Image Credit: Cutaway Comics (Fair Use)
Image Description: The cover of Lytton #1
Tides was provided with a free review copy of the comic
By James Ashworth
After many years away from the screen, it’s time for everyone’s favourite Doctor Who/Eastenders crossover character to return! That’s right, it’s Lytton, who first visited Albert Square in a DWM short story years before Dimensions in Time got there. Unlike that outing, however, former script editor Eric Saward has returned to write the character, in the author’s first foray into comic book writing. After all this time, is it a good Resurrection of the character, or something of a character Attack?
Reading the story of Lytton #1, it’s clear, even if you didn’t know who the author was, that this is very much an Eric Saward story. It doesn’t seem like his style has changed over the years, or some of the more violent writing tendencies have mellowed with age. Instead, within moments of reading the cover, Lytton is already getting down to business, with shooting, a truck bomb, and numerous deaths. While most of these happen off panel, the same can’t be said later on, when Lytton dispatches a number of henchmen in a John Wick-esque sequence involving a fist fight, stabbing, and a decapitation. That’s not to say that it’s all sex and violence, with the 70s setting more akin to a film noir, even if it has more modern trappings.
The fact that some of the quite disparate genres come together is aided greatly by the comic’s art by Barry Renshaw. The different settings and eras are clearly delineated by the artistic style, and help unify some of the writing elements. Like the writing itself, the art is also unapologetically distinctive, which is both a blessing and a curse. While some scenes, like that in a weapons store, are positively cinematic, others, with a scene in the aforementioned fight coming to mind, seem much less effective and more amateur. The changing art style does, however, contribute to the ambiguity of the plot, which leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens after the pages of the first issue close.
When they do close, the reader’s response to the comic probably comes down to one simple factor. If they are a fan of the work of Eric Saward, whether in Doctor Who or elsewhere, they will certainly enjoy another foray for Lytton under his guidance. If they are not keen on Saward’s sensibilities, meanwhile, then they may find it more of a roll call of his storytelling excesses. Lytton #1 is a fitting return for a character, and writer, who while they can be uneven, are certainly interesting to spend time with.