Doctor Who review: Time Lord Victorious begins with Defender of the Daleks #1

The first part of new comic story Defender of the Daleks gives us our first big look at the massive Doctor Who event Time Lord Victorious. How well does it work as an introduction to this ambitious new story?

The two-part miniseries Defender of the Daleks is a comic that I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while. I must admit, while I’ve read quite a bit of Titan’s Doctor Who comics, I’m not exactly a regular follower, and there’s a lot that I need to catch up on. Especially this year’s four-part Thirteenth Doctor story featuring Ten, which this miniseries directly continues from.

But Defender of the Daleks was too exciting to miss. Because it marks the first story released that’s connected to this year’s multi-platform event Time Lord Victorious. As such, we finally get to find out just how well it works.

It has been stated in announcements and interviews that every story of Time Lord Victorious – whether it’s in comics, books, or audio – is designed to be enjoyed on its own. Yes, all of them are definitely connected, but each story released in the event can stand on its own. Does Defender of the Daleks live up to that promise? Let’s find out.

Doctor Who

The Tenth Doctor is reunited with the Daleks in Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1. But what do they want with him this time?
Image Courtesy Titan Comics

Hidden connections

As previously mentioned, Defender of the Daleks does continue directly from another comic story entirely. But new readers won’t need to worry about that too much. Not only is there a quick recap given at the start, but the story begins in such a way that previous events aren’t necessary.

What really helps is that Defender moves at a decent pace. Which isn’t too surprising, considering that it’s only two issues long. So within just a couple of pages, the Tenth Doctor encounters the Daleks. But this time, they don’t want to kill him. Instead, they need his help…

While it’s hard to judge a story when you’re only reading a part of it – hence, why I’m not too keen on reading monthly comics generally – Defender of the Daleks seems to work well on its own terms. It doesn’t feel like we’re diving too much into the mythology of Time Lord Victorious just yet and almost feels like a regular Tenth Doctor adventure.

However, at the same time, it’s still nice to catch the little hints of the larger event. They’re not too intrusive, but they seem to be there. Especially if you know where to look. While they’re naturally introduced into the story, the Dalek Emperor and the Dalek Prime Strategist look set to be major players in this huge event. It’s early days, but I suspect that, once Time Lord Victorious is over, Defender of the Daleks could benefit from a re-read.

Artwork and writing

Roberta Ingranata’s artwork isn’t too bad overall, and the Daleks are handled nicely, although David Tennant’s Doctor isn’t always recognizable as such. To be honest, this isn’t exactly a new problem for Titan Comics, so it’s not much of a surprise.

However, while the artwork can be a bit hit-and-miss, Jody Houser’s writing more than makes up for it. As well as handling the story just right, the dialogue is fantastic. It’s extremely easy to hear Tennant’s voice in character while reading Ten’s dialogue, which is exactly what you want from a licensed comic story. So writing-wise, Defender of the Daleks does a pretty decent job.

So is the brand new Time Lord Victorious comic worth checking out? I’d certainly recommend it. Don’t go into it expecting it to launch the event properly – honestly, I expect that to happen with next month’s novel The Knight, The Fool and The Dead. But it does seem to work well as a key prelude to the event, as well as an intriguing story in its own right. Right now, it’s difficult to judge it on its own terms fully until the second issue is released. But I’m certainly eager to read the rest of the story.

Next: Aug 2020 news roundup: Christopher Eccleston returns, Ten meets Four and Time Lord Victorious

Have you read Time Lord Victorious #1 yet? What did you think of the story? Do you think it sets up the new multi-platform event well? Let us know in the comments below.