”Stories too broad and too deep for the small screen.”
That was the tagline for the officially licenced Doctor Who novels range – The New Adventures – which first went into print in 1991, two years after the television series went off air, and carried on the tales of the Doctor, taking them into rather more adult territory than had been allowed on screen. Many future writers for the revived TV series would cut their teeth on these books, including once and future showrunner Russell T. Davies.
The floodgates were truly opened for the programme to live on in other media, such as the Big Finish audio drama range, and even when the show returned in 2005, there would still be some forays into realms far beyond the cathode ray tube. In one of the most recent examples, there was a multimedia, cross-platform story called ‘Time Lord Victorious’, in which an epic adventure featuring multiple Doctors spanned audio, print, video games, and even a live interactive experience. It was a bold – if, at times, somewhat jumbled and confusing – experiment to build upon the television universe.
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It must have realised sufficiently well enough for a further foray into other expanded media to be repeated, as 2023 – Doctor Who’s diamond jubilee year – brings us another event, in the form of ‘Doom’s Day’. This time round, the focus of the story is not our Time Lord hero(ine), but an entirely new character, the universe’s deadliest assassin: Doom. Armed with just her wits and a Vortex Manipulator, Doom is on a desperate quest across space and time to track the Doctor, as the only person who can help save her. Someone has sent Death after Doom, and she only has 24 hours left, before it’s too late…
A launch trailer earlier this year introduced us to Doom, with stand-up comedienne Sooz Kempner playing the role. Some folks may know Kempner from her viral videos, in which she portrays Nadine Dorries, notorious soon-to-be former Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire, and erstwhile ‘celeb’ ostrich anus muncher. Others, of a geekier persuasion, may have already come across Kempner as Fox, in sci-fi comedy comedy audio spoof Dick Dixon In The 21st Century. It seems fair to say her star is truly on the ascendant, so being the face (and voice) of the lead character featured in a Doctor Who spin-off project can only help with raising her profile further.
The premiere issue of this Titan Comics tie-in takes place in the seventh hour of Doom’s (potentially) final day, and sees her on a mission in 1883 New York, before heading off to the 52nd Century and the Stormcage Facility, which holds some of the most notorious and despicable villains, blaggards and ne’er-do-wells that the cosmos has ever had the misfortune to encounter. Crossing Doom’s path along the way is Doctor Who, that self-proclaimed universe-galloping itinerant do-gooder… or is it? It seems that Doom’s road to salvation may not be a smooth one, and – in the case of one jackanapes – it might even prove to have crazy paving.
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Stalwarts of Titan’s Doctor Who range – writer Jody Houser and artist Roberta Ingranata – have the task of bringing to life this segment of Doom’s day, and so far they appear to be doing a fine job of it. Doom will be popping across the space-time continuum, but bearing in mind that not everyone will be following the entire tale across all media, the tricky thing to do here is deliver a story which stands up in its own right, as well as one which also fits into the overall arc. Houser has managed to get this tale – ‘A Doctor In The House?’ – off to a cracking start, establishing Doom’s lethality, plus explaining her real objective throughout: find the Doctor.
Titan’s Doctor Who: Doom’s Day comic certainly promises a great deal, and while perhaps not too broad and too deep for the small screen like its literary predecessors, it may serve up an awful lot more fun.
Doctor Who: Doom’s Day #1 is out now from Titan Comics.