Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio is a dream come true for comic book fan Grant Gordon, who possesses the prerequisite name alliteration of a superhero. The Doctor grants his wish when the young boy accidentally swallows the Hazandra gemstone, known as the ghost of love and wishes. Grant gains superpowers and fights crime as the masked vigilante The Ghost!
The Doctor also receives a superhero identity.
“In a comic book, you know what you’d be called?” says young Grant. “Doctor Mysterio!”
Fanboy sense tingling
The Christmas special is chock full of comic book Easter eggs. The most obvious being the Doctor’s epiphany that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person. He defends his ignorance by noting that even reporter Lois Lane didn’t know. Grant grows up to be a “mild-mannered” nanny. He falls for an equally oblivious reported named Lucy Fletcher but her married name is Lucy Lombard. Superman’s love interests almost always have the initials LL, most notably Lois Lane, who was frequently hit on by her co-worker, Steve Lombard. Lucy investigates an alien plot to replace world leaders with disembodied brains at the scientific research center Harmony Shoal. The headquarters features a rotating globe reminiscent of the Daily Planet, the newspaper where Lois and Clark work. Harmony Shoal CEO, Mr. Brock (Adetomiwa Edun), tells reporters to direct any questions to “Miss Shuster and Ms. Siegel.” Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the original creators of Superman.
The comic book references are not all related to Superman. Spider-Man gets the proportionate time. The Doctor misquotes Spider-Man’s mantra when Grant skips out on babysitting to fight crime.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” the Doctor tells him.
This common misinterpretation implies that responsibility is a given rather than something to strive for.
Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben actually said, “With great power there must also come great responsibility.”
Lucy also echoes a Peter Parker’s girlfriend Mary Jane catchphrase: “Go get ’em, tiger.”
“Justin brought so much to it,” Showrunner Steven Moffat told Doctor Who Magazine. “Some of the more hapless Clark Kent moments were certainly in mind, and that Tobey Maguire kind of hopelessly innocent tone that they had in Spider-Man.”
Chatwin also nailed a Batman voice while donning the mask. Yet, he was reluctant to take the role after starring as a superpowered alien in the universally panned live action adaptation Dragonball Evolution.
“I did a movie a long time ago for Fox – it wasn’t well-received,” said Chatwin. “I had a lot of fun doing it, but I swore I would never put on a cape again. Or do ninja kicks.”
Doctor Who: Ghost Stories
The gemstone was intended to power a “time distortion equalizer thingy” to repair the damage done by the Doctor. The gem was one of four in existence and, as far as we know, the device is never completed. Presumably, the time distortions will increase over time. In fact, the Doctor returns to New York exactly eight years later in the comic book miniseries Doctor Who: Ghost Stories. He needs the the gem in Grant to track down the other crystals. “Everything depends on it,” the Time Lord explains. Grant promised to spend Christmas with his adopted daughter, Jennifer. He insists on taking his family on the journey, which leads them to a post-apocalyptic New York where they encounter a proper supervillain calling himself The Smoke. His secret identity is likely the as yet unseen Mr. Lombard, who is noted to have just died in the present day. However as we have seen with Grant, a gem can do wonders for your health.
Harmony Shoal is undoubtedly behind the destruction of New York.
“The vengeance of Harmony Shoal is known and feared throughout the five star systems,” Brock threatened the Doctor after his defeat.
The Doctor allowed Brock and his surgeons to escape. Even worse, the Dr. Sim (Aleksandar Jovanovic) swapped bodies with a UNIT soldier. We know they resurface in the future, at least from their perspective. The brains were first encountered in the previous Christmas episode “Husbands of River Song.” In the year 5343, the Shoal of the Winter Harmony follow King Hydroflax, who is peculiarly not one them. It’s possible they see no need to replace Hydroflax as he is already conquering other planets for them. The Harmony Shoal were also keen to acquire the priceless Halassi Androvar diamond. Gems are a recurring theme. Their importance will surely be greater then the sum on their parts.