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DOCTOR WHO – EMPIRE OF THE WOLF #1 [Preview/Review]

DOCTOR WHO – EMPIRE OF THE WOLF #1/ Written by JODY HOUSER/ Art by ROBERTA INGRANATA/ Colors by WARINA K. SAHADEWA/ Letters by COMICRAFT’S RICHARD STARKINGS/ Published by TITAN COMICS

A word of warning regarding SPOILERS. If you are not a fan of Rose Tyler or are otherwise content to have let her vanish into another universe at the end of Series 4, you can go ahead and skip this review and this book. However, if you have wondered what might have happened to the Defender of Earth after she went off into another world with a clone of the Time Lord she loved… read on.

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Rose Tyler was an ordinary shop girl who became a champion after her encounter with The Doctor. She had thought her adventures were over and had settled down to an ordinary life with the man who came to be known as John Smith. But something has brought Rose back to the universe of her birth. Something that is giving her flashes of memories of another Rose Tyler. Another Universe where the Defender of Earth became something quite different.

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Luckily the Doctor is on-hand to lend a hand. Unluckily, its not the Doctor that Rose once knew. In fact, it’s a Doctor who knows nothing of the Time War and the future of Gallifrey. And somewhere else in time and space, the Eleventh Doctor, fresh from the loss of Amy and Rory Pond, is trying to have a vacation free from invasions, companions or anything that might spoil the good mood he’s forced on himself.

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The title and the cover of Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1 give away the “twist” of the story somewhat. Then again, a story teaming the 8th and 11th Doctors to fight an alternate version of Rose Tyler from a universe where she became a conqueror of worlds rather than a protector and teaming with an older Rose Tyler who just wants to get home to her daughter is the sort of thing that will hook some fans while driving others away. Admittedly, this story seems unlikely to win over that section of the Whovian fandom who don’t like Rose as a character and were glad to see her go.

This is a shame, because Jody Houser has spun one heck of a story this time around. Houser has a real gift for capturing the voices of the characters from the series and one can truly imagine the actors delivering this dialogue. It’s almost as if these comics were adapting episodes of the show from another universe where Paul McGann, Billie Piper and Matt Smith were still on Doctor Who.

The artwork by Roberta Ingranata is similarly skillful in how it captures the physical likeness of the characters. Beyond that, the action of the story is well-paced and well-illustrated and what exposition is needed flows smoothly through some beautiful montages. The colors by Warina K. Sahadewa are also wonderful, suitably vivid and eye-catching throughout.

Fans of Rose Tyler will rejoice in this volume, as will fans of the Eighth and Eleventh Doctors. Empire of the Wolf is a ripping yarn in the grand tradition of classic Doctor Who. Highly recommended to all Whovians.

Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1 releases on November 17, 2021.

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