DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF By Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, Warnia K. Sahadewa
Titan Comics, s/b, £14.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
This superb graphic novel gives the fans what they want – more universe-crossing fun with Doctor Who. Featuring the fan-favourite floppy-haired Eleventh Doctor (as portrayed by Matt Smith) and the unshaven, tousle-haired Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann’s pre-War Doctor Doctor). It also features Rose Tyler and The Bad Wolf Empress (an alternate version of Rose Tyler). Opening with Rose Tyler living in domestic bliss with the human regeneration of the Tenth Doctor (the “spare” David Tennant Doctor) in an alternate universe, she keeps getting visions of people and a battle and tries to reach out across time and space to whoever is sending the visions, disappearing in a blaze of light to the Tenth Doctor’s famous “What? What? What?” catchphrase. Empress Rose (or the Bad Wolf Empress as she’s also known) wakes from a dream of the other Rose Tyler’s life and asks one of her subjects, D’Pau, to locate and bring The Doctor to her.
The Eighth Doctor materialises in London during the WWII Blitz, only to see a squadron of Sontarans (or “short angry potatoes with guns” as he describes them) appear and then disappear. Trying to trace them, he meets Rose Tyler, but even though he doesn’t (yet) know her, he agrees to help her to find her way home.
The Eleventh Doctor is sulking – still hurting from losing Amy and Rory to the Weeping Angels. He dons his fez and asks the TARDIS to take him on holiday but ends up in the middle of a war that he can’t help but investigate. D’Pau finds The Doctor and tells him that Rose needs his help, so of course, The Doctor goes with him.
The writing is excellent (as you would expect from Houser, one of the writers on Stranger Things), and the dialogue perfectly captures each of the Doctors (and the Roses). The bickering between the two Doctors (as always) and Rose taking control of the situation, telling them to behave themselves, is instantly recognisable to a fan of the show. As the storyline features multiple Doctors and Roses, it is suitably timey-wimey, with great humour interjected between the drama and action.
This graphic novel is a real treat for any Doctor Who fan – the artwork is fantastic, with each character instantly recognisable and very well drawn, to glorious, sweeping scenes of outer space, alien worlds and aliens galore. The story flies across (and out of) the page from panel to panel, with different-sized panels used to great effect to show action scenes or wide views of the action. The facial expressions are exceptional and really do capture each of the actors that we know so well, really adding nuance to the storyline.
All in all, this is a magnificent piece of work – stunningly realised and a tale well told indeed. Set your sonic screwdriver to seek this out – you won’t regret it!