clara take on a cargo culture that’s focused its society of medieval lines, harassed by deadly dragons in this tale with a distinct environmental message.

“Theatre of the Mind”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 496

Artist: Roger Langridge
Colourist: James Offredi
Letterer: Roger Langridge

A positively joyous and beautifully written tale from Roger Langridge, teaming the Doctor with Houdini. Great fun.

“Witch Hunt”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 497 – 499

Writer: Jacqueline Rayner
Penciller: Martin Geraghty
Inker: David A Roach
Colourist: James Offredi
Letterer: Roger Langridge

Alongside the anniversary “The Stockbridge Showdown” included in this volume, “Witch Hunt” is my favourite of the collection, with a wonderful villainess, Miss Chief, easily on a par with the likes of the Celestial Toymaker or the Time Meddler (or Bat-Mite, for that matter).

There’s great characterisation for both Clara and the Doctor from writer Jacqueline Rayner and a quite simply rollicking time travel adventure, jumping between the modern day and the Middle Ages. Martin Geraghty’s art is terrific throughout and the action is tempered with some nice humourous moments as the Doctor tries to get the better of a pesky trouble maker.

"The Stockbridge Showdown" art by John Ridgway
“The Stockbridge Showdown” art by John Ridgway

“The Stockbridge Showdown”
First published in Doctor Who Magazine 500

Writer: Scott Gray
Artist:Dave Gibbons, Roger Langridge, Adrian Salmon, Dan McDaid, John Ross, John Ridgway, Martin Geraghty, David A Roach
Penciller: Martin Geraghty, Mike Collins
Inker: David A Roach (part)
Colourist: James Offredi
Letterer:Dave Gibbons, Roger Langridge

A special celebratory adventure that includes guest artists and characters from the comic strip’s past and is a joy to read for anyone who’s followed it down the years. Scott Gray’s script is a boundless delight, an affectionate scurry through some of the DWM strip’s best moments, and of course pages in this special “jam” from Dave Gibbons and John Ridgway nicely complement the terrific art of the more regular artists on the title these days.

Featuring the return of all major companions original to the DWM comic strip, along with Josiah W. Dogbolter, Stockbridge and a cameo appearance of Cornucopia, this one-off anniversary story is an absolute gem and worth the entrance price of The Highgate Horror album alone.

The collection – the second Twelfth Doctor album (The Eye of Torment was released last year) also includes some fascianting bonus commentary of each strip by the writers, artists and editorial team at DWM.

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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