DW: Food for Thought Review

DW Food for Thought

Now here’s a rare thing: a First Doctor comic! Yes, I can’t imagine many more of these going up on the blog to be honest, he’s cameo’d and guest appeared in plenty, but very rarely had his own (apart from the TV Action! Comics from the 60s, but I don’t see them getting a physical release…) Anyway, Food For Thought is also an extremely early Nicholas Briggs script, though so early it doesn’t really have any of his hallmarks (good or bad) and instead is just a harmless little story. Let’s take a closer look.

Synopsis:

The Doctor, Ben and Polly arrive on a mysterious new world, only to be greeted with the site of a large slug-like creature devouring their ship…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW Food for Thought 1

Talk about a world of difference compared to the Lunar Strangers likenesses (even if Hartnell is clearly a trace-over-photo job…)

The Doctor (William Hartnell) – The Doctor and his recently gained pals Ben and Polly have no time to react to their surroundings before his beloved TARDIS gets eaten… Even for the Doctor, that was things turning bad REAL quick!

Polly Wright (Anneke Wills) – Polly is enjoying her time travelling with The Doctor, and especially Ben, but giant slugs devouring cities is not an attraction she’s always wanted to visit…

Ben Jackson (Michael Craze) – Ben and Polly joined the TARDIS together, but they couldn’t be further apart, personality and background-wise. Still, when it comes to being attacked by giant slugs, their differences seem rather irrelevant…

Ellis Melthorpe – Ellis is under the psychic influence of the Mullusi, the giant slugs that have begun devouring his own people. This fact, should he ever figure it out, might well drive him insane…

The Mullusi – Giant slug-like creatures that have some degree of sentience, or at the very least, their digestive juices do…

Plus one or two more!

The Good:

DW Food for Thought 4

That it is, Ellis… that it is…

The story is at least quite unique, with the giant slug creatures certainly being out of the budget of Hartnell’s era! (or any, really) I did enjoy the little twist of the “sentient digestive juices” commanding Ellis, who was the first to be swallowed, to provide food for it. The poor guy ended up feeding pretty much his entire race to them in neat little pods, then sadly regained his awareness…

The Doctor, who for some reason just dived into a Mullusi to get back to his TARDIS (dialogue to himself making it out that he didn’t know if it would work or not…) manages to resist it, and then turn it around and make the giant slug attack its own kind. Kind of harsh, but the first Doctor did do some unpleasant things, though normally in his early days rather than final days. Overall, it was a fine little story, didn’t blow me away, but entertained me. The art was pretty good throughout as well, much better likenesses than the preceding story, “The Lunar Strangers”.

The Bad:

DW Food for Thought 2

Cor blimey, Duchess! It’s … cockney stuff. (I don’t know what I’m writing any more…)

I know he was very cockney, but I feel Ben might suffer from over-cockney…ing here in this story. It really felt that the young Briggs wanted to make sure the characters sounded authentic so every line had to have some form of word or phrase from his trademark speech pattern. There is also a moment where Polly kicks a gun-toting man in the shin and talks about women’s rights in the 60s, which is so out of character I have no idea how it made it to the final page. William Hartnell’s Doctor also suffers from over “Hmm?”-ing as well.

The Continuity:

DW Food for Thought 3

The TARDIS gets SHHHHLLLLL’d, a shocking sight indeed!

Nothing to speak of, this time round. Very much stand alone.

Overall Thoughts:

Food for Thought is a fun story. It doesn’t leap off the page as anything special, and there are a few poor dialogue choices (I do wonder as Mr. Briggs has never written any First Doctor stuff during his endless run with Big Finish, if he is even a fan of the era…) but the art and general story framework holds together enough. It’s fun, which is good as a First Doctor solo comic is such a rare thing…

3 Star Read

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