Time Lord Victorious #1 - Defender of the Daleks (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck

Time Lord Victorious #1 - Cover A (Credit: Titan )Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata

Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

52 Pages

Published by Titan Comics - September 2020

The BBC and it’s various Doctor Who licensees have teamed up to create a multi-platform story arc, stories that span books, comics, audios and even an animated mini-series focusing on the Daleks. Beyond the usual spin-off media outlets, they are even doing more immersive entertainment adventures like Escape Rooms and Immersive Theater experiences. Allegedly, much of it is designed so you don’t need it all to enjoy the individual bits (so the comics should stand on their own without needing an audio or an Escape Room for it to all make sense). This is good, because as an American there was little chance of me getting a Dalek Awakes Escape Room anywhere near me. It seems the more immersive stuff is for UK folks only. 

And that is fine. I could see some interest in the theater thing, but I am not terribly interested in an Escape Room. But I do love audios and comics. I wasn’t sure how much I would get into with this multimedia extravaganza. I wanted to listen to audio adventures because if it has the Eighth or Tenth Doctors, I am there. But I happened to see my digital library had a copy of Time Lord Victorious #1 (apparently subtitled “Defender of the Daleks” though I did not see that title anywhere on it), and I decided to give it a whirl. And it is so entertaining I ate it up. 

The Tenth Doctor awakes in his TARDIS with some partial amnesia, confused as to where he has been and what he was up to, and not sure where he is going. When he lands he is surrounded by Daleks who wish to take him to the Emperor of the Daleks. He tried to escape, but no matter where he lands, the Daleks are waiting. He finally decides to see the Emperor. Turns out the Daleks want his help. It seems there is an ancient race, a race of myth, called the Hond. Like the Daleks they want to destroy all life in the universe...they even want to destroy themselves when they wipe out the rest. They intend to take out the Daleks first...and since the Doctor isn’t for all life in the universe being snuffed out he begrudgingly decides to help the Daleks. 

I have found Jody Houser’s work on the Thirteenth Doctor to be a bit hit or miss. She has had interesting set ups but the endings have always felt rushed and unsatisfying to me. But this feels so well put together as a set-up...I just have a feeling it is going to have a solid follow-up. This is my first taste of the multi-platform story, but it has certainly captured my interest! I look forward to sampling a but more. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.4 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 2 August 2020 - Reviewed by Kenny Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.4  (Credit: Titan Comics)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

32 Pages

Published by Titan Comics - May 2020

The Tenth/Thirteenth Doctor team-up that has launched Year Two of the Thirteenth Doctor Titan run comes to it's big conclusion in part four...and for once Houser ends it on something of a high note instead of a wimper.  The Autons and Weeping Angels stories don't really have any deeper meaning behind them, they don't seem to be working together or anything, but they do tie up things nicely. 

The team is able to escape the Angels trying to break into the TARDIS, and trace the Nestene Consciousness to the tunnels under the Thames.  They then lure the Angels into the tunnels and use the use the Angels power to send the Consciousness back in time, hopefully before plastics are around to feed off of. They then manage to trap the Angels of 1969 and trap them out in space. 

From there they two TARDIS teams part ways, the Tenth Doctor and Martha forced back to 1969 to await their ride per Sally Sparrow's instructions...the newer team deciding to take a break from adventuring and return to Sheffield for a bit, as seeing Martha trapped in the 60s has given them a bit of pause about too much travelling. 

But alas, a new cliffhanger!  Arriving to modern day England doesn't go as planned...as their is a red sky and lightning about.  Is this the work of something new, or will this tie in with the Nestene that was sent back by the Angel? 

I had issues with the first year of the Thirteenth Doctor.  Too many stories fizzled out too quickly.  It seemed like just as things were beginning to get interesting, I'd get some quick fix ending that left me unsatisfied.  Happily that is not the case with the first adventure of Year Two.  The teaming of the Thirteenth and Tenth Doctors was fun, but the story was intriguing and for once had an ending that felt earned and not rushed. Here's hoping this momentum can continue.





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.3 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 16 July 2020 - Reviewed by Kenny Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.3  (Credit: Titan Comics)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

32 Pages

Published by Titan Comics - March 2020

Titan Comics team-up of the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctor continues, and it adds another twist into the tale.  While the Tenth Doctor with Graham, Yaz, and Ryan are able to escape into the TARDIS to avoid the Angels touch...the Thirteenth Doctor and Marhta discover that somehow the Autons are also mixed up in all of this.  

In this issue the two Doctors also meet up for the first time.  It leads to the usual bickering banter that tends to happen when two incarnations meet, but they also compare notes on what they’ve discovered thus far.  Obviously it seems that the Angels are behind the disappearances, but just how does the appearance of the Autons fit into all of this? The mystery will have to wait to be solved until later, as the team find themselves surrounded by Angels...though they make it into the TARDIS, something is trying to break in!

This is another strong entry in this adventure, and one can only hope that writer Jody Houser can end this story on a high note. 





Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.2 (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 1 March 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Thirteenth Doctor - Issue #2.2 (Credit: Titan)

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

35 Pages

Published by Titan Comics February 2020

Issue 2 of the Thirteenth Doctor's second year as a Titan Comic book maintains the quality from the opening episode.  Still in London 1969 and trying to figure out why the TARDIS would risk a paradox by bringing them to the same time and place as when the Tenth Doctor and Martha were trapped there without the TARDIS, things begin to build momentum as Martha finds the shop she works at has been robbed, and her coworker has gone missing...and then discovers the Thirteenth Doctor watching her. 

Martha confronts her, and she decides to come clean and admit she is the future incarnation of her friend.  This obviously puzzles Martha, but she seems to at least buy it a little.  She and the Doctor then decide to investigate all these missing people. 

The rest of the gang are trailing the Tenth Doctor, and his machine that goes ding begins to work, and they notice he may be heading towards the TARDIS. Their TARDIS.  If he finds it, he may believe it is his and then they would be stranded in 1969.  Yaz takes the bold measure of trying to confront the Doctor.  She pretends she is a Time Agent (believable cover story based on previous adventures in these comics), but the Tenth Doctor is able to easily blow that cover story...but before the three of them can manage to distract him from the TARDIS, he warns them to turn around...and try not to blink. The Angels are in 1969! 

This was a solid issue.  I thought it was well paced, I enjoyed both the Thirteenth/Martha sections and the Tenth/Trio bits.  I also felt it had a great little cliffhanger. If they manage to have an ending that doesn't feel like it is racing to the finish line, this will be the strongest effort of this book so far.





The Tenth Doctor Adventures - Volume Three (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 7 June 2019 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Tenth Doctor Adventures Volume Three (Credit: Big Finish)


Starring David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Bernard Cribbins, Jacqueline King, Nicholas Briggs
Written by James Goss, Jenny T Colgan, & Roy Gill
Directed by Ken Bentley

Released by Big Finish - May 2019

David Tennant and Catherine Tate return to Big Finish for Tennant's third and Tate's second boxset, and this time they've brought along some supporting characters from Series 4 as well: Wilf and Sylvia! 

The set opens with No Place, seeing all four characters in a haunted house, with the Doctor and Donna pretending to be newlyweds for some haunted house makeover show. Obviously, this is all in order to deal with whatever alien presence is stalking the house. In all honesty, the opener feels half baked, like they got part of an idea and never truly figured out the details...maybe hoping that the joy of hearing Bernard Cribbins as Wilf again would distract us from the fact that the story isn't terribly great.  And while it is great to hear Wilf and Sylvia in on the action, I can't say I even buy the idea that Sylvia would get involved in this plot.  It's nothing against Jacqueline King, she is good in this...but the way the character had always been written is contrary to her getting roped into a Doctor Scheme. She just wouldn't. And in the end, these are the kind of silly details I focus in on when the story itself isn't terribly interesting. 

Luckily the set bounces back with One Mile Down as the Doctor takes Donna to a tourist trap that was once a beautiful underwater city, but in order to make money with tourism they've encased it in a bubble, with the original fish like inhabitants forced into protective helmets, and essentially be treated as lower life forms despite having built the beautiful city everyone has come to see.  It can be a bit ham-fisted with it's social commentary, but that was the Tenth Doctor era I loved so much!  You've got 45 minutes to an hour to explain your premise, introduce your guest characters, build a world and solve it all for the next adventure...if you want to put in a message, well you just need to shove it in and get the point across quickly.  And I enjoyed this episode!

The set closes out with The Creeping Death, which takes place in Smoggy London in 1952. This was an actual thing that got really bad in December 1952, and a number of people got ill or died due to toxins in the air.  In this story, some minuscule alien lifeforms that live in those kinds of toxins have come to Earth and hope to make the smog last forever, and of course, it is up to the Doctor, Donna, and a small group of people to stop them.  This one has a fun atmosphere, and I enjoyed all the guest characters. It is definitely the best outing for this set. 

As the Tenth Doctor is probably my favourite version of the character, and Donna my favourite companion of his, I'd be hard pressed not to just enjoy hearing Tennant and Tate together again (even out of character the two are always a blast to listen to).  I think despite the lame opening effort, they bounce back and make stories that definitely feel like episodes that could've fit into Series 4.  The only thing that could capture the feel of that era better is Murray Gold's music.  Unlike the first set in which Tennant had to sort of find his Doctor voice again, and the second set in which Billie Piper didn't quite feel like the old Rose, this time Tennant and Tate are rock solid in their performances, and it's a fun ride. 





The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor - The Tenth Doctor (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Road To The Thirteenth Doctor #1 (Credit: Titan / Robert Hack)



"The Ghost Ship"
Writer: James Peaty
Artist: Iolanda Zanfardinoy
Colorist: Dijjo Lima

"The Road To..."
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Rachel Scott
Colorist: Enrica Angiolini

Published by Titan Comics in July 2018

Titan Comics can't actually show the Thirteenth Doctor before she debuts on TV in the fall, so they have decided to build to her Comic Book Debut with three one-shot comic books that leads into her debut story.  The first of these, in what is being called "The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor," is this story featuring the Tenth Doctor.  It is short and light doesn't really feel like it is building towards anything.  It isn't necessarily bad, but at this point doesn't really feel like it is on the "road" to anything. 

It begins with the Tenth Doctor and his two Titan Companions, Gabby and Cindy...as they land on a space station and face off with some creepy beings that the Doctor defeats easily, and exposes a creepy plot by the "Earth Corps" to create genocidal weapons.  And that is seemingly it. The conclusion feels quick and easy, nothing to write home about. The fact is the main story is just a regular Tenth Doctor story, which may or may not play into future events for either his series or the Thirteenth Doctor...but either way, it seems odd to build up and market this as a build up to her strips and then just give us an average story with an attached four page short story that is meant to sort of build to her. 

The short story that actually is meant to serve as the actual "Road To.." storyline, just goes back into the Tenth Doctor's first season on TV, where we see the Doctor in between scenes in The Girl in the Fireplace in which he finds something even crazier than 18th Century France on a space station, though it is left ambiguous as to what it is, as the Tenth Doctor races off to save Rose and Mickey before exploring anything further.

One can only hope this is actually going somewhere. I felt this story was too light, too easy an enemy to defeat...but I didn't quite know what it was they were setting up for the Thirteenth Doctor. I only discovered later that only the four page mini-comic had anything to do with the Thirteenth Doctor's eventual debut.  And I gotta say it was too short and ambiguous and relied a little too much on past continuity for me to get too interested. 

The art is nice, and as per usual for Titan, they just nail the characterization of the Tenth Doctor, but this ultimately is just a regular issue of the Tenth Doctor ongoing series, and anything that may be setting up the actual road to the Thirteenth Doctor feels like an afterthought...or something that might work better when the whole story is collected together. Right now, it isn't the strongest start for the big build-up to the new Doctor.