The 10 Doctors is a Doctor Who Fan Webcomic by Rich Morris. The comic is notable for its epic scope and for featuring, in addition to what was then all the eponymous 10 Doctors, nearly every companion, major villain, and recurring character to appear in the series up to 2007. The references come thick and fast, so if you don't know the difference between a Renegade Dalek and an Imperial Dalek, be forewarned — but not discouraged.
To briefly summarise — the Tenth Doctor, in a bad mood following "The Runaway Bride", has gone to a luxurious world called the Eye of Orion to cheer himself up... only to gradually find eight of his previous selves having all arrived at the same time along with their companions. While they begin to investigate what's going on and why they've been brought together, the Eighth Doctor (the odd one out) is on Gallifrey, investigating mysterious goings-on which seem to involve the recently-disappeared Daleks. And then things get complicated...
The story is 247 pages long (plus a few extras along the way) and was posted from March 10, 2007 until May 27, 2009, so in a sense it could be considered the "official" unofficial 45th Anniversary Special.
It can be read online, or downloaded in PDF and CBZ format.
For other works by this author, see Rich's ComixBlog and Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic.
Not to be confused with the web series The Ten Doctors, which has a similar premise but a different plot.
The 10 Doctors provides examples of:
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The game of Crazy 8's that Two challenges the Celestial Toymaker with.Two: If I lose, I and everything I ever did gets stamped out of existence, plunging all into chaos and allowing you the opportunity to restructure it to your own liking, turning it all into your own, massive playroom with all living things as your toys to entertain you for all eternity.
After shutting down Omega's Gate and trapping him in his own anti-space, of course.
Toymaker: And if you win... you want your freedom. That is all?
Two: That's all I need. Miss a turn.
- Accidental Misnaming:Nine: I am the Doctor, not "Thete", not "The Professor"!
Ace: Sorry, Professor!
Drax: Sorry, Thete!
K9: Apologies, Master!
- All for Nothing: Seven is desperate to take away the sample of Lazar's Disease that Glitz sold to Davros, so he resorts to pinching it, distracting Davros himself with a firecracker and fleeing the pursuing Daleks. Then Glitz reminds him that, if nothing else, he's clever enough to know there's very little profit to be made in a galaxy run by Daleks. The thing Glitz sold Davros was just a vial of gumblejack oil from the galley at Terminus.
- And the Adventure Continues: The last page of the comic segues immediately into the beginning of "Smith and Jones".
- And This Is for...: Nyssa takes down the Master and avenges the destruction of her homeworld.Nyssa: That was for every soul you wiped out in the Traken Union, you evil son of a bitch!
- Arc Words: In one page, there's a throwback to the "Bad Wolf" storyline in the second panel, which focuses on Nine.
- Ascended Meme: From one fan work to another! During a scene where Two needs assistance performing a TARDIS function that requires two Time Lords, he uses willpower to create a "temporary manifestation" of a future incarnation. As he doesn't want it to be "that unhelpful, smug buffoon" (Three), he modifies the projection to be "different enough from me, but not yet him." The result, who stays for the remainder of the story, is the Second-and-a-Halfth Doctor (played by Tony Garner) from Devious, a fan film notable for Jon Pertwee reprising as Three.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: When the Guardians reveal that, while Davros is the Champion of Order and the Master is the Champion of Chaos, the Doctor effectively sets himself up as the Champion of Happy Medium.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: All of the Doctors (minus 2.5) perform a Split-Personality Merge to fight the Dalek conditioning that turned Ten into Dalek Tor. Garner's Doctor instead stays with the gathered companions.
- Beard of Evil: The Master, unsurprisingly.
- Berserk Button: Nine's willingness to sacrifice Rose to destroy Dalek Tor results in One practically exploding with rage.HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU!
- Big Bad: At some point during the story this may seem like the Master, the Cybermen, the Renegade Daleks, the Imperial Daleks, Omega, the Toymaker, the Rani, the Valeyard, the War Chief, Dalek Ahn, Dalek Tor, or the Sontarans. But nope, it's actually the Black and White Guardians. Or it could be the Meddling Monk, who appears at the end to try and stop the Time War but unalterably changes the Doctor. Of course, this status could be unjustified.
- Big Damn Heroes: It turns out this was Nine's entire job for most of the story - he skipped ahead in time and zapped back and forth to play the hero throughout. Four also performs a great one.
- Big "WHAT?!": Ten gets in the usual "What? What?! What?!?"
- While dangling from a ship by his trademark scarf, Four reflects that one of these days that plan is going to fail him. And it did, in "Logopolis".
- The Dalek / Cybermen "negotiations" play out almost exactly as they do in "Doomsday".
- Romana mentions "jiggery-pokery class" at the Academy, which the Doctor claims in "The End of the World" to have got top marks in.
- A pre-"Smith and Jones" Martha shows up briefly as Grace Holloway's assistant.
- Ten expresses hope that he and Five will see each other again. Five jokes that he should be careful what he wishes for...
- Cartoony Eyes: The characters switch between these and relatively realistic ones, depending on whether they're in the background or foreground. Most notable with Five, whose Cartoony Eyes are dots.
- Character Development: Commander Maxil gets a grand helping of it.
- The Chessmaster: Quite a lot of them, all in conflict.
- Combat Pragmatist: Leela. She stabs the Valeyard with a knife, and attempted to stab him again while he was regenerating, only to be held back by the Doctor. The original version of the scene didn't have the Doctor step in, allowing Leela to stab the Valeyard repeatedly, killing off his regenerations so quickly that he melts into a puddle of goo. After drawing it, Rich found it too violent and replaced it.
- Continuity Lockout: Masterfully averted. While the story is at parts a lot easier to understand (and definitely a lot easier to predict) if you have a huge memory of all things Doctor Who, the continuity references don't actually get in the way of the storyline, and plenty of positive reviews have come from readers with only a smattering of Whovian knowledge. Even for the more obscure characters, a quick Wikipedia search will have all the relevant information in the first few lines.
- Continuity Porn: Is there an alien race/serial/planet/companion/piece of phlebotinum from the show's history that's dear to your heart? Chances are pretty damn good it's in here somewhere.
- Contrived Coincidence:
- Drax is doing a tech raid on the very same Dalek ship that Nine is trapped on. He rescues Nine and K9, and ends up being completely crucial to the plot.
- Dr. Grace Holloway is working at the very same hospital that Sarah Jane and Jamie take Romana II to, meaning that Grace also gets caught up in the plot. Even more coincidentally, it's the same hospital that then-future companion Martha Jones works at, so at the end of the story Romana II points the Ten in its direction after having felt an alien presence there, thus leading directly to "Smith and Jones".
- Creator Cameo: Rich, his wife, and their daughter appear briefly as Muggles watching Five's fighter buzz a city.
- Crisis Crossover: Of the Doctor Who fanfic variety, anyway. A lot of aliens, companions, allies, and villains from throughout the show's history make an appearance. Notable with a ridiculously huge battle over the skies of Earth that includes Ice Warriors, Draconians, Sontarans, Movellans, Rutans, Renegade Daleks, Imperial Daleks, (several incarnations of) the Doctor, the Master, etc.
- Curse Cut Short:Glitz: Personally, I think it tastes like Nimon sh-
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Case in point for both the cyberized Silurians and the Time Daleks.
- Delayed Ripple Effect: Six believes that he is subject to this when he sees Four falling apparently to his death, expecting it to eventually catch up to him. He wonders if he will suddenly remember being killed before he vanishes.
- Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Averted. At one point, an enraged Nine calls his other selves "tossers". Rich is actually Canadian, but he also knew full well how rude the word is in the UK.Rich: I knew how rude the word was, having English parents and relatives. The scene is one of ultimate despair for the 9th Doctor and all his previous incarnations are playing into the hands of the enemy. It seemed that he was the Doctor who would snap and get rude at such a time.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?
- Omega's doom, and the Toymaker's is spelled when Glitz of all people hits Omega with a matter laser blast (Omega of course being a creature of anti-matter).
- Nine and Ten end the conflictcomic by feeding the Black and White Guardians to the Clock Roaches.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Having been trapped in the Toymaker's pocket universe, Two tricks the Toymaker into a game of Crazy Eights, then wins freedom by cheating using the Toymaker's own rules. Omega is not pleased.
- Dragon with an Agenda: The Celestial Toymaker to Omega; the Rani to the Daleks.
- During his time as Dalek Tor, Ten is entirely shirtless.
- Leela goes one better when we get a shot of her from behind, completely naked. Of course, at this point, Leela is an old woman.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Rose and Ace. They start off Volleying Insults, but are soon blowing up Daleks and Cybermen together.
- Foregone Conclusion: Given what we know about when the Doctors and companions came from and when this story is set, a reader can safely assume that Susan, Jo, Sarah Jane, K9 Mks. II and IV, Romana, Tegan, Turlough, Peri, Rose, Jack, the Brigadier, and most of the Doctors will all survive. It's more unclear with Two, Eight (at the time), Jamie, Zoe, Leela, K9 Mk. I, Nyssa, Glitz, Mel, Ace, and Grace, but they survive anyway.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Guardians say that their appearances change with the needs of their desired champions. In the story proper, both Guardians manifest as attractive humanoid women in order to toy with Ten's need for meaningful companionship, and in a flashback the White Guardian manifests to Davros as a military officer. It's also mentioned that their appearances as doddery old men in "The Ribos Operation" and "The Armageddon Factor" played off of Four's need for an authority figure.
- Funny Background Event: As Two is saying goodbye to his other selves in the foreground, his companions say their goodbyes in the background. In one panel, Jack is whispering to an embarrassed-looking Jamie. In the next panel Jamie is giving a very surprised Ace a goodbye kiss, presumably what Jack was prompting him to do.
- Future Me Scares Me:
- At one point, after hearing what other Time Lords think of his career, One (during his exile but before "An Unearthly Child") wonders what kind of lunatic he's going to turn into.
- Later, Four wants to know what kind of toxin he had to ingest to become Six.
- Doctors One through Eight also feel this way about Nine, wondering just what could have happened to make him into such a hard-edged, bitter, cynical person. Of course what none of them know is that he carries the guilt of having to effectively destroy the Time Lord race as the War Doctor to end the Last Great Time War.
- Gambit Pileup: At first it looks like the story is a plot by the Sontarans to get the various alien races of the galaxy to attack the Daleks and begin the Time War, only to find out it's really a plan by the Master and his cloned Sontaran army. Which is then revealed to be a plot by the Valeyard to cause all-out war and let him take over Gallifrey. Which is then revealed to be a plot by Omega to cause the universe to be destroyed and then reshaped in his image. Which is in turn a plot by the Guardians of Time to force the Doctor to choose between eternal entropy or eternal order. Which the Ninth Doctor stops via a plan of his own involving nine duplicates of himself meeting up and causing the Clock Roaches to eat the Big Bads. Whew. And that's not counting the roles the Rani, Davros, Dalek Ahn, the Toymaker, the War Chief, and Mortimus (the Meddling Monk) play in all this.
- Gambit Roulette: As mentioned above, there's a number of tables going at once, but special mention must be made of Omega, who piggybacked onto a bunch of other people's plans in an effort to destroy One so that he and the actions of his successors would be removed from all of time.
- Groin Attack: The Rani deals with Glitz the same way she did the Master.
- Have We Met Yet?: Happens quite a bit, and it's inevitable with all the time traveling and multiple incarnations of the same fellow gallivanting about, but it's especially notable with this gem:Mel: (via radio) Doctor! How are you? It's me, Mel!
Five: Mel? I don't know a "Mel".
- Heel–Face Turn: The Rani, the War Chief, and Maxil.
- Heinz Hybrid: The Time Daleks are half-human, half-Time Lords in Dalek casings.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Valeyard, believing only Daleks or Time Lords have the potential to be the supreme beings but both unable to reach it (with the Time Lords being too pacifistic and stopping the Daleks all the time), creates Time Daleks out of Leela's several half-human, half-Time Lord children. He then tries to threaten the Time Daleks' mom. You can probably guess what happens next.Dalek Ahn: EXTERMINATE!
- I Choose to Stay: Instead of returning to London, Grace tells Eight that she is going to join Nyssa on Terminus.
- Identical Stranger: Six and Maxil. Six just doesn't see it.
- It's All About Me: Four. He tries to introduce himself as One, but accepts chronological order rather than importance or charm under everyone else's glares.
- Karma Houdini:
- Maxil, although it's played with. He kills Damon in cold blood and does many bad things on the Valeyard's orders, convinced that it's all for the greater good. Later, he does lead the Citadel Guards against the Time Daleks after discovering the Valeyard's true plans. After the battle, he admits to Six that he intends to steal a TARDIS and flee Gallifrey for a while to clear his head. But Ten still calls Maxil out for Damon's murder, and says that he knows for a fact that Maxil will eventually suffer for his sins.
- The Rani. Putting aside her behaviour on the rest of the show, she kidnaps the companions and gives them to the Cybermen, and later reveals that she had some sort of arrangement with Glitz and Davros to ensure her own safety. She later does work with Seven to defeat the Daleks, but only after she's been betrayed by Davros. By the end of the story, she attends the party on the Eye of Orion, becomes one of Drax's companions, and pretty much gets off scot-free (aside from losing her own TARDIS).
- Les Yay: Between Romana and Grace Holloway, no less, the latter having mistaken Romana (who she realised was a Time Lord) for a newly-regenerated Doctor, who she'd fallen for. Cue a kiss, a very startled (but rather pleased) Romana, followed by a cheerful Romana and a very embarrassed Grace. At the end, they're shown in the background parting with another kiss.
- Logical Weakness: The Black Guardian laughs her ass off when asking the Doctor if he really thought he could escape her, the embodiment of chaos and entropy, with a Randomizer of all things. Ten bitterly admits it wasn't one of his finest ideas.
- Loophole Abuse: It's how Two is able to beat the Toymaker at a game of Crazy Eights.Two: I win, Toymaker.
Toymaker: What??? Impossible! You cheated!
Two: Oh? Perhaps I did. But the last time we played, you showed me that cheating is still within the laws of your universe. So by breaking the rules, I still obeyed them. Ergo... I still win. QED. Goodbye.
Omega: What is this? I WILL DESTROY YOU!
- Mind Rape: Part of what the Keeper is doing to his "experiments".
- Mistaken Identity: Inevitable when there are ten versions of the Doctor running around (and that's not counting the Valeyard or 2.5), and usually - though not invariably - Played for Laughs.
- When a patient with two hearts is brought into the hospital where Grace Holloway is working, Grace assumes it's the Doctor having regenerated again. In fact it's Romana, who's puzzled by but not entirely averse to Grace's very warm greeting.
- On a more serious note, the fact that Maxil and Six are identical (both having been played by Colin Baker) is an important plot point.
- Ms. Fanservice: Peri, of course, has a considerably more revealing neckline than the rest of the female companions.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Ten has the power to stop the entire Time War from ever occurring by giving the Daleks' attack strategies to Eight. He doesn't.
- So the entire reason the Time Lords lost the Time War is that the Valeyard, which the Time Lords created in the first place, killed one Time Lord before he could get the Daleks' attack strategies to the Doctor. If this hadn't happened, the War would have been much less destructive, the Time Lords and Gallifrey would still be around, and the events of "The End of Time" would never have happened. So it's the Time Lords' fault they got into the Time War, which isn't too surprising. Though that was already known, given that various showrunners have openly stated that the Time Lords sending the Doctor back to stop the Daleks from existing in "Genesis of the Daleks" was the first shot in the War.
- Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot:
- Dalek-Time Lords-Humans. What more can you ask for?
- As a close second, there's cyberized Silurians.
- "Number of Objects" Title: Because it involves the ten doctors of Doctor Who.
- Oh, Crap!:
- The Master has just enough time to realize how screwed he is before Nyssa takes out his fighter.
- Two and Two-and-a-Half immediately make a panicked break for the TARDIS when Glitz shoots Omega with a stun blast of pure matter.
- A funny one happens when Ten realizes he's been paired up with One.
- One Degree of Separation: Though, by nature, this story brings many unlikely characters together, there is a special non-Time Travel example. San Franciscan doctor Grace Holloway, some years after her encounter with the Seventh/Eighth Doctors, is in London mentoring a young medical student by the name of Martha Jones, who will soon meet then join the Tenth Doctor as a companion.
- One-Steve Limit: As it would be very difficult to have ten-er, elev-er, ten and a half characters named "the Doctor" running around, many of the Doctors are referred to by their incarnation number. Four, being eccentric, tries to claim he's One before getting glared down.
- Order Versus Chaos: It's eventually revealed that the whole thing has been masterminded by the Black and White Guardians, who have decided that the universe can no longer exist in a state of imbalance and want the Doctor to choose whether it falls to absolute order or chaos. Nine and Ten decide that the Guardians aren't doing a lot to help the balance themselves, and feed them both to the Reapers.
- Original Character: There is precisely one character in this story who is not from Doctor Who canon or (in the case of the Creator Cameo) Real Life - the Lady President of Gallifrey.
- Other Me Annoys Me: The Doctors, throughout the webcomic, do the two things that multi-Doctor stories have done from the beginning. The first is saving the universe from impossible odds, beating intractable foes, and sorting out world-shattering paradoxes. The other, of course, is bitching about how much their other selves annoy them.
- Precision F-Strike:
- Some mild swearing is occasionally employed, but the highlight is Nyssa blowing up the Master's ship and snarling "That was for every soul you wiped out in the Traken Union, you evil son of a bitch."
- Second place has to go to Nine, whose use of the word "tosser" is part of what convinces the other Doctors that he's finally snapped.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: One delivers an enraged one at Nine, blended with What the Hell, Hero?.
- Screaming Woman: "Mel, as we all feared, screams." For three straight panels.
- Sequel Hook: Most plot threads are wrapped up in a rather conclusive manner, except Dalek Ahn escaping. Rich admitted this was a deliberate hook for a possible future story.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Monk wants to prevent the outcome of the Time War, since the only reason the double genocide was necessary in the first place was Damon being murdered by Maxil under the Valeyard's orders due to the Time Lord Council's meddling.
- Seven Minute Lull: One page features everyone talking at once, and Jamie gets a line at the very end:Jamie: An' I could see her bra...
- Shown Their Work: Holy crap has he. The author's even pointed out exactly where and when all the Doctors and their companions are coming from.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Quite a few villains are defeated or set back by one or other Doctor summoning their arch enemies, but the best example of this trope comes towards the end when Nine and Ten unleash the Reapers on the Guardians.
- Take a Third Option: The Black and White Guardians demand that the Doctor choose between one of them, condemning the universe either to strict, stifling, perfect Order or the mass destruction of perfect Chaos. Have they watched the show?
- Taking You with Me: Omega plans to do this to the Doctor if the Toymaker fails. After Glitz hits Omega with a matter laser blast, Omega settles for the Toymaker instead.
- That Came Out Wrong: Seven refers to himself and the Rani as "strange bedfellows". Three would like to know what he meant by that.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Mentioned by name as to how all ten Doctors can be in one place at the same time.Ten: It's... squishy-squashy...
Seven: Wibbly wobbly.
Drax: Higgledy piggledy.
Four: Hi-ho the dairy-o!
Romana II: Green grow the rushes-o!
One: Alright, you lot!
- After a bit of exposition, One eventually caves and calls it "timey-wimey".
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ace and Rose, eventually. Though they bond over blowing up Cybermen with Nitro-9.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: It is only near the end of the story when all the plot threads come together. At one point, the story manages to pull off a magnificent Twelve Lines, No Waiting: one for each Doctor, and one for each group of companions.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: While Three, Four, Five, and Seven are manipulating a space battle:Five: You know, if actual lives weren't involved, this would almost be exhilarating.
Four: What, clones, mutants, androids, and blobby things? I don't think any of them count.
- Which Me?: To save themselves from confusion, the Doctors refer to each other by incarnation number. That doesn't stop them from occasionally referring to their other selves in the first person, though.Three: (after hearing someone break open the door) Who was it?
Four: (referring to Six) Just me.
Six: Just me? Hmph.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Six pretending to be the Keeper to fool the Renegade Daleks. He keeps it up past several interruptions, constantly improvises to keep the upper hand, and eventually gets them to land on Mechanus, where the Mechonoids promptly destroy them.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Nine and Ten suffer this trope the hardest, obviously. Still, the disruption to the timeline allows them to successfully travel to Eight's Gallifrey in order to investigate the mystery. They can't stick around, however.
- "You!" Exclamation: Ten when he meets the Valeyard, and vice versa.
- You Just Told Me: A variation. The Supreme Renegade Dalek assumes that Six is the Keeper, but has its suspicions. Six magnificently turns these suspicions back around on the Dalek and invokes a Trust Password to find out who the Keeper is. This explaining how Six (who is pre-"Trial of a Time Lord") is later able to tell Four about the Valeyard.Dalek: Your appearance has changed!
Six: So has yours.
Dalek: My identity is not in question!
Six: Oh, I think it is. How do I know you aren't one of Davros's children, hmm? Trying to trick me into betraying the true Daleks. Painting up their ugly white carapaces to resemble the true masters of the universe... but they got you wrong, haven't they? Only the special envoy of the Emperor himself wears gold livery like this. Sector Commanders are black—
Dalek: I was sent by the Emperor to replace the sector commander who was destroyed in battle.
Six: Then prove it! Who is the Keeper and how do you know me?
- Your Answer to Everything: Two when Three suggests reversing the polarity.
- You're Insane!: Ten's reaction to the Keeper's plan. When Eight sees it, he says almost the exact same thing.Ten: You're barmy! Bonkers! Totally flip-noggan twitters and shakes mad!
Valeyard: You think so? We shall see when the universe is firmly under my control.
Ten: That won't change the fact that you're a loonie.