The comic marked the Thirteenth Doctor's return to the comic strip after being absent since May due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the publication of Monstrous Beauty starring the Ninth Doctor, although also marked the last strip before a second pause in comic production for the same reason.
Hong Kong, 1940. With the sun setting over Guangli Bay, a talkative young fisherman called Hai Lan chats to his co-worker Chen Luo about their differing mentalities over work. As he does, their final haul reveals a strangely clean and shining porcelain-like oval which Hai obsesses over. Despite Chen asking for it, Hai refuses to hand it over due to their "finders keepers" rule, knowing that he could sell it for a fortune and retire. As he talks, Chen pulls out a dagger. Later that evening, Chen studies the object himself with Hai's arm draped unmoving over the hull of the ship, something new being born as their friendship dies.
32 years later, the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan explore a bustling night market in the city, all excited to sample the sights and tastes. As the Doctor and Ryan try out the street food, Yaz goes jewellery shopping for a black pendant while Graham fails to get her to haggle.
Meanwhile, a young woman sprints through the market, knocking people aside before she finally bumps into Yaz, dropping the white pendant she was holding. Looking up, Yaz and Graham learn that she is called Tung-Mei and she is being pursued for lying by a man called Renshu and his bodyguard, both armed. As he threatens to take Yaz and Graham with them, Tung-Mei tries to plead their innocence. However, Renshu steals Yaz's pendant, believing it to be Tung-Mei's, and forces the trio into a car before threatening the crowd to stay silent.
With the Doctor still trying food, Ryan notices the car zoom past but is unable to catch the license plate. Although the public are unwilling to help, Ryan notices Tung-Mei's white pendant and the Doctor confirms with her sonic screwdriver that it is a receiver unit for some "telepathic alien tech". Picking up a signal nearby, the two run off to help.
Renshu and his bodyguard lead Graham, Yaz, and Tung-Mei out of the city and onto a small boat, threatening them to not ask questions. On the boat, Tung-Mei apologises and explains that she and her pursuers work for the same man and she was chased after trying to quit, but Renshu counters that she actually stole something from their boss. Finally, their destination appears: a huge floating castle restaurant that is populated by the rich and famous.
Inside, the boss calmly scolds Tung-Mei for her foolish ways, revealing himself to be an older and much more powerful Chen Luo. Renshu hands Yaz's pendant to him, only to be met with fury that he gathered the wrong item, demanding that Renshu finds the correct pendant or he will kill him. As Renshu runs off, Chen demands his guards lock up the three visitors so his son can talk to them later.
Meanwhile, on a tram in the city, the Doctor holds the pendant to her forehead to try and track its telepathic pulse, receiving some strange looks from locals. Soon, Renshu and his backup continue to trawl through the market, spreading the word that they need to find two Brits who have the correct pendant before the night is out.
Hours later, the Doctor and Ryan reach the upmarket area of the Walled City of Kowloon, seemingly finding the source of the pendant's pulse. Sonicking her way into the grounds of a very posh villa, the two prepare themselves for anything, but they are met at the front door by its owner, furious at them for breaking and entering - Bruce Lee! The Doctor and Ryan are speechless and Bruce advances on them, assuming they are fans that have greatly overstepped the mark, but they are interrupted by Renshu, now with a whole gang of armed backup. Surrounding the Doctor, Ryan, and Bruce in a circle, he warns her to hand over the pendant "and maybe we'll just shoot you a little."
With the Doctor at gunpoint, she is left unfazed, knowing that if Bruce is caught in the crossfire, the attackers would be immediate targets for the police. Renshu admits this and the goons holster their guns and grab knives instead. Bruce calls Renshu the luckiest man in Hong Kong, as if he had appeared on a day when Bruce's wife and children were around, he would already be dead. A mass brawl ensues, with Bruce seeing them off easily, and as Ryan looks on amazed, the Doctor sheds her coat to join in, performing Venusian aikido back to back with Bruce.
As Renshu gets back to his feet, however, Ryan lunges at him but is effortlessly caught and threatened at knifepoint. Renshu forces the Doctor to hand over the pendant or Ryan will be killed, and despite Ryan's urging, she agrees and the goons leave. Ryan yells at the Doctor for giving up their chances to win to save him and walks off. As he does, Bruce goes back to demanding answers from the Doctor, but she continues tracking the pendant's signal into his house with her sonic screwdriver.
Working her way into his library, she begins to get on Bruce's good side and explains the situation with Graham and Yaz to him. He admits being greatly impressed by her fighting style and asks to spar, and she agrees to it once she finds her friends. The two shake hands.
On the floating restaurant, Graham, Yaz, and Tung-Mei are locked in a small room with two beds, and they learn about the woman's past. She admits she is an orphan who came to the mainland two years ago for work and found it as a waitress on this boat. After Chen's son took an interest in her, he forced her to stay when she tried to leave and later giving her the white pendant. She explains it came alive recently and tried to read her mind, just as a tall, robed man with a goatee and triangular sunglasses bursts in. He is Shui Long, Chen's son and the man arranged to marry Tung-Mei. Although she again protests against him, he grabs her wrist, and as Graham threatens him, he receives a chop to the head as a reply, knocking him to the floor. Shui leaves, saying that "when you gaze upon the glory that awaits me... you will beg to be mine."
In Bruce's library, the next day dawns and he goes to take a break, with the Doctor trawling over dozens of books for clues. Later, Bruce finds Ryan in his garden, brooding over how he let himself down so badly upon meeting one of his heroes, not helped by his dyspraxia. Bruce explains that trying to copy others is not the goal in life and his fighting style is only a guide as well. He sketches a yin and yang in the dirt, and although Ryan thinks they represent two opposing forces, Bruce clarifies that outside of the West, they show two complementary forces. Upon thinking of this, Bruce offers to spar with Ryan, and he jumps at the chance. Bruce praises him for a beginner, but the Doctor interrupts, finding the symbol from the pendant in a book, but with no other text. Bruce admits he does not know its meaning, but says he knows someone who might.
Meanwhile, Graham wakes up after a nap, feeling much better. As he does, Yaz continues practicing her lockpicking skills with a toothpick and eventually breaks through. The trio leaves towards a service exit but they are stopped by Chen who was coming to see them. He admits he does not care about Tung-Mei, but says that custom means that anyone who owns the white pendant must witness a ritual. As he holds it, it glows, and a group of large, fleshy monsters with some armour plating and long teeth materialise. He calls them the Kalatra: the rulers of their world, ready to make Chen the ruler of his.
On the floating castle, Shui Long practices his sparring against three men, effortlessly beating all of them. As he does, Chen Luo enters and tells him to hold back, explaining that although the pendant and the Kalatra are in place, Shui's activities have delayed proceedings. Shui attempts to protest, but he is beaten and reprimanded for doing so.
Back in the city, Bruce drives the Doctor and Ryan past a crowd of adoring fans. As Ryan says that Bruce must feel good, he explains how he simply worked hard, as does everyone else, knowing that Hong Kong has lived and prospered despite everything. Eventually, they arrive at the floating village of Aberdeen, the source of the mysterious book the Doctor found. Arriving, Bruce tells the Doctor and Ryan to wait behind as he talks to the village elders, not knowing that two of Renshu's goons are close behind. With time to kill, Ryan begins talking about Bruce's fate to the Doctor, but she shoots him down immediately, saying that they cannot help him. Even if he has less than a year to live before a brain tumour takes him, his position in the Web of Time means that his history cannot be changed or else time itself begins to unravel. Deep in thought about this, Bruce reappears, having booked a taxi to visit the former owner of the book.
The trio takes a boat to a lonely old woman called Yusheng who states that the truth is finally catching up to her. She explains that Chen Luo is her son and she is disappointed in him, detailing the history of the pendant. Yusheng says that when Chen returned home after finding the strange white orb 32 years ago, it later hatched like an egg, and the creature that came out was named Shui Long - Chen's son. As Chen grew in power, Yusheng fashioned broken shards of the egg into a pendant with the symbol of an ancient guardian drawn on, but it was this that caused Chen to leave the village. The Doctor suddenly understands that the egg was likely a tiny spacecraft with artificial intelligence that remained in the pendant, explaining the telepathic field she felt. Although Bruce dismisses this as something out of Star Trek, Ryan assures him it is real, just as someone else docks outside.
Moving onto the boat is Renshu and three of his men, now armed and willing to shoot. However, they are met outside by Bruce, who easily beats up the group and sends all of them but Renshu into the water. With Bruce holding him, the Doctor explains they need to meet his boss, which Renshu says is why he showed up. Together, they set sail on Yusheng's boat back to Guangli Bay, which now belongs to Chen.
Docking, they find Chen seated with Shui next to him, flanked by Yaz, Graham, Tung-Mei, and the Kalatra. The Doctor explains that the aliens are powerful and no longer wage wars, simply sending their warriors into the stars as embryos, knowing that whichever ones can survive will take control of the host worlds. The Doctor's friends group up as Chen greets his mother. As he does, the Doctor realises something: the pendant was leading them to Bruce, not the book, as it identified him as the champion of the city. The Kalatra, hearing this, desire a battle against Bruce for the Earth, which Chen dismisses, calling him one who turned his back on his culture to embrace the West instead. Bruce explains he accepts all cultures and that Chen knows nothing of the rest of the world. Chen laughs, saying he will be happy to rule Earth with his son, as Shui Long sheds his coat and sunglasses, revealing four strong arms and glowing red eyes, ready to take down Bruce Lee.
The Doctor tries to intervene, begging the Kalatra to leave Earth alone, but they refuse to budge and ask Bruce if he accepts. He whispers to Ryan about how unsure he is about the situation, but Ryan spurs him on to defend the planet he loves.
Soon, Bruce and Shui are prepared on a battle ring floating over the bay. As they circle, Shui taunts him, but Bruce prefers to let his actions do the talking. He sends a flurry of blows at Shui, but all of them are blocked by his four arms and he is kicked away. However, he recovers with two kicks directly to the chest that Shui does not even flinch at. Using his superior speed, Bruce grabs Shui's arms and elbows him in the face, but again to no avail, and Ryan begins to suspect something. Wondering how Shui can defend so many attacks, Yaz explains to the Doctor that they met him on the restaurant boat, leading the Doctor to have a revelation. Understanding all of his water connections, she yells to Bruce to get him to shore.
Sure enough, Bruce is able to throw Shui off the platform and onto the rocks nearby, finally making him wince. Although Chen declares the battle forfeited, the Kalatra deny this as no field of combat was designated. Suddenly, Bruce begins to get the upper hand and as Shui mocks him one more time, Bruce sends a final flying kick to his head and stands over his defeated body, declaring "You are not the Dragon. I am."
At this, Chen brandishes a gun and points it at Bruce, but Ryan immediately knocks it out of his hand, as Graham and Yaz send Renshu into the water as well. The Kalatra tell Bruce to kill Shui so he can be declared the victor, but Bruce is fine with not being the ruler of the world, choosing only to rule himself. The Doctor explains that Shui Long's embryo developed underwater and he lived over it all his life, meaning he was weakened when away from it. Chen Luo rushes over to punch his son for failing him just as the Kalatra leave the planet, taking the challengers with them, and the group look on as Chen's cries fade away. With the threat over, Yusheng talks to Tung-Mei and welcomes her into her village to make up for her son's actions.
Two days later, the travellers watch Ryan sparring with Bruce again, and by the end, Bruce explains how fast Ryan is improving - as is he at learning Venusian aikido. Bruce promises to use some of the Doctor's moves in his next movie, Enter the Dragon. Finally, their taxi arrives and everyone bids farewell. Bruce picks up on Ryan looking upset and tells him to cheer up in the knowledge that they can drop by his house whenever. Overcome, Ryan gives him a big hug and walks off, tears in his eyes knowing what will come for Bruce soon. As he does, Bruce gives him one last piece of advice: "If you love life, don't waste time... Time is what life is made up of."
In the 21st century, a group of tourists gather, taking photos of a large statue of Bruce in Hong Kong, proving how his words were true and his legacy would live on.
- Thirteenth Doctor
- Graham O'Brien
- Yasmin Khan
- Ryan Sinclair
- Hai Lan
- Chen Luo
- Bruce Lee
- Shui Long
- Bruce believes in valuing other cultures.
- The people of Hong Kong consider him a local hero.
- He has an American wife and children
- He is set to die less than a year from 1972 from an untreated swelling on his brain.
- Bruce's upcoming movie is called Enter the Dragon.
- Bruce is the son of Lee Hoi-chuen.
- The TARDIS team arrive in Hong Kong.
- The market street reminds Graham of Brick Lane.
- Bruce Lee's wife and children are visiting family in America.
- The Doctor eats with chopsticks.
Slang and colloquialisms
- Yaz wants to buy some jewellery for her mum and Sonya.
- The Doctor asks Ryan if he saw the licence plate of Renshu's car.
- Bruce Lee's house has a library.
- Ryan mentions his dyspraxia.
- The Doctor performs unarmed combat, asking herself "What is it about the seventies...?"
- The Doctor cites Bruce as being a part of the Web of Time.
- Bruce thinks the Doctor has been watching too much Star Trek.
Original print details
- (Publication with page count and closing captions)
- DWM 559 (8 pages): Next: The Dragon's Wrath!
- DWM 560 (8 pages): Next: The Mother of Sorrow!
- DWM 561 (8 pages): Next: Challenge of the Dragon!
- DWM 562 (8 pages): The End
- The fam also visited Hong Kong in TV: Praxeus.
- The Doctor recalls trekking with Marco Polo. (TV: Marco Polo)
- The Doctor mentions having met Virginia Woolf. (TV: The Time of Angels; AUDIO: The Quantum Possibility Engine)
- Ryan tells Bruce about his dyspraxia. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth, The Ghost Monument, et al.)
- The Doctor mentions having previously warned Ryan about telling historical figures about their future. (TV: Rosa)
- Yaz affectionately calls the Doctor a "tragic name-dropper". Martha Jones previously expressed the same sentiment to the Tenth Doctor. (COMIC: Quiet on the Set)