Following months of anticipation, Time Lord Victorious finally begins with the first instalment of Tenth Doctor adventure Defender of the Daleks from Titan Comics
First announced back in April this year, Time Lord Victorious is set to be one of Doctor Who‘s most ambitious projects to date. This complex multi-Doctor story will be told across a wide array of platforms, from novels and audio dramas to escape rooms and immersive live theatrical events.
Set during the Dark Times at the very beginning of the universe, Time Lord Victorious will feature the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Doctors as they defend their home planet from a terrible race. Fans can also expect appearances from companion Rose Tyler, along with the Daleks and Ood.
Whilst the fine details of the exact plotline Time Lord Victorious will follow are still largely shrouded in mystery at this point in time, in a recent interview published on the official Doctor Who website, producer James Goss reassured fans that it isn’t necessary to consume the story in its entirety or even in a certain order to understand it. He has explained that each aspect of Time Lord Victorious can be enjoyed as a self-contained experience, which also connects to the overarching storyline.
It’s difficult to gauge whether Goss‘ words ring true at this stage, as Titan Comics‘ first contribution to Time Lord Victorious marks the formal beginning of the story, with an almost continuous stream of content planned for release from now until mid-December, not including the releases scheduled for early next year.
Blogtor Who have put together an in-depth infographic to help fans wrap their heads around the various aspects of Time Lord Victorious will connect to one another, and the many different paths fans can take to follow each stand of the story:
Defender of the Daleks #1 Sets Up a Multitude of Mysteries
To kick things off, Titan Comics bring us the first of two over-sized comic issues starring the Tenth Doctor, entitled Defender of the Daleks.
Although this story is firmly tied to the wider Time Lord Victorious storyline, this first issue’s opening blurb connects Defender of the Daleks to Titan‘s ongoing Doctor Who series, which has been published under the headline of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor since September 2018, and is due to be re-branded as simply Doctor Who Comic from November onwards.
It’s unclear as to whether this story leads on from the latest arc of Titan’s Doctor Who series which concluded in June this year, and saw the Thirteenth and Tenth Doctors join forces to face off against the Weeping Angels and Autons, or the story featuring these two Doctors (along with companion Rose Tyler) which is due out in November, and may have been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, any potential timeline discrepancies are of little consequence at this stage, as the opening pages of Defender of the Daleks #1 see the Tenth Doctor awake in his TARDIS with no memory of how he came to be there, or where he’s just come from. However, the Doctor has little time to investigate the cause of his amnesia, as he steps out to find himself confronted by horde of Daleks!
As if his inexplicable memory loss wasn’t strange enough, it quickly becomes clear that, try as he might, the Doctor can’t seem to escape the Daleks. Every place and time he lands, they’re waiting for him. It quickly transpires that they are under orders to bring him back alive to meet with the Emperor of the Daleks. Left with few alternatives, and feeling that answers might lie in that direction, the Doctor travels to speak with the Emperor.
Unsurprisingly, given its function as an introduction not only to Titan‘s Defender of the Daleks story, but also to Time Lord Victorious overall, this first issue poses far more questions than it answers. Writer Jody Houser (along with James Goss) sow the seeds of a number of mysteries in an effort to hook readers in to expansive storyline which is about to unfold.
As the issue continues, it appears that it’s not just the Doctor who’s suffering from amnesia, as there also seem to be some major gaps in the Dalek’s memory. What’s more, the Emperor Dalek clearly finds himself in a desperate situation, as he requests the Doctor’s help in fending off an ancient and impossible foe.
Elsewhere, the Doctor becomes acquainted with the Daleks’ Prime Strategist, who appears to have ideas above his station, not to mention surprisingly emotionally driven for Dalek. Given the fact that Hero Collector are due to release a Dalek Strategist figurine later this year, it’s clear that this particular Dalek will play a significant role in Time Lord Victorious as it continues.
With all of these conundrums having been presented, there’s bound to be at least one that grabs a given reader’s attention. Time will only tell whether we’ll be given answers to all of these questions.
Nevertheless, as this first issue of Defender of the Daleks (along with its upcoming second and final instalment) comes from the team behind Titan‘s excellent ongoing Doctor Who series, this strand of the Time Lord Victorious story is surely in safe hands. Houser has already proven herself more than capable of taking well-loved characters and creatures from the television series and translating them effortlessly from the screen to the page. As in the recent crossover comic adventure featuring the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors, Houser‘s dialogue brilliantly captures the Tenth Doctor’s charisma and humour. Her skill when it comes to pacing gives me confidence that readers won’t be left unsatisfied by whatever conclusion is reached by the end of next month’s issue.
What’s more, artist Robert Ingranata, colourist Enrica Eren Angiolini, and flatter Shari Chankhamma have once again combined their talents to produce beautiful and immersive artwork throughout this issue. Their attention to detail when illustrating the numerous environments the Doctor finds himself in, from the TARDIS interior to the surface of Skaro, is thoroughly impressive. Richard Starkings‘ lettering helps to tie the issue together, with his use of that classic ‘Dalek’ font and angular speech bubbles for the Doctor’s old enemies being a particular effective detail.
With any luck, next month’s concluding chapter of Defender of the Daleks will at least begin to shed light on the many mysteries touched upon throughout this first issue. In the meantime, fans can enjoy a number of other new releases from BBC Books, Big Finish, and Doctor Who Magazine which are set to build upon the Time Lord Victorious story.
Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – Defender of the Daleks #1 is available to purchase now from all good comic retailers.