[The Following Review Contains SPOILERS for The Return Of Doctor Mysterio! Do not read this review if you haven’t seen the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special yet!]
32 years ago, The Doctor accidentally created Earth’s first superhuman after entrusting a reality-altering gem to an eight-year-old boy named Grant Gordon. The gem reacted to the boy’s fondest wish – to gain the powers of all his favorite superheroes from the comics.
Eight years ago, Grant Gordon found employment as a nanny for reporter Lucy Fletcher – a classmate since elementary school, whom Grant had always liked. When Grant wasn’t looking after Lucy’s daughter Jennifer, he was fighting crime as the masked vigilante The Ghost. Again, Grant crossed paths with The Doctor and again, Grant’s life was changed forever. Aiding The Doctor in repelling an alien invasion, Grant revealed himself to Lucy and elected to retire from being The Ghost, except in the most dire of emergencies.
Now, The Doctor has come into Grant’s life once again – this time needing his help in tracking down the sister gems to the one that gave Grant his powers. Given the fate of the universe is at stake, Grant is more than willing to help… provided his wife and step-daughter are allowed to come along as well.
Based on the on-line and critical reaction, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio may be the most popular Doctor Who Christmas special in years. Those fans hoping to see more of The Ghost were pleasantly surprised when Titan Comics released this digital-first series on December 26th. Unfortunately, this first chapter is something of a disappointment.
George Mann is a talented writer but Ghost Stories isn’t indicative of his usual high level of quality. The opening scenes with The Ghost are played painfully straight, lacking the humor that made up the best parts of The Return of Doctor Mysterio. It’s also odd that The Doctor is so worried about the need for fast-action given that, as a time-traveler, he should have all the time in the world! On the flip-side, the story is told from Lucy’s perspective, which proves a welcome change given how one-note her character seemed on the show.
Ivan Rodriguez’s artwork is far stronger here than it was earlier this year in the regrettable Supremacy Of The Cybermen mini-series. There’s something still not-quite-right about his take on Peter Capaldi’s Doctor but at least the character is identifiable as The Twelfth Doctor this time, even if he seems far less scowly than he should. Lucy, on the other hand, is identifiable only by virtue of being the only adult female in this story apart from a television newsreader. However, the color art by Dijjo Lima proves fantastic, well-suiting the bright, four-color aesthetic of the story.
Thus far, Doctor Who: Ghost Stories seems unlikely to satisfy those fans who hoped to see more of The Ghost and Lucy Fletcher following The Return Of Doctor Mysterio. It isn’t a bad book but the tone of the story thus far doesn’t seem to match the episode it is based on. The artwork is competently executed but hardly exciting. At 99 cents a chapter, it’s hardly a bank-breaking investment but there’s little to recommend this series to any but the most devout of Whovians.