The Tenth Doctor finds himself in an uneasy alliance with the Daleks as they face up against a threat from the Dark Times in the second and final part of Titan Comics‘ Defender of the Daleks series
Following the initial release of the first instalment of Defender of the Daleks last month, Time Lord Victorious can now be said to be properly underway. September and October thus far have seen the release of several comics and audio dramas, along with a novel and the official 2021 Doctor Who annual, all of which have begun to introduce various strands of the Time Lord Victorious storyline.
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:
As the first piece of media to be released as part of Time Lord Victorious proper (discounting the launch of the A Dalek Awakens escape game earlier in the year), Defender of the Daleks has come with a lot of expectations to live up to. By virtue of its place in the project’s release order, it ought to act as a good introduction to Time Lord Victorious as a whole, and give fans a taster of what’s to come. Nevertheless, the team behind the project have reassured us that each aspect of the story can be enjoyed in isolation, as well as part of the overall experience.
With that in mind, as this second issue brings Defender of the Daleks to its conclusion, does this comic adventure work as an effective introduction to Time Lord Victorious, as well as a standalone story?
The Story So Far
As noted in BlogtorWho‘s review of Issue #1, Defender of the Daleks surprisingly connects onto Titan Comics‘ ongoing Doctor Who series, which was formerly published under the heading Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, and will continue from November as Doctor Who Comic.
The opening chapter of Defender of the Daleks saw the Tenth Doctor awake in his TARDIS, unable to remember his recent adventures with the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions which saw them face off against the Weeping Angels and Autons in 1960s London. 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!
The Doctor is taken to speak with the Dalek Emperor, who, against all odds, requests his aid in defending the Daleks against the Hond, an ancient race who allegedly died out during the Dark Times. It also quickly becomes apparent that the Doctor has found himself in an alternate timeline, as the Daleks have no memory of the Time War.
Following this, he is escorted by the Daleks’ Prime Strategist through the Vault of Obscenities, whose contents even the Daleks have forgotten. Together, they travel through the Vault, dodging death trap after death trap along the way, until they open a locked door, only to find a Hond waiting for them!
Defender of the Daleks #2 Provides an Intriguing Enemy in the Hond, But Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
Defender of the Daleks #2 picks up right where the first issue left off, with the Doctor and the Dalek Prime Strategist face-to-face with a Hond. We (along with the Doctor) quickly begin to discover the Hond’s motivation for seeking to destroy all life, including themselves. The Hond’s appearance as creatures made up of “the very primordial ooze itself” often makes it difficult to find them as truly threatening as their reputation would suggest. Nevertheless, as we learn more about the Hond as the issue continues, they do ultimately make for a fairly interesting species conceptually, despite not coming across as formidable as the previous issue made them out to be. As well as this, Richard Starkings‘ unsettling lettering certainly helps the Hond retain much of their scariness.
Elsewhere, Jody Houser‘s characterisation of the Tenth Doctor continues to impress as always, as he is very much recognisable, particularly in his determination to understand and help the Hond. Similarly, artist Roberta Ingranata and colourist Enrica Eren Angiolini, along with flatters Shari Chankhamma and Sabrina Del Gross have once again combined their talents to produce yet more stunning artwork. Their use of colour and lighting throughout this issue are particularly impressive, as are their full-page depictions of outer-space scenery.
Overall, Defender of the Daleks #2 does reach a fairly satisfying conclusion, whilst also providing some intriguing and entirely unexpected twists and reveals towards the end of the issue which will certainly appeal to fans of Titan Comics‘ ongoing Doctor Who series, as well as those looking to explore Time Lord Victorious in greater depth.
However, this concluding issue does ultimately leave many of the questions raised in the previous instalment unanswered. Whilst we do gain a little more of an insight into the Dalek Prime Strategist‘s origins, a lot of the mysteries set out previously aren’t addressed further. Of course, as one of the early parts of a far larger, ongoing storyline, it’s only natural that readers are being encouraged to find those answers in upcoming Time Lord Victorious releases. Nevertheless, these unresolved questions do detract from its overall effectiveness as a standalone story. Only time will tell as to whether Defender of the Daleks will sit better in hindsight as part of a wider story arc.