11th Jul2017

‘Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #4′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by George Mann | Art by Ivan Rodriguez | Published by Titan Comics

DW_GhostStories_4_Cv-A

All good things must come to an end, and this issue is the final issue of the Ghost Stories mini-series. Probably not a book that many in particular were clamouring for, it has proven to be a fun ride. Combining a little tour of the Who universe with a smattering of super heroics, George Mann has rung as much fun out of this concept as is humanly possible. A more settled art team would have been the cherry on the top of this cake but never mind, there was enough to be happy with.

By now I am sure you all know the core story. The Doctor has been tracking down the three reality altering gems he needs to keep safe, the other gem being the one that gave The Ghost his powers. The Arquess and The Alcyone have been found and secured, albeit with some minor complications, and The Sanguinare has been located in the not so safe hands of The Sycorax. Maybe they aren’t up to no good you may muse? If so, wrong, as they are using the gem to power  The Sacrifice Engine to tear a hole in reality, kill billions of inhabitants on four planets, and hopefully bleed off some dark matter into an alternate dimension. Or something. The Doctor decides this is not good, and sends Lucy and Jennifer off to try and disrupt the machine.

Which they do, nicely. While The Doctor stalls for time, Grant fights the Sycorax foot soldiers, and Lucy helps Jennifer get the stone. The Sacrifice Engine self destructs, and everyone is saved. Nice little moral in there as well from Mann, that it takes teamwork to win, and the two weakest members of the group (only powers and ability wise, certainly not mentally) prove to be the strongest links. So, all gems secured, it’s time for The Doctor to reveal what all this risk and danger was for. Turns out, The Sycorax weren’t wrong about the dark matter after all, but The Doctor’s plan to siphon it off won’t result in the death of countless billions. He’s a bit more considerate of the neighbours than The Sycorax were. That’s good news, right? Not entirely.

Wouldn’t be The Doctor without him hiding something, and this one is quite a biggie. Turns out he does need the gem, The Hazandra, that gives Grant his powers to enable his plan to work. Grant is understandably not that keen, more for the fact he wants to be able to protect his family than to continue being a superhero, but The Doctor explains its essential to the health of the universe. Turns out this bleeding has to be done quite regularly, cosmically speaking. Grant does the right thing and gives up the gem, ironically saving the universe by not being a superhero.

Grant returns home, resigned to being just a mere mortal once again. Ah, reminds The Doctor, remember that DNA bonding I mentioned before? You may not actually need the gem anymore as the powers have become a part of you. The gem wasn’t what made Grant a hero anymore, his body and its powers were. George Mann’s not so subtle way of saying the hero is us, nothing more. Nice little moral to end on.

Over the four issues this has been a nice character driven story. Rather than focus exclusively on Grant and his powers, the focus was on the nature of heroes and what makes someone a hero. Quite often the hero was actually Lucy, who Mann wrote very well. The art has been unsettled, but the art this issue by Ivan Rodriguez was nice enough. Solid and well paced throughout, though his Peter Capaldi likeness needs a little work.

Always nice when a book you expect little of turns out be a sleeper hit. Take a bow Ghost Stories, you earned it.

**** 4/5

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