Doctor Who – “Origins”

Doctor Who - Origins 1a

Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Roberta Ingranata

Chronology Placement: Set before “Fugitive of the Judoon

This Graphic Novel collects the following stories:

  • Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day 2022
  • Doctor Who: Origins # 1 – 4

Spinning out of the “Timeless Child” storyline, The Fugitive Doctor was a divisive addition to Doctor Who canon – mainly because it undermined the existing lore of the programme to that point, but also because little was done with the character once she was revealed. In fact, each of her subsequent appearances on the show were either visions or hallucinations. It felt like Chris Chibnall had created the character for expanded media, such as Big Finish and Titan Comics, to explore in greater detail. Luckily, both of those companies announced materials featuring the character – the first being, this miniseries by the resident Doctor Who comic creative team Jody Houser and Roberta Ingranata.

Set during the Fugitive Doctor’s days working for Division, writer Jody Houser captures much of this Doctor’s abrasive attitude – she is a very different type of Doctor compared to the Thirteenth Doctor and Houser’s script accurately reflects the subtleties of Jo Martin’s performance, hinting at a softer side underneath the snarkiness. The first adventure is a short introduction to the character, initially printed as a Free Comic Day issue, and represents one of the Doctor’s first forays on Earth and how the encounter may have subconsciously influenced the First Doctor to hide there during his escape from Gallifrey. It’s a fun little one-shot storyline that debuts this incarnation of the Doctor in comic-book format.

The main storyline “Origins” takes place before the events of “Fugitive of the Judoon” while the Doctor is still working as an operative for the Division. An ‘in media res’ opening shows the Doctor working alongside a Weeping Angel – possibly one of the ones from “Village of the Angels” – to recover the children of the Empress of Weavers. While this particular mission seems to be morally right, it isn’t long until the Doctor is asked to perform some ‘black ops’ Time Lord clean-up on behalf of the Division. This disparity in missions highlights one of my biggest issues with the Division – namely, what was their purpose and endgame – Chibnall tended to present them as a shadowy illuminati-esque organisation, lacking in any real sense of aim and motivations. Houser maintains this sinister, controlling vibe by having them send the Doctor to eliminate some potential enemies of Gallifrey – although the truth is a lot more complicated than that.

Doctor Who - Origins 1b

The plot has some genuine shocks – which I won’t ruin here – with plenty of twists and turns that play against reader expectations as to who is friend or foe. Houser’s script flows extremely well and touches upon some heady subjects like racial purity through a science-fiction prism. The topic also aligns nicely with Tecteun’s own manipulation of the Time Lord DNA to introduce regenerations, not to mention the Dalek’s own obsessions with a pure breed. Artist Roberta Ingranata does a fantastic job at capturing Jo Martin’s mannerisms as the Fugitive Doctor, bringing her “no-nonsense” approach to life on the page. Ingranata’s art style is extremely dynamic, and can transition from dark, foreboding action to brighter, more imaginative alien landscapes. As always, she captures the essences of the characters rather than going for photo-realistic representations and that results in a fluidity to her art work that helps the action flow well.

Peeling back the curtain to explore an extremely under-utilized part of Doctor Who canon, Doctor Who: Origins is absolutely vital reading material for fans of the show. The dream team of Houser and Ingranata continue to deliver exceptional stories that enhance the enjoyment of the TV show, which is ultimately the aim of these sorts of tie-in materials. Titan Comics’ Doctor Who comics range has been particularly eclectic in recent years, moving away from featuring the incumbent Doctor to showcasing a mix of classic Doctors and even, Missy. I’m really enjoying seeing this creative team explore hidden corners of the Doctor Who franchise, and look forward to seeing whatever the next miniseries is about.

Score – ★★★★

Doctor Who: “Origins” is available in print format from Amazon UK, or as a digital eBook from Amazon Kindle.


One thought on “Doctor Who – “Origins”

  1. Despite all the obvious conflicts for fans with the Timeless Child reveal for the Doctor, I’m glad that Jo Martin’s Doctor is getting some very good recognition because she’s still likeable in her own right as the Doctor. Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 2 people

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