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COMPLETE REVIEW: Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious

October 18th, 2020 by Marc Comments

Welcome to the Time Lord Victorious review section.

Time Lord Victorious is a major, multi-media Doctor Who event that takes place over numerous parts – comics, annuals, games, figures, books, audio adventures and an animated series and I, for my sins, have decided to follow it all and review it as I go.

Maybe it’s the lack of new movies and shows this year, but something about this event got me at a very basic level and I decided I really needed to dive into it – and review it for all you lovely, lovely nerds.

DOCTOR WHO: TIME LORD VICTORIOUS
DEFENDER OF THE DALEKS #1 (Titan Comics, 2nd September)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata

A thrilling new adventure for the Tenth Doctor (as played by fan-favorite David Tennant) that sees the shocking return of his deadliest enemies: the Daleks! But things aren’t what they seem – time is all wrong, and something is coming that terrifies even the Daleks… The first of two oversized issues kicking off the BBC’s highly anticipated multi-platform Doctor Who epic, Time Lord Victorious!

So, while I am a reasonably big fan of Doctor Who, I’ve never really dabbled beyond the main TV series and the odd collectible (and a couple of the Terrance Dicks books as a kid), but for some reason the new multi-platform event, Time Lord Victorious, has grabbed my attention and, against my better judgment, I have decided to go all in for it.

What does that mean? Well, between now and Christmas there will be comics, novels, collectibles, audio-adventures and more, all of which will form on massive story line featuring various incarnations of The Doctor.

And it all kicks off tomorrow with the release of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1.

And it’s a fun read, if a little… uneventful.

The book, which has gorgeous art from Ingranata, sees the Doctor – recovering from his adventure with the thirteenth Doctor in the last Titan Comics run – opens the door to his TARDIS to come face-to-face with his oldest foe, the Daleks.

So far, so Who.

But, too tired to face-off with his enemies, the Doctor nips off across time and space, only to open the door repeatedly, in new times and places, to… The Daleks. When he realises they aren’t trying to kill him, the adventure begins.

I don’t want to spoil too much here, but The Daleks are seeking The Doctor because something is threatening them – and all of existence – and the believe only he can help.

And honestly, aside from a few asides to previous Doctor Who lore such as the Time War, the whole story is that…

And when we do see what the new threat is it comes of as rather silly instead of scary… but, isn’t that maybe the truest compliment a Doctor Who monster?

The book, while not particularly eventful, is wonderfully drawn and the character of Tennant’s Doctor is spot-on, as is the obvious disdain the Daleks have for their predicament, so character isn’t an issue either – and when the art and characterisation is on point, you’re almost there.

And it’s not that it’s not an enjoyable read, it just feels like the story which took place over 48 pages could comfortably have been done in half that – there’s only so many ‘oh, yes you will!’ ‘Oh no, I won’t’ panels you can read before you just want the story to progress.

But, it’s a first chapter in a much bigger tale and it sets up the story and it introduces us to the new villain… and, as I said already, it does look great, so it’s certainly worth checking out.

I just hope the remaining books and chapters have more substance.

3 out of 5 Nerds

DOCTOR WHO: THE OFFICIAL ANNUAL 2021
BBC Children’s Books/Penguin Publishing (3rd September)

While the Annual doesn’t really add anything to the story or overall plot of the whole Time Lord Victorious event, it is a fun addition to the overall experience, but certainly one that could be skipped if you wish.

The contribution to TLV comes in the form of a newspaper – written by Melody Malone, Time Editor (who is someone familiar and, technically adds another face from the Whoniverse to the overarching story) – which focuses on the Kotturuh battle crisis and the Dalek Empire rising.

Here we are introduced to major new additions to the story, the Kotturuh, a mysterious race from the Dark Times who have the ability to decide how long species live and even, should they have the desire, to wipe out civilations. They will be a big part of the story, especially when we get the Big Finish audio adventures and the BBC Novels.

Another major new addition to the mythology is the Dalek Time Squad. This is a group of five Daleks – Time Commander, Strategist, Scientist, Executioner and Drone (there’s loads of them, obviously) who we have met already in the first comic from Titan but who will soon become major players in the story. They seem to have been created by events in the story, having not been around before. Interestingly, the Strategist seems to be quite the free-thinker among the Daleks. Will be fun to see how this fits in down the line.

We also get a brief rundown of other creatures from the Who mythology who were around during the Dark Times – a period previously timelocked but which will play a big role in the story. These include The Eternals, The Racnoss, The Osirans, The Great Vampires, The Daemons and, of course, The Gallifreyans.

There are all creatures and races we’ve met before and are the inspiration to an upcoming Bluray release – The Road To The Dark Times – which focuses on previous Who stories integral to the story (here).

3 out of 5 Nerds

DOCTOR WHO: MONSTROUS BEAUTY #1
Doctor Who Magazine #556 (17th September)

This is a two-for-deal for Time Lord Victorious fans as the actual comic, Monstrous Beauty #1, comes with the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine.

The magazine, while full of the usual news and articles based around the Doctor Who universe in general but this latest issue, as well as having the comic included, focuses on the whole TLV event in a major way, delving into the creation of the event, interviewing the writers and creators with a breakdown and tease of all the elements still to come. It’s a worth while buy if you’re trying to get a feel for what TLV is about and what joys it has instore moving forward.

But, of course, the big Time Lord Victorious part in the first issue of the Monstrous Beauty story featuring Christopher Eccleston’s ninth Doctor along with his faithful companion Rose, based on Billie Piper’s performance on the show.

The story sees The Doctor and Rose travel back to The Dark Times, much to the bemusement of the Doctor, who informs Rose that no TARDIS can travel there as it’s a time-locked part of history.

This is undoubtedly where the real TLV story begins as we see the Doctor entering The Dark Times, where we know the story sees a new timeline created. While there the Doctor meets a familiar face – who I won’t spoil, but it’s a big name for Who fans – who doesn’t recognise him yet.

The Doctor and Rose end up fighting Cucrbites, creatures which the Doctor describes as ‘living spaceships fuelled by blood’. They’re definitely an odd villain, but it’s really the discovery made my Rose, that will likely form the backbone of this chapter in the story.

While the story is engaging enough, the art is lackluster, compared to the lovely art in the Titan tale, but the likenesses of Ellecston and Piper are definitely there and some of the costume design is lovely and feels like a lovely throwback to goldenage Who.

I’m looking forward to where the next part goes and am already seeing where it times into the overall story and, indeed, to more recent episodes of the TV series.

Oh, and there’s a pretty cool Time Lord Victorious poster free too…

4 out of 5 Nerds

THE KNIGHT, THE FOOL AND THE DEAD (BBC Books, 1st October)
Written by: Steve Cole  (Author)

Review coming soon.

SHORT TRIPS: MASTER THIEF/LESSER EVILS (Big Finish, 7th October)
Written by: Simon Guerrier Sophie Iles
Narrated by: Jon Culshaw

Big Finish jumps into Time Lord Victorious with their Short Trips adventures.

These are two adventures, not as long as regular Big Finish stories, starring the Doctor’s sworn enemy, the Master – here played/read by Culshaw but these are Roger Delgado’s Master in Master Thief and Anthony Ainley’s incarnation in Lesser Evils.

Like all the TLV content, these work well as standalone tales but, once you start seeing the bigger picture, you’ll see how this connects to the wider tale.

The first story, Master Thief, sees the Master breaking into a secure vault, the Repository,  to steal an item that will, well, we don’t know what it will do… but I can’t help feeling it will tie back into the TLV tale at some stage down the line.

During the heist, we really get a feel for the remorseless monster the Master actually is and it’s a wonderful exploration of how he thinks and how he truly is the very opposite of what the Doctor represents.

And, when the tables become turned on him – I’ll not spoil it as it’s actually pretty great – you feel the despair he feels and it’s completely believable.

One thing of note here is that this actually reveals how the Master regenerates from Delgado to Peter Pratt and that alone makes this an essential purchase.

One other possible connection could also be that the Master has a weapon that reverts people to the primordial sludge they evolved from millions of years ago and they are sentient and I can’t help but wonder if this ooze is somehow related to the the Hond, who we met in the first issue of Defender of the Daleks (above)?.

The second story has a much more obvious link. In this story we see the Master meet a member of the Kotturuh on the planet Alexis –  the Kotturuh are, of course, the new additions to the Doctor Who lore and are gifted with the ability to be able to designate how long the average life span of a species is, which is what it is doing when it meets the Master.

What follows is an interesting battle of wits and an exploration of who the Kotturuh are and what they do and the Master, who genuinely seems to like living on Alexis and one of its inhabitants in particular, seems to allude to something that – as before – may play a bigger role down the line.

There is a very off moment towards the end of the story where a massive time jump takes place briefly – you’ll know it when it happens – and it’s quite jarring and I’m glad to see, from reading around, that I’m not the only person completely thrown by it… but I look forward to seeing what it means down the line.

Special note must be made of Culshaw’s remarkable ability to mimic almost perfectly both Masters, it’s really a delight to behold.

4 out of 5 Nerds

DEFENDER OF THE DALEKS #2 (Titan Comics, 8th September)
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata

Picking up where we left of, this issue serves as a conclusion to the tale but primarily it acts as an introduction and getting-to-know you for the Dalek Time Squd, who all have their own identity and personality, especially the Strategist who becomes an almost ally to the Doctor.

Without going into detail, the story wraps up nicely but before it all closes another very familiar face enters the fray and although their role is unlikely to be much bigger than it was here, it’s nice to have them involved.

Also, the final shot in the comic seems to link to the second part (The Enemy of My enemy) of Big Finish’s upcoming TLV trilogy starring Paul McGann as the Doctor.

Overall, this was all satisfactory and the art, as with issue one, was lovely – full praise to Titan Comics, they put out a beautiful comic with the art, coloring, page count, and paper all being top-notch.

This has led to me adding Titans’ Doctor Who book to my regular pull list.

I enjoyed it for sure and look forward to meeting these Daleks again further into the adventure…

4 out of 5 Nerds

COMPLIMENTARY READ (NOT STRICTLY PART OF THE TALE BUT A NICE COMPANION TO IT)
DOCTOR WHO – A TALE OF TWO TIME LORDS PAPERBACK (Titan Comics, 13th October)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata

Collecting the Thirteenth Doctor Adventures #2.1-2.4, this sees – obviously from the title – Tennant’s Thirteenth Doctor and Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor meeting each other during the events of the iconic Tennant episode Don’t Blink.

In that episode The Doctor and Martha (played by Freeman Agyeman) find themselves stuck in 1969 after an encounter with the Weeping Angels who send them back in time… without the TARDIS. And, it appears that during his period, they bumped into the Thirteenth Doctor and her crew of Graham, Yaz and Ryan as London becomes the target not just of the Angels, but of another classic Who villain.

While, as I said above, this isn’t officially tied into the TLV content, it doe set the scene before meeting the Tenth Doctor in Defender of the Daleks #1 where all this fun started, so for that reason alone it’s worth checking out.

It also ties into the end of the Defender story with a surprise appearance that will really only make sense if you read this… that said, it’s certainly not essential.

But, I must add, that this is a very fun read and, as someone who didn’t enjoy the last two seasons of Doctor Who, it proves that, with the right writing and attention to the fun spirit of Doctor Who, Whitaker has the potential to be as great a Doctor as anyone, so let’s hope Chibnal et al are reading this book.

Worth a purchase if you want the complete TLV experience but mostly worth a purchase if you want to read some fun Doctor Who content.

4 out of 5 Nerds

HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT (Big Finish Productions, 14th October)
Writer: Carrie Thompson
Starring: Paul McGann

While Big Finish already entered the Time Lord Victorious story with the Short Trips (above), this is the first full-cast, full-length audio adventure to jump in and bring a new Doctor into the story.

Paul McGann at the stage is an old hand at the Big Finish stuff and always delivers a first-class performance and he’s no difference here.

In the story, the Doctor, in a rare break, aims to go to the planet of Atharna, where he wants to witness one of the Seven Hundred Wonders of the Universe however, instead of the lush, central hub of the galaxy with two suns in the sky, the TARDIS takes him to a dusty old world with very few inhabitants and, obviously, the Doctor believes he’s been taken to the wrong planet… but, after the events of The Knight, The Fool and the Dead, there are still ripples going across the universe causing massive alterations.

However, this is not the crux of the tale, although I’d imagine in one of the next chapters of the trilogy it will be, but rather the tale is pretty simple, focusing on Katherine and Felicity, both on the run from Brian, the Ood assassin…

While I don’t want to say more, as the story is so slight that any information could be construed as a spoiler, I will say that the story rips along and putting the Doctor in a wild-west setting of sorts is certainly fun, but the standout of the whole affair is Silas Carson as Brian, the murderous Oood.

Carson plays the Ood voices in Doctor Who, so having him return here is a creat move. It’s also a lot of fun to have Brian, a courteous, smart and obliging Ood, dabble in the darker side of things… no red-eyes here, Brian just likes to kill. His relationship with his orb makes me think back to other characters in some of my favourite franchises, particularly Scarface and the Ventriloquist from the Batman comics… it’s a fun idea and I look forward to seeing more of Brian in future (and past instalments) of TLV.

Overall, there are lots of hints at the wider universe of the TLV story dropped in here, particularly in the Doctor not recognising Atharna or its surrounding planets as they have ben fundamentally changed and also when he starts to work out that something bigger is afoot. Brian too is a big part of the bigger picture.

And it also does a fun job of setting up the next installment in the final page which seems to directly tie into the end of the Defender of the Daleks story.

So, overall it’s fun but very little really happens. If you’re a fan of McGann’s Big Finish adventures you’ll like this just fine but if you’re hoping for a big part of this story – as I was – then you’ll likely be a bit diappointed.

3 out of 5 Nerds

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….