Time looks to be running out for Lytton, his associate Wilson, and their new friend Artemis. Tasked with finding a piece of alien technology, the trio have found themselves up against deadly androids, with Lytton having been separated from his companions and locked up. Just what has the mysterious Mr. Longbody got in store for them? And will everyone be able to escape with their lives?
Closing out its four issue run, Cutaway Comics’ Lytton mini-series hurtles breathlessly towards its climax. The pairing of writer Eric Saward with artist Barry Renshaw has proved to be a winning combination for a fledgling independent comic publisher looking to fill a niche in the market by producing a series of spin-offs from Doctor Who. Renshaw has been able to perfectly capture the grittiness of Saward’s script, making his potent mixture of the underworld and the extraterrestrial come to life.
The big question has been whether Saward would manage to deliver a fitting and suitable payoff, and the answer to that is a resounding ‘yes’. Not only does Saward manage to wrap up the ongoing storyline in a way which is befitting, but he also manages to lay the groundwork here for what promises to be an exciting next chapter in Lytton’s story, indicating there is a lot more mileage left in this alien mercenary, and plenty of scope to explore the character further.
Given just how lacklustre Doctor Who has been at times on screen recently, and also at points in the official comic too, Cutaway Comics’ growing range has been a genuine breath of fresh air, providing something of real merit and worth not only to fans of the series, but also of comic books in general. With their second title, Omega, already halfway through its run, and more series on the way, it seems that there is a real hunger for quality Who-related content, with Cutaway still yet to make a misstep.
The newest addition to their output comes in the form of a one-shot comic, Orcini, based around another of Saward’s characters from his time writing for the programme back in the 1980s. A member of the Grand Order of Oberon – which is a bit like an outer space Knights Templar – before ending up being excommunicated, Grand Master Orcini still lives by their code of honour, and travels the cosmos with his rather malodorous squire Bostock, searching out noble quests and just causes.
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Much like Lytton, Orcini made a great impression during his limited time on television, and just seemed to cry out for a further exploration of his character. Fortunately, Cutaway saw that there was real potential in Orcini, and managed to persuade Saward to bring him back for this special one-off. Here, Orcini and Bostock find themselves charged with the task of retrieving a previous lost artefact, going up against considerable odds in the process. But is everything really as it seems?
Whereas Lytton was Earthbound, Orcini is firmly located in the far flung reaches of the galaxy, taking place in a strange area known as the Hinterlands. Here, Saward seems to lean more into elements of the fantastical, as opposed to purely science fiction, and at times it brings to mind things like The Avengers, with its off-kilter strangeness and larger than life settings and characters. As such, it offers a nice contrast with the straighter and more grounded Lytton.
Artist Adrian Salmon does a commendable job in realising all of the strange locales Saward’s imagination has conjured up, with some truly bizarre settings. He also manages to capture the likenesses of Orcini and Bostock as seen on screen, while making them suitably stylised and fitting them in with their curious surroundings and fellow characters. The issue shows such promise that you can only hope this is a tryout for a full series, or at the very least more occasional specials featuring the duo.
As with all Cutaway’s other releases, anyone who buys direct from them (with the Orcini one-shot issue being a Cutaway Comics online exclusive title) gets a bonus disc, packed with newly-recorded Doctor Who story commentaries, behind-the-scenes insights into the comics themselves, interviews, and much more. You definitely get much more bang for your buck with Cutaway Comics, and long may that continue to be the case.
Lytton #4 and Orcini are out now from Cutaway Comics.