|In Short:||The graphic novel version of a 90's TV pilot written by George R.R. Martin.|
|Recommended:||No... unless this becomes a regular series.|
|LITTLE KID:||I...I don't...He hurt me.|
|CAT:||Hurt him more.|
So when I received this graphic novel to review, my first reaction was "Yet another George R.R. Martin creation that is not the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire?! Why can't that man just finish a book?!" Turns out -- Doorways is based upon a failed pilot TV show that he wrote/created back in the early 90's. Thus, it probably didn't take all that much effort on Martin's part in putting this graphic novel together. Good enough excuse. This time. (But we're watching you, Mr. Martin... oh yes, we are watching you closely).
Doorways starts out with the very Terminator-esque entrance (i.e. appearing out of nowhere accompanied by bolts of lightning) of a standard-comic-level-of-hotness woman (unfortunately clothed, though, so not completely Terminator-esque. Alas) onto the middle of a busy street. Upon feeling threatened by the traffic bearing down on her, she uses some nifty weaponry, blows some things up though gets injured by the explosions. That's pages 1 and 2. Nice introduction, that.
She is taken to a nearby hospital (under police guard) where we find Dr. Thomas Mason ready to treat her, and the adventure really begins. Turns out the woman, who goes by "Cat", claims to be from another Earth and is currently on the run from the Dark Lord and his minions (whoever they are). On the run from both the evil-looking minions and some government secret agents, Cat and Thomas use a device that Cat has apparently stolen from her original world that leads them to the opening of a new Door. Thomas is disturbed to learn that the Doors are only one way, and once he followed Cat through, he can't get back to his world. Still being chased by various Dark Lord-esque minions, the only choice is to use the device to continue finding new Doors, hoping that each time that the next Leap will be the Leap home (errr...the Door home. Sorry, wrong 90's TV show there).
Actually, as it turns out, they only go through two Doors total in this graphic novel. Basically, this is four comics worth of material (it was originally released as four issues), and probably covers everything that the original TV pilot did, meaning it's more of an introduction to the world(s) and characters than a complete story in and of itself.
So is it any good? As an introduction -- yes, yes it is. The premise works well in comic-form (much like Buffy translated well to comic form). There is good action mixed in with the discussions of "what's going on?!" and plenty of promise shown for future stories (as some of the same people are encountered in different parallel worlds, potentially adding extra layers of intrigue). This could have worked well as a TV show (though whether special effects from the early 90's on a TV budget would have worked as well, I dunno), but is just as enjoyable as well here.
... that's if it's an introduction. At the moment, it's not clear that the future issues of the comic are forthcoming. If they aren't, and this is just a one-off creation for fun, then... I don't really understand the point. There isn't enough in this graphic novel to really make it worth a purchase or read on its own. It really is just an introduction. There are too many unanswered questions -- where did Cat come from? Who/what exactly is the Dark Lord? How long will it be before Thomas gives up on his fiancé back home and hooks up with Cat? Exactly how similar is this to that other '90s TV show, Sliders?! (As an aside, apparently there are quite a few similarities, though the reasons why are not clear. I never watched that show, so can't particularly comment further). [Dude! Don’t bother. – Ed.]
I do want to comment on the art, though, in this graphic novel. I liked it, quite a bit. The style seemed to fit the story quite well, and it was particularly easy to follow who was who and what was going on (which is sometimes an issue in comics). If this does become a regular series, I hope that Stefano Martino stays involved.
Bottom line, the premise is great, the art is fantastic, the writing is solid if somewhat simplistic... but Doorways just doesn't quite stand on its own, if a stand-alone is what it is. As an introduction to a future comic series, then great. But hopefully if this does continue, that it won't take away from work on the Song of Ice and Fire. Um... yeah, like that's likely.
-- K. Burtt