Doctor Who: Empire Of The Wolf #1 – Comic Review

Bad Wolf. As all Doctor Who fans know, those two words are scattered across space and time, by an omniscient version of Rose Tyler, after she absorbed the power of the Time Vortex. Those two words just keep on cropping up, like a bad penny, where you least expect them.

Take the recent news Russell T. Davies would be returning to the role of showrunner on Doctor Who in time for the series’ 60th anniversary in 2023, and partnering with company Bad Wolf to produce the show. Of course, Russell was responsible not only for bringing back his beloved programme, turning a once battle-weary Time Lord languishing in the backwaters of audience popularity into ‘must-see’ appointment TV once more, but also giving us Rose Tyler.

Rose has cast a long shadow over every companion who has come after her, and has been a yardstick against which all of her successors are measured. This is no doubt due to it being a winning combination of Russell T. Davies’ writing in giving us such a grounded and believable character, and a rounded and endearing performance from Billie Piper, who managed to shrug off all the advance criticism from those who saw her as just an ex-pop princess with no acting chops.

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It seems that there are very few companions either before or since who have been so beloved by the fans and public alike, with maybe the last one of real note being Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith. Despite leaving Doctor Who back in 2006, Piper’s Rose has made a number of returns to the show, with the character also appearing in a number of Big Finish audio dramas, including one that picked up on her life in a parallel universe, where she was stranded on her departure.

It was on one of Rose’s brief returns to the programme where she ended up meeting a part-human duplicate of the Doctor, who only had one heart and no regenerative ability, meaning the pair could live out their lives together and have a family, which she would never have been able to do with the Doctor. This new comic series from Titan – Doctor Who: Empire Of The Wolf – picks up Rose’s story over a decade on, getting to grips with having a teenage daughter of her own.

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Rose finds herself unexpectedly plucked away from her life in the parallel world, back to our reality, and she runs across an old friend – but probably not the one she was expecting. Elsewhere in time and space, the Eleventh Doctor is trying to come to terms with having recently lost his friends Amy and Rory, and decides he needs a holiday; however, the TARDIS has other ideas, and he soon finds himself getting caught up in the middle of an alien conflict.

Jody Houser has been doing a lot of Doctor team-ups lately, most recently bringing together the Tenth and Thirteenth incarnations for a crossover. Here, to mark 2021 being the 25th anniversary of Paul McGann making his appearance in an ill-fated one-off TV movie as the Time Lord, Houser has brought together the Eighth Doctor with the Eleventh for a tangling of not just the timelines, but also different realities, as the Bad Wolf prepares to bare its fangs…

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The choice of Doctors is an intriguing one, as we have one – in the form of the Eighth – who has yet to cross paths with Rose, and another – the Eleventh – who has already faced her loss in his last life, so the combination of this pair does promise some sparks flying. A rather unexpected tie-in to the current six-part special tale airing on Sundays is a nice little addition, and the pieces which Houser has assembled certainly indicate a great deal of promise.

Doctor Who: Empire Of The Wolf #1 is out now from Titan Comics.

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