Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: Defender of the Daleks is a bit of an odd duck. It is a graphic novel collecting two comics that were part of a 2020 multimedia event spread across various Doctor Who novels, comics, games, audio plays, escape rooms and, well, basically every medium with a Doctor Who license apart from the television series that started it all. The oddity is that despite being a small part of what may be the biggest Doctor Who story ever told, at least in terms of its spread across various formats, this graphic novel is remarkably well-contained and serves as a solid introduction to the Doctor Who premise for newbies. While there is a title page that outlines the show’s concept and all the characters, writer Jody Houser does a fine job of slowly bringing readers into the world of the time-traveling alien hero known as The Doctor, while setting up the story proposed by James Goss, who came up with the whole Time Lord Victorious concept.
As the novel opens, The Doctor is suffering from a bout of short-term memory loss and the travel log on their time-ship, the TARDIS, has no record of where they were. This points to a serious paradox having occurred and the possibility that The Doctor was either pushed into a parallel universe or that something altered the history of their universe in a big way. However, that mystery must be put on hold after The Doctor is confronted by a horde of Daleks; the world-conquering aliens that are The Doctor’s greatest enemy. But these Daleks are not looking for a fight. They are looking for a hero.
The Daleks think The Doctor is the only one who can save the universe from The Hond, a primordial race so ancient that even The Doctor’s race thought they were a legend made-up to frighten children. Unfortunately, The Hond are all too real and, in the timeline caused by the paradox, they have advanced to become a major threat. This is something of a problem given that The Hond are a death cult dedicated to destroying every other race in the universe before destroying themselves. To save this reality, The Doctor and The Daleks must form a reluctant alliance.
While the plot of Time Lord Victorious is a standard “Enemy Mine” scenario with two enemies being forced to work together for a greater good, Jody Houser builds upon that basic premise to spin a spirited story. Her grasp of the Doctor’s character is fantastic and fans of the show will likely hear the voice of David Tennant as they read this novel, along with the digital growls of the Daleks. The artwork by Roberta Ingranata also does a fine job of capturing the essence of the show and the appearance of Tennant’s Doctor and the various Daleks. She also offers up a disturbing design for the Hond. The color art by Enrica Eren Angiolini also deserves praise, creating continual interesting visual contrasts, such as with the opening pages in which the cold of space has a subtle blue tint contrasting with the warmer orange shades highlighting the scenes inside the TARDIS.
Titan Comics has rated this volume for readers 12+ and up and I think that’s a fair rating. There’s nothing in terms of content that is inappropriate for teen or tween audiences, being on par with your average episode of the Doctor Who television program. I dare say this book could be safely enjoyed by younger readers, though they may need help with some of the bigger words.
Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: Defender of the Daleks
By Jody Houser, James Goss
Art by Roberta Ingranata, Enrica Angiolini
Titan Comics, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 12+ Only
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)
Related to…: TV to Comic