04 October 2021

Review: Doctor Who: Ghost Stories by George Mann, Ivan Rodriguez, Pasquale Qualano, and Dennis Calero

Collection published: 2017
Contents originally published: 2016-17
Acquired: March 2020
Read: July 2021

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Ghost Stories

Writer: George Mann
Ivan Rodriguez, Pasquale Qualano & Dennis Calero

Dijjo Lima

Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

I thought this was going to be something slightly different than it was. Spinning out of the 2016 Christmas special, "The Return of the Doctor Mysterio" (the first issue came out literally the day after it aired), this sends the twelfth Doctor on an adventure with that story's superhero, the Ghost, and his wife and daughter. I thought it was going to be the ongoing superhero adventures of the Ghost, with the Doctor as a minor character maybe. Instead, it's a pretty standard set of Doctor Who adventures, but with the Ghost and his family as companions. There's no New York City superheroics here; instead, there's visits to the future and alien planets and Sycorax spacecraft to track down some cosmic thingummies.

It's fine. I appreciated the focus on Grant's wife Lucy, who is the focal character much more than the Ghost, actually. But it's pretty bog-standard stuff, slightly enlivened by the novelty of having an entire family (including a daughter who is either eight or eleven) as a companion team.

But I feel like something funner could have been done. "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" was a pastiche of the Richard Donner Superman films, and it seems that a comic book version of the character could have been a superhero comic pastiche. I can imagine some fun stuff: give the Ghost a classic Siegel and Shuster social justice adventure, a wacky Mort Weisinger Silver Age tale, a John Byrne Man of Steel-era adventure, each with appropriate art. Heck, use the TARDIS to show him what he inspired in the 31st century for some Legion of Super-Heroes madness! I know damning a story for something for not doing something it didn't even aspire to do isn't the done thing in reviewing, but I really feel like this squandered the potential of a fun episode. As is often the case, Mann's Twelfth Doctor comics aren't as playful as the television run they are trying to emulate.

I read an issue of Titan's Doctor Who comic every day (except when I have hard-copy comics to read). Next up in sequence: The Eleventh Doctor: The Sapling: Growth

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