Get In the Tardis If You Want To Live!
Since this is my first media review, let me do a quick introduction. I don’t just love videogames. I’m actually an avid consumer of graphic novels. I’ve been a superhero fan since I was little, and while I love the big brands like Marvel and DC, I also have a soft spot for the quirkier stories out there. The indies and more self-contained stories. More than anything, I just like a good tale that’s easy to get lost in. And though I fully admit I’m not a gigantic consumer of Doctor Who, even I’m familiar with the series. It’s hard not to be. Sure, I may not be an avid fan of the popular series, but I’m also not someone who hates it. It’s just hard to get invested in something so massive this late into the game. Thankfully, the trade paperback Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – Defender of the Daleks was written well enough that even I could get a grasp of the story and characters quickly.
Time Lord Victorious begins with a very helpful recap. The 10th Doctor, played in the TV series by David Tennant, has been stranded in time. This was after him and the 13th Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, joined forces to defeat cosmic evil. The universe didn’t like the idea of a paradox, so it wasn’t long before a Time Vortex gobbled up the 10th Doctor and spat him out with a case of amnesia. He comes to inside the Tardis, and upon exiting the time-travelling vehicle is instantly confronted by the Daleks. Surprisingly, they don’t immediately open fire. Flustered, the Doctor retreats back inside and jumps somewhere else. Every time he exits, there’s the Daleks waiting for him. Eventually he loses patience, and decides to ask what they want. To his great shock, the Daleks want his help. Even more surprising, they don’t recall anything about the Time War. Despite his amnesia, even the Doc remembers that. So with some amount of trepidation, he allows himself to be ferried to Skaro, the Dalek home planet.
Soon the good Doctor is confronted by the gold plated Emperor of the Daleks. He demands his help to confront a new foe called The Hond. Though the Emperor isn’t forthcoming with details, he seems willing to let the Doctor assist him. Daleks aren’t known for their integrity though, so there’s some suspicion. That only grows when the Doctor is introduced to the Prime Strategist. This battled damaged Dalek looks worse for wear, and initially calls his wounds are badges of honor. This immediately makes Doc more suspicious, but he plays along and goes with the Prime Strategist to a place called the Vault of Obscenities. You know, a nice safe place to visit with a homicidal robot.
Something Isn’t Right
It quickly becomes clear that the Daleks want the Doctor to access this Vault, and especially the dangerous weapons within. It’s not immediately clear why they can’t access it themselves, but at the least it seems they’re being forthcoming, or as forthcoming as they can get. Once the Vault is opened up, Doctor and Strategist are confronted by the Hond. They frankly look like a green-hued Clayface, and are about as mild-mannered. The Hond screams about how all life must die and makes clear its own suffering. Violence occurs, and the Hond is destroyed. Or so it appears. It’s not long til they’re back, and the Doctor must weigh this threat against that of his lifelong foe, the Daleks.
Hail to the King
I won’t ruin anything, but there’s a few interesting twists in Time Lord Victorious. The 13th Doctor even finds time for a cameo. I appreciated all the humor and dry wit in Time Lord Victorious, and felt it was authentic to what I know of the series. The writing by Jody Houser is pretty well done, other than one small typo where it incorrectly used “doesn’t” instead of “don’t”. Other than that, the story was clean and easy to jump into. The most pleasant surprise was how compelling the Prime Strategist was. It was very nuanced and gave more humanity to the otherwise robotic and violent Daleks. You can tell he’s up to something, and his intellectual turmoil made things quite interesting.
The very last pages of Time Lord Victorious features a lovely cover gallery, followed by an interview and discussion of the art process. The interview is with James Goss, who was responsible for the story. He talks about this massive event featuring all the Doctors in a huge crossover. Even though I was lacking some context, it seemed clear this is an important story. I also enjoyed how artist Roberta Ingranata and colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini brought a lot of heart to the story. While not perfectly photorealistic, there’s a nice cartoony veneer that does a capable job of showcasing the humor and action. Even though I’m not quite a Doctor Who fan, that might change after giving this trade paperback a read. But if you’re already a fan of Doctor Who, for sure give Time Lord Victorious – Defender of the Daleks a read.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Full Disclosure: This review was based on a review copy provided by Titan Comics