09th Jun2017

‘Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by Dennis Calero | Published by Titan Comics

DW_GhostStories_3_Cover-A

Doctor Who: Ghost Stories snuck up on me a bit, ready as I was to dislike it even before I started it. It has done that rare thing which is to surpass the material that preceded and inspired it. George Mann has taken a fun concept and really energised it, and it has been a fun read. Grant Gordon, aka The Ghost, has been written fairly seriously, and plays off the mischievous Twelfth Doctor very nicely. The revolving artists is a little jarring, with Dennis Calero now becoming the third artist in three issues. I am assuming as each issue is a quest for a different gemstone, the differing art is supposed to reflect this. No complaints this time round though, as Calero is something of a favourite.

So The Doctor has enlisted Grant, and his partner Lucy and their daughter Jennifer, to find three reality altering gems, similar to the one that gave Grant his powers and gems to which he has a connection. The first gem, The Arquess, was found in a future New York, liberated from another super powered character, The Smoke. The second gem, The Alcyone, was traced to Nixtus III, currently under the control of The Harmony Shoal. The quest for that gem is on hold while The Doctor and Grant have been sent to a Symbiosis Centre to be forcibly assimilated, just as Grant finds his super powers have stopped working.

The darkest hour brings the dawn, and just as all seems lost Lucy leads the resistance in to free The Doctor and Grant. The Doctor theorises Grant’s power loss is due to the proximity to the other gem and orders him away, keeping Lucy to help him. If you can call running away from brains in jars on metal legs, making bad puns, helping that is. The Doctor locates the second gem, which The Harmony Shoal were using to amplify their ‘message’ to suppress the people, and the real reason he brought Lucy is apparent. He gets her to explain to the people how they can now fight back, how they can shape their own future, and how freedom is always better than order at a cost. I liked the nice little ‘you all can be heroes’ touch as well.

Two stones down, on to the third. Which brings us to The Sycorax. Just as Grant is flexing his muscles and ready to leap in, The Sycorax leader confuses everyone by claiming he is fighting to save the universe. He needs the third stone, The Sanguinare, to power The Sacrifice Engine and tear a hole in reality to bleed off the dark energy enveloping the universe. Four planets will have to die, but hey, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Actually, yes you can decides The Doctor and runs interference while Lucy and Jennifer sneak away to try and disable The Sacrifice Engine. But are they too late?

Another entertaining issue. I particularly enjoyed both the way Mann is giving us a tour of sorts of Who races like The Harmony Shoal and The Sycorax, and also shifting the heroic focus from The Doctor and Grant to Lucy. Lucy was the driving force of this issue, made even more obvious by her first person narration. This suited the story very well, and it was a story that barreled along at quite the pace. Dennis Calero’s art was fantastic as always, lovely detailed lines, perfect Capaldi likeness, and a flair for the impressive looking panel. My one quibble? Calero clearly doesn’t like doing backgrounds, so virtually all panels have only the main figures in front and bland nothingness behind. A little scene setting wouldn’t hurt.

This has become the little book that could. Lowest of expectations, higher and higher praise. Great stuff.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #3 is out now from Titan Comics.

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