Latest posts by Erin Miskell (see all)
- Comic Review: Doctor Who Ghost Stories, 1-2 - 6th May 2017
- Baby’s First Rage Quit: My Hatred of Deadly Towers - 3rd May 2017
- The Guys With The Guns: Earthworm Jim’s groovy connections to The Evil Dead - 25th April 2017
Doctor Who has once again become a staple of life. Since its reboot in 2005, it has seen the dizzying heights of David Tennant, the launch of Matt Smith, and the continuation of the career of the fantabulous Peter Capaldi (who will forever reign in my heart as Malcolm Fucking Tucker). It’s the latest installment of The Doctor – Capaldi’s version, who is both vulnerable and serious on-screen – that gets the comic book treatment by Titan Comics. In a four-part series, Doctor Who – The Twelfth Doctor: Ghost Stories, we’re treated to an offshoot adventure featuring Number 12 sans companion.
Written by George Mann, Ghost Stories starts off with a superhero, Grant, who absorbed an alien gemstone as a little boy and now takes a hit like a champ while pummeling bad guys with super-strength. He puts in overtime saving the city, something his family accepts as part of who he is. When The Doctor shows up to ask for Grant’s help in making sure a terrible future doesn’t come to pass, Grant’s wife, Lucy, and stepdaughter, Jennifer, tag along to a future that’s dangerous and run by a lab-made superhero that runs the place like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Can The Doctor, Grant, Lucy and Jennifer save the day and prevent a terrible fate?
In terms of artwork, artist Ivan Rodriguez displays an aptitude for bringing superhero-based artistry to life. The problem? The characters look far more like Marvel heroes than they do characters from the Doctor Who universe. Normally, this wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially considering that one of our main characters is, in fact, a self-styled superhero. The issue here is that the character we know and love the most, The Doctor, is not consistent in his artistic rendering. At times, he looks like Capaldi – at other times, not so much. This aspect of the artwork causes some double-takes, which ultimately distracts from the writing.
However, the writing is not a strong suit either. Mann’s story feels, well, rehashed. A superhero that has to travel to the future to battle a lab-engineered superhero knock-off gone wrong? Said supervillain controlling every aspect of life in a future city? The family unit you know is about to be in peril? It feels like we’ve been here before. Worse yet, Grant, Lucy and Jennifer aren’t portrayed in a way that has me attached to them at all – I didn’t care if anyone was in danger, which is a bad sign. So we’re at a plot that feels like it’s been reheated, with characters we don’t really care about. That’s not a good combination, and, if I’m being completely honest, it made the experience more muted.
Doctor Who – The Twelfth Doctor: Ghost Stories has the potential to go in different directions, and I certainly hope that volumes 3 and 4 bring some much-needed surprises to shake up the story. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I’ll be around for the ending.