Defender of the Daleks, starring the Tenth Doctor, was Titan Comics' contribution to the multi-medium Time Lord Victorious storyline. It marked the return of the Golden Emperor to mainstream Doctor Who after its last official appearance in the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures' War of the Daleks. The story also introduced the Hond.
From the perspective of the Tenth Doctor, the story picks up shortly after where the then-upcoming Doctor Who Comic story Alternating Current left off, which ended up releasing out of order due to it being delayed.
A thrilling new adventure for the Tenth Doctor (as played by fan-favorite David Tennant) that sees the shocking return of his deadliest enemies: the Daleks! But things aren't what they seem - time is all wrong, and something is coming that terrifies even the Daleks.
The Tenth Doctor awakens on the floor of a burning TARDIS with a headache. Quickly grabbing a fire extinguisher, he struggles to remember how he got here, positive he was elsewhere with someone else. Once the flames are out, he checks the navigation system to find he is at Blecplam Two and a Half but the logs cannot show where he was before. Deciding to ask the Blecplamites for aid, the Doctor finds himself face to face with a squad of Silver Daleks. Slamming the door in their faces, the Doctor quickly flies off. The Dalek leader is undeterred, ordering its troops to follow.
Materialising in a desert, the Doctor tries to get his bearings, a good sniff of the air confirming that he's fallen victim to a paradox. No sooner has he cleared his nose do the Daleks return, the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver to disable their gunsticks and manipulator arms long enough so he can take off again. The Doctor sails the universe trying to shake off his pursuers but be it North Carolina or Raddplina, the same Daleks are always there. Finally, at Guelder, the Doctor notices something. Not one Dalek has tried to kill him. Asking why this is, the leader reveals that they are to bring the Doctor before the Dalek Emperor, threatening to exterminate the TARDIS if he does not comply. Furious, the Doctor notes that any attack on his ship will make the Last Great Time War look like a tea party. The Daleks however profess ignorance of the conflict. Realising that the Daleks are scared, the Doctor follows.
Aboard the Dalek Flagship, the Doctor ponders the paradox before he meets with the Emperor of the Restoration, though mistaking him for the Dalek Prime, as the Dalek Fleet descends onto Skaro. The Emperor reveals that the Doctor was sought out to aid the Daleks in defeating the Hond, an omnicidal species from the Dark Times who should no longer exist. After getting the Emperor to modify this down to a "request" for help, the Doctor agrees, taking the opportunity to confirm that this incarnation of the Dalek Empire does not know of the Last Great Time War and that the Daleks are only fighting the Hond because the Hond rejected allying with them.
Brought to the Dalek City, a Dalek drone shows the Doctor their weapon strength but the Doctor is unconvinced. He knows the Daleks and demands to be taken to the real arsenal. Complying, the drone takes him to the Vault of Obscenities before it scampers away. In its place, a rusted Dalek War Machine makes itself known, identifying itself as the Dalek Prime Strategist, the Doctor's guide to the ancient structure.
Trekking within, the Doctor tries to make conversation with the Strategist, allegedly older than the Emperor, before the floor collapses under them, the Doctor lifting his unlikely ally to safety. Questioning why the Strategist is still using an outdated casing, the Strategist answers that the casing bears battle scars of pride. The Doctor is skeptical of the answer, given the Daleks' lack of individuality, before the Strategist cuts him off by shooting a defence measure, leading him deeper into the Vault.
Braving the traps, the two come to the locked door that contains the heavy artillery. Before the Doctor can open it, his screwdriver picks up another, non-Dalek, lifeform. Turning, the Strategist fires a warning barrage. Though the Doctor chastises the typical Dalek response, a gooey golem-like creature rises from the floor, declaring that the Dalek is right to fear, for the Hond will soon kill all.
Correctly deducing that the golem is a Hond, the Doctor orders the Strategist to wait while he converses with it. Speaking to the ooze-creature, the Doctor learns that the Hond live a life of pain and seek to end that by killing all other life. Taking pity, the Doctor offers his aid only to be attacked, the Strategist exterminating the intruder. Scanning the bubbling remains, the Doctor is now curious. Daleks excel at killing. And if first generation Dalek technology can kill their foe, why did they call him? Guessing that the Strategist is withholding information but conceding to its assessment of the Hond threat, the Doctor opens the Vault.
Though the Vault's contents nearly trigger a flashback to the Time War, the Doctor puts on a relaxed face, making another joke at the Strategist's outdated casing. When the Strategist chooses to respond that their casing "suffices" however, the Doctor deduces that the Strategist had failed the Emperor at some point and was barred from upgrading to the newer casings. Conceding, the Strategist reveals it still lives because its current strategy, seeking the Doctor's aid, has not yet failed.
Just as the security protocols deactivate, the Hond from before returns, lunging at the Strategist and melting away the Dalekanium. With some clever rewiring, the Doctor turns an energy projector into a stellar net (a term he's sure he's just heard) to trap the Hond scout. As Dalek drones take the weapons and their prisoner away, the Strategist, its mutant now showing, declares that the Doctor and the Daleks will stand together.
As the enemy approaches, the Doctor tries again to speak to the scout who is now much less coherent. With all the weapon systems linked and modified by the Doctor, the Daleks unleash their full might on the advancing Hond only to find that the aliens are unharmed by their attacks. Realising what he has to do, the Doctor demands full access to the weapon systems, the Grey Dalek reluctantly complying at the Strategist's order.
As he works, the Doctor explains to the Strategist. The Hond don't just feel pain, they are pain incarnate. They're the primordial ooze of the universe made sentient. All they know is suffering and can't conceive of an existence outside of that, believing that a mass genocide is an act of kindness to stop the pain they believe all others must also suffer. Readjusting a few frequencies, the Doctor fires a new pulse, one that allows the Hond to be free of pain. As the scout hovers out of the net, it offers the Doctor its thanks before the aliens depart.
And right on schedule, the Grey Dalek orders the Doctor exterminated. Despairing that the Strategist was only ever acting, the Doctor triggers his failsafe by detonating his modified weapon systems but finds he cannot contact the TARDIS. From out of the shadows steps the Thirteenth Doctor who leads him away. Vaguely recalling his successor, the Tenth Doctor follows, the two emerging into the open and calling their TARDISes before they part ways. Though before he takes off, the Tenth Doctor despairs at the Strategist's deception, having hoped that there could have been a good Dalek, but chooses to take solace in hope.
Brought before a furious Emperor, the Strategist defends its failure by the presence of a second Doctor. As it notes, the Doctor has many faces, and any one of them may still be of use to the Daleks.
- Tenth Doctor
- Emperor of the Restoration
- Dalek Prime Strategist
- Grey Dalek
- Thirteenth Doctor
- Eighth Doctor
- The Doctor wakes up in the TARDIS with short-term amnesia.
- The Doctor identifies a paradox by scent.
- The Doctor asks his thirteenth incarnation if they have ever been ginger, which she sadly denies.
- The Doctor jokingly cites the "true" enemy of the Daleks as being a staircase.
- The Daleks have no record of the Last Great Time War.
- The Hond were said to have died out in the Dark Times.
- The Doctor awakens to find the TARDIS parked in Blecplam Two and a Half.
- The Doctor and the Dalek Prime Strategist explore the Vault of Obscenities.
- The Doctor uses a fire extinguisher.
Time Lord culture
- The Doctor calls the Vault of Obscenities a "real Temple of Doom", noting when the Dalek Prime Strategist fails to get the reference that "it's a movie".
- The Doctor exclaims, "Happy Christmas", after referring to the Hond he had just trapped as being "gift-wrapped".
- While conversing with his thirteenth incarnation, the Doctor says that the problem with paradoxes, besides the impending reality collapse, is that conversations get repetitive.
- The "previously" synopsis in issue 1 refers to the Tenth Doctor meeting the Thirteenth Doctor, them facing off against their enemies and the Tenth Doctor being pulled into the Time Vortex. This is not the plot of their encounter in COMIC: A Little Help from My Friends, however. Rather, it refers to their reunion in COMIC: Alternating Current that was delayed from June to November 2020.
- In a panel where the Doctor is supposed to see an error on a TARDIS monitor, the monitor has its usual appearance with the words "Red Gallifreyan" rather than an actual artistic depiction of a red Gallifreyan error message.
- The Eighth Doctor's appearence consists of only a single image on a computer screen.
Original print details
- Part 1:
- In a twist of fate, the Tenth Doctor and the Thirteenth Doctor were brought together to face off against their deadly enemies. Unfortunately, the universe doesn't quite like the idea of a Time Lord meeting up with their past or future self - the consequences of such a paradox could cause a reality-altering shift that destroys the entire universe! Lucky for them it all worked out, until the Tenth Doctor was pulled into an impossible Time Vortex..."
- Part 2:
- The Tenth Doctor has been mysteriously transported to a rewritten timeline where the Time War never happened and the Dalek Empire is still a fearsome force in the universe. Recruited as an unlikely ally by the Emperor Dalek, the Doctor must now face a deadly, alien threat that even the Daleks fear: the Hond. Aided by the Dalek Prime Strategist, the Doctor is preparing for battle, when he encounters the deadly Hond..."
- The Doctor's first act upon awakening with partial amnesia is to repeatedly exclaim "What?" (TV: Doomsday, Last of the Time Lords, Time Crash)
- The Daleks have previously chased the Doctor across time and space in his first incarnation. (TV: The Chase)
- While being chased by the Daleks, the Doctor briefly visits Blecplam Two and a Half, (COMIC: A New Beginning) Guelder, (COMIC: Hidden Human History) the planet of the elves, (COMIC: Holiday Special) North Carolina, (COMIC: Hidden Human History) and Raddplina. (COMIC: Old Friends)
- The Silver Daleks try to force the Doctor's cooperation by threatening to destroy the TARDIS. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks)
- The Doctor examines a Progenitor when aboard the Emperor's saucer. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)
- The Doctor is skeptical of the Strategist's claim of being "older than the Emperor", believing this Emperor to be the original Golden Emperor, known to be the oldest Dalek. (COMIC: Genesis of Evil)
- The Doctor vaguely recalls hearing the term "stellar net" somewhere recently. (COMIC: A Little Help from My Friends)
- The Doctor once again asks his thirteenth incarnation if they had ever been ginger, not remembering the last time he asked. (COMIC: A Little Help from My Friends)
- The Doctor hopes that he will one day encounter "a good Dalek". (TV: Into the Dalek)