Doctor Who Comic returns with a new story to celebrate 25 years of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor
Following a short break, Titan Comics‘ ongoing Doctor Who Comic series is back with the first chapter of a brand-new story. Having largely followed the off-screen adventures of the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions, the series has more recently branched out to focus on other areas of the Doctor Who universe. Doctor Who Comic‘s most recent story saw Missy (as played on-screen by Michelle Gomez) take centre stage to celebrate 50 years since the first appearance of the Master.
Doctor Who Comic‘s latest story, Empire of the Wolf, is set to celebrate 25 years since Paul McGann‘s debut appearance as the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. As its title would suggest, however, this four-part story will also focus on Rose Tyler (as portrayed by Billie Piper) and her life after the Doctor. Empire of the Wolf will see her pulled back into our universe, where she’ll have to work together with the Eighth Doctor, as well as Matt Smith‘s Eleventh Doctor to end the reign of her own parallel-universe counterpart, the Bad Wolf Empress!
Empire of the Wolf #1 Places Rose Tyler in the Spotlight
Rather surprisingly, despite being advertised as a story marking 25 years of the Eighth Doctor, this first chapter of Empire of the Wolf focuses most heavily on Rose Tyler, along with her alternate universe counterpart, the Empress. Nevertheless, this does come as a pleasant surprise. It’s always great to see Rose again, and this issue is a must-read for fans of her character. We’re treated to a heart-warming insight into Rose’s life after the Doctor. Finally, she gets to settle down with the meta-crisis Doctor (now known as John Smith).
These opening pages also see the debut of the series’ incoming new colourist, Warina K Sahadewa. Her style compliments Roberta Ingranata‘s art very well, and lends a very soft but vibrant look to the story. Also, there’s some great touches from letterer Richard Starkings in these first pages. Most notable are his fairy-tale captions telling Rose’s story, as well as his the stylisation of John Smith’s dialogue. The latter perfectly captures David Tennant‘s mannerisms as the Doctor.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this opening issue, however, is the introduction of the Bad Wolf Empress. It transpires that this version of Rose is the same one we met back in Doctor Who Comic‘s latest Thirteenth and Tenth Doctor crossover story, Alternating Current. We’re given a brief glimpse at how she went from Earth’s defender against the Sea Devils to a tyrannical leader. Hopefully, the story will delve a little deeper into how this Rose ended up where she is in later issues. Regardless, bringing back her character creates a nice connection to a previous Doctor Who Comic story. Houser thereby rewards long-time readers, without necessarily excluding new ones.
Empire of the Wolf #1 Re-Introduces Two Very Different Doctors
Elsewhere, Empire of the Wolf #1 re-introduces us to the Eighth and Eleventh Doctors, as we begin to see where they fit within ‘our’ Rose and Empress Rose’s stories respectively. We find the Eighth Doctor at an unspecified point in his life prior to the Time War. This is a very wise move by Houser, given his complex existence across numerous live-action media, novels, and audio dramas. Additionally, this decision again avoids excluding any readers who aren’t especially familiar with the Eighth Doctor and his adventures.
The Eighth Doctor’s kindness is very well juxtaposed with the mindset in which we find the Eleventh Doctor. Unlike the Eighth Doctor, Houser deliberately places him at a specific point in his life. This Doctor has very recently lost Amy and Rory to the Weeping Angels. His appearance is therefore rather bittersweet. Whilst it’s wonderful to see his return to comics, it’s simultaneously heart-breaking to see him rejecting companionship.
As such, as with the beginning of the current television series, Empire of the Wolf #1 introduces us to a few separate but interrelated threads. These will no doubt be woven together over the course of the next three issues, as Houser once again skilfully blends together different aspects of the Doctor Who universe.
Doctor Who Comic: Empire of the Wolf #1 is available to purchase now from Forbidden Planet, ComiXology, and all good comic retailers.
Four variant covers are available for this issue, featuring artwork from David Buisán, Andrew Leung, Abigail Harding, and Christopher Jones.