Book Review – Doctor Who 12th Doctor: A Confusion of Angels

  • Title: Time Trials vol. 3: A Confusion of Angels
  • Author: Richard Dinnick
  • Artists: Francesco Manna, Pasquale Qualano, Hi-Fi (Colorist), Richard Starkings (Letterer), Jimmy Betancourt (Letterer)
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Bill Potts, Nardole
  • Collection Date: 2018
  • Collected Issues: Year 3 (#10 – 13)
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/12/2019

**Spoiler Alert** The third and final volume of Titan Comics Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor Year 3 series, A Confusion of Angels actually picks up where volume 2 left off. Having picked up some spare parts they needed at the Ubermart, Bill, the Doctor (as played by Peter Capaldi on the BBC television series), and Nardole are in the TARDIS when they come across a container ship that is drifting in space. The TARDIS Team steps out into the ship and the first thing they hear is a scream – and thus starts an exciting, tense, homage to Alien. The TARDIS team encounters a very suspicious engineer and slightly less suspicious medical doctor who accuse them of being murderers and pirates. The Doctor sends Bill back to the TARDIS to enact emergency protocol 13-9 while the Doctor and Nardole convince the people they’ve encountered to take them to the bridge. Emergency protocol 13-9 gives Missy temporary control of the TARDIS and Bill is left behind on the endangered ship. Bill meets Chief Engineer Berthold who is accompanied by Gabriel, a host android she constructed from two broken Host androids. The Chief Engineer also shows Bill the ships’ company hold is filled with Host androids that are currently deactivated. As they head to the bridge, they meet the suspicious engineer who accuses Bill of piracy and murder. Bill barely manages to convince him to take her to the bridge and the Doctor rather than the brig.

Once they reach the bridge, however, they discover the Doctor has fixed the telecommunications system, sent an SOS call, restored lighting to the bridge, and started on a more permanent fix to the lighting, which is being drained by something in the hold. The Judoon arrive to “rescue” the ship, under the command of Margaret Ag-Kris-Therur-Ford-Jingatheen, essentially the Slitheen we know from the first season of New Who who, having been fostered from an egg by a good family, is now on the side of law and order and a Shadow Proclamation detective. The Doctor discovers that Weeping Angels are on the ship, the ship’s crew activate the Host to use as internal “eyes and ears” which backfires as “whatever holds the image of an Angel becomes an Angel”. The Doctor also realizes the missing crew members haven’t been murdered but are missing. Then, unfortunately, he is captured and sent back in time by an Angel.

Meanwhile, the Judoon ship, as well as the container ship, have no engines and are falling into a nearby sun. The crew, Bill, Nardole, and the Judoon, led by Margaret also have no idea how to stop the Weeping Angels and the Host that have transformed into Angels. They discover the container that is taking power from the container ship contains Cyborg refugees and their families who are fleeing an aggressively anti-Cyborg regime on Sto. One of the people hidden in the container wears a clown mask. He turns out to be the Doctor having gotten there by the long way around. He was sent back in time by the Weeping Angel to Sto, where he became involved in Cyborg rights and fighting the repressive regime. He eventually decided to work from within, getting a job at Max Capricorn Industries, giving suggestions for naming ships, and eventually creating an Underground Railroad to help Cyborgs escape from Sto to more tolerant planets. The people in the container were refugees he was helping. The Doctor also comes up with a plan to get all the people, including the refugees, the Container ship crew, and the Judoon on the Judoon ship and then use the Host Androids to both send the empty container ship and it’s Weeping Angels into the sun, and provide energy for the Judoon ship to escape.

A Confusion of Angels is a fun space adventure. The Weeping Angels come across as effectively scary again. It was also fun to see the Easter eggs: Max Capricorn, the Doctor’s reference to a mummy, the Host, the Judoon, and Margaret – Slitheen no longer (I loved that she was finally a good person). I did find this graphic novel to be a bit confusing at times, however. Still, it was a great adventure story. Recommended.

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Book Review – Doctor Who 12th Doctor: The Wolves of Winter

  • Title: Time Trials vol. 2: The Wolves of Winter
  • Author: Richard Dinnick
  • Artists: Brian Williamson, Pasquale Qualano with Edu Menna & Marcelo Salaza, Hi-Fi (Colorist), Richard Starkings (Letterer), Jimmy Betancourt (Letterer)
  • Line: 12th Doctor
  • Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Bill Potts, Nardole
  • Collection Date: 2018
  • Collected Issues: Year 3 (# 5 – 7 and 9)
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/10/2019

**Spoiler Alert** Vikings and Ice Warriors and Fenric, oh my! The second volume of Titan Comics third year of Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor stories brings in Bill Potts – finally. It’s good to have a permanent companion for the Doctor again. The TARDIS lands on a volcanic island in the 9th Century CE, where the Doctor and Bill meet some friendly Vikings. The Vikings assume the Doctor is a messenger of the gods, especially after they see inside the Doctor’s TARDIS. The Vikings tell the Doctor about seeing two lights in the sky – one which appeared to burn up but the other disappeared. Thinking it was a ship that landed, the Vikings, The Doctor and Bill investigate. They find a group of Ice Warriors. The Ice Warriors are pursuing one Warrior who was infected by the Flood and escaped Mars in a stolen vehicle. Knowing that if the Flood infects Earth it will destroy the planet, the Ice Warriors want to destroy it first. The Doctor quickly talks the Ice Warriors and Vikings into forming an alliance. They even agree to kill anyone on either side infected by the Flood and possessed.

The Doctor formulates a plan – the Vikings will go inside the warm volcanic mountain, where the heat threatens the Ice Warriors, and the Ice Warriors will guard the exits. All are armed with sonic weapons. But the Doctor also feels he has to give the Flood a chance, so he dresses in a spacesuit and enters the volcano to speak to the Flood. He discovers a Haemovore, Viking runes, a cursed treasure, chess pieces, and other clues that link to Fenric. The names of the Vikings are also familiar. The Doctor tells Bill a little of his Seventh incarnation’s encounter with Fenric.

However, The Doctor is able with the help of the Vikings and Ice Warriors to defeat Fenric (for now) and prevent his poisoning of the Earth with the Flood. The Ice Warriors leave in their spaceship and the Vikings head off in their longboat by “the South way” with their cursed treasure hidden away. As they leave, the Doctor and Bill see a polar bear with her cub – the purpose of their journey originally.

In the second, much shorter story, the vault where the Doctor is holding Missy, needs to have a part replaced so the Doctor, Bill and Nardole head to the Ubermart. There the Doctor and Bill are soon separated. Bill meets a young girl who has also gotten lost. Bill and the girl are pursued by Owl-like creatures and both Bill and the Doctor and Nardole are harassed by the store’s security bots. Eventually, they all meet up again. The young girl turns out to be a Pathicol – symbiotic beings that feed on empathy. The owl-like beings are the Pathicols in their natural, undisguised, state, and quite friendly. The child is returned to her family and the Doctor, Bill, and Nordole return to the TARDIS.

I enjoyed this story very much. It ties into the New Who Tenth Doctor story, “The Waters of Mars” and the Seventh Doctor story, “The Curse of Fenric” – which is one of my favorites. The Ice Warriors in this story are Classic Ice Warriors and also an intelligent proud warrior species, who end-up as good friends with the Viking Warriors. The story also has several awesome references to Norse Mythology that makes a lot of sense. The artwork in the story is also beautiful. And it was great to finally see Bill Potts in the comics! The second story is short and cute, and a good way to round off this collection. The Pathicol in their native state though did remind me of the Court of Owls from Batman. Anyway, this collection is highly recommended.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor

  • Title: Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor
  • Authors: James Peaty, Jody Houser
  • Artists: Iolanda Zanfardino, Pasquale Qualano, Brian Williamson, Dijjo Lima (Colorist), Rachael Stott (Artist), Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist), Richard Starkings (Letterer), Jimmy Betancourt (Letterer)
  • Line:  13th Doctor Prequel
  • Characters: Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, Twelfth Doctor, Gabby Gonzalez, Cindy Wu, Alice Abiefune, Bill Potts
  • Collection Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/20/2019

**Spoiler Alert** The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor consists of three short stories, one each with the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors and some interstitial pages which directly lead into the first Thirteenth Doctor graphic novel. The graphic novel is also published by Titan Comics who publish a number of tie-in graphic novels to the British Doctor Who television series produced by the BBC.

The first story features the Tenth Doctor, as played on the television series by David Tennant, and his companions Gabby Gonzales and Cindy Wu. The TARDIS lands on a spaceship and the crew step outside only to have a man run right into the TARDIS exterior walls. He yells, “You idiots, you’ve killed me,” only to have a ghostly figure zap the man and kill him. The other crew on the spaceship arrive and take the Doctor and his companions to the control center of the ship. The Doctor tells them he’s with Earthcorp Rescue and finds out the ship is a “ghost ship”, a retired ship put back in service after budget cuts. The Doctor finds this unlikely as their “mission” is to explore an already explored and mapped galaxy. The Doctor is quickly proven right as one of the crew attacks the remaining members and the ghostly figures return and attack. It turns out the ship is on a weapons test. The weapon takes a person’s “aura” and turns it against them to kill that person. Earthcorp plans on using it to kill the indigenous species on planets they want to colonize. The Doctor heads off to the ship’s engine room to stop the weapon, while Gabby and Cindy take the remaining living crew member, Capt. Kelly, to the TARDIS. The Doctor is able to shut down the weapon, and then he returns her to Earth in the TARDIS. Captain Kelly vows to change Earthcorp’s ways.

The Eleventh Doctor and Alice land the TARDIS in 19th Century San Francisco, but the town is filled with anachronistic robots. The Doctor and Alice investigate and find a robot butler at a home – which is startled and kills its owner. The police arrive and the Doctor, the police officer, and Alice take the TARDIS to the harbor. But then the police officer also turns out to be a robot. The Doctor investigates the man who introduced the robots to San Francisco, but the battle drone robots kill him before the Doctor can find out much. The Doctor and Alice are confronted with the robot leader, who is mildly more intelligent than the robots. The Doctor manages to disable the spaceship that controls the robots and they become harmless. He and Alice leave.

The Twelfth Doctor and Bill Potts are in the TARDIS when the Doctor receives a message from Kate Stewart. He arrives in London and sees the city is filled with strange creatures. Kate barely has time to talk to the Doctor before there’s another attack and she’s frozen in time. But the Doctor has an inkling of what’s going on. He soon confronts the Kar-yn, species that had the ability to turn dreams into reality, but when their planet arrived at the end of its lifecycle, they sought to extend their lifespan by creating a memetic archive. A young man on Earth found the archive and activated it. The Doctor confronts the Kar-yn, telling them that instead of preserving their culture they only preserved the death of their planet – a death they were now bringing to Earth. This reverses the Kar-yn’s strategy and saves Earth and London. The young man who found the archive is trapped in his own dream world, a diner where he meets a waitress named Karen.

The interstitial pages consist of a hand reaching out of some type of portal for help, but the Tenth and Twelfth Doctor both fail to grab the hand. The Eleventh Doctor doesn’t even notice the hand or the portal. This mystery will be solved in the next graphic novel, the first to feature the Thirteenth Doctor.

I enjoyed this short graphic novel. All three short stories were good. Recommended.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Book One

  • Title: Doctor Who The Lost Dimension Book One
  • Authors: George Mann, Cavan Scott, Nick Abadzis
  • Artists: Rachael Stott, Adriana Melo, Cris Bolson, Mariano LaClaustra, Carlos Cabrera, Leandro Casco, INJ Culbard, Rod Fernandes, Marco Lesko, Dijjo Lima, Hernan Cabrera, IHQ Studios, Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
  • Line:  All-Doctors Crossover Special
  • Characters: Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, Twelfth Doctor, Rose, Gabby, Cindy, Alice, Nardol, Bill, Cameos by other Doctors and Companions
  • Collection Date: 2018
  • Publisher: Titan Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 03/24/2019

The Lost Dimension is Titan Comics attempt to do a crossover story with all the Doctors both from the Classic Series and New Who. However, even at two volumes (second volume to be reviewed separately), it doesn’t work as well as it should. The stories end up being more vignettes than a single, coherent story, and at times stories aren’t even told in order, which is confusing – even after multiple reads. Jenny’s story is particularly told backward: first, we see her trying to save Captain Jack and Tara who have arrived on a planet that is full of volcanic activity and very dangerous. But Jenny is unable to rescue them and is sucked into a white void. She’s pushed out of the void by the Fifth Doctor’s TARDIS which is sucked into the void in her place. Jenny’s ship is damaged. But the next thing we see in the book is Jenny crashing into the Terrance Dicks library on Earth – in a different ship. Later, we learn what happened to Jenny after she was freed from the Void and how she got her Time Lord Bow Ship, which subsequently crashed into the library. The story would have been stronger if it had been told in order.

There are other vignettes – the Twelfth Doctor is there with Bill when Jenny crashes her ship into the library. Kate Stewart arrives with Osgood to slap a D-notice on the incident. But some sort of radiation affects Osgood and everyone else, so they are all saying, “Peace”.

The Ninth Doctor and Rose arrive on a pirate ship, captained by Vastra and Jenny. The ship crashes into an island hidden by a perception filter. It’s home to a colony of Silurians, but unfortunately for Vastra, these Silurians have a plague that can kill her. Still, the Doctor and Rose pick-up a psychic message from Captain Jack – which the Doctor ignores.

The Tenth Doctor, Cindy, and Gabby arrive on a space station, where they are welcomed with open arms. The Doctor fixes the station’s power overload, but he can’t do a lot about an invasion of Cybermen. That the Cybermen have been affected by the White Void and are acting weird just makes the situation that much more strange.

The Eleventh Doctor and Alice end-up on ancient Gallifrey, just as the Time Lords are beginning to experiment with time and space travel. Even though the Doctor warns Alice they must be extra careful and not interfere, the Doctor, well, does. He walks in on a TARDIS training session and uses calming persuasion instead of “breaking” to get the new time-space capsule to accept an interior dimension bubble. His success convinces Rassilon that the Doctor will be perfect for his test pilot program. Alice gets a warning about this from the Second Doctor, but when she gets to the training and testing center – it’s too late, the Doctor’s time/space capsule has exploded with him inside it.

We also see brief cameos of the Third Doctor in this volume as he briefly appears in one of his successors TARDISes. The story will be continued in the next volume.

Most of the stories in this volume felt somewhat disjointed and out of sync. Just as one was getting involved in the individual story of an individual Doctor and companions, that story would end on a cliffhanger. The cliffhangers usually weren’t resolved, so it left the reader hanging. Also, The Lost Dimension promises to feature all Twelve Doctors – but the Classic Doctors only appear in cameos, and the New Who Doctors get longer stories within the main storyline. Not that the New Who stories are bad – I enjoyed them. Titan Comics has excellent writers for their various New Who series. I was frustrated by the unresolved cliffhangers though. The general storyline involves this White Void that’s taking over space. Still, recommended.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Day She Saved The Doctor

  • Title: Doctor Who: The Day She Saved The Doctor
  • Authors: Jacqueline Rayner, Jenny T. Colgan, Susan Calman, Dorothy Koomson
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/26/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Day She Saved the Doctor is a collection of four short stories, well, novelettes. Each story features a female companion and a popular Doctor, and the theme for the four stories is that the companion must “save” or rescue the Doctor. Mind you, in the show the female companions, and even some of the male companions rescued the Doctor all the time. All four stories are also written by female writers and the book designer is also a woman (and from Milwaukee!).

Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes
Jacqueline Rayner

The first story, “Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes” has the Fourth Doctor (as played on the television series by Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane arriving in Ancient Rome. They no sooner start exploring an ancient marketplace than a woman runs out into the street – her eyes are white and she’s been blinded. But the woman wasn’t always blind and she had been missing a few days. Sarah asks her what happened but she has no idea. Sarah and the Doctor escort her home and discover that four other merchants wives had recently been blinded, under similar circumstances. Sarah smells a story, but she also is convinced that whatever is going on it’s not normal for Imperial Rome.

Sarah and the Doctor split up to interview the other victims, and even the wives of other merchants who are in the same social circle and might know something. But Sarah meets a woman who is the person behind it all and the Doctor gets a warning about the woman but is too late to rescue Sarah. Sarah is taken by Marcia to the temple home of a female-only cult that worships a goddess. There she meets a priestess who is using an alien machine to harvest information from other women. Unfortunately, the machine has the side effect of leaving people blind and Marcia is actually harvesting information to help her husband, also a merchant, in his business dealings.

The Doctor goes to the temple but the guards won’t let him in because he’s a man. He sneaks in but the priestesses get very upset that a man has invaded his temple. They threaten to kill the Doctor by a poisonous snakebite and use the alien machine on Sarah. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to fix the machine and then has Sarah try it. The machine doesn’t blind her and after the priestess experiences Sarah’s memories of the Doctor, the priestess agrees she can’t kill the Doctor because he is a good man. She also sees that Marcia was taking advantage of her. The Doctor and Sarah leave, as they depart in the TARDIS, Sarah wonders if they might have changed history, but the Doctor reminds her that no one really knows anything about that particular female-led Roman religion.

Rose and the Snow Window
by Jenny T. Colgan

The second short story in The Day She Saved the Doctor is Jenny T. Colgan’s “Rose and the Snow Window”. The story starts with the Ninth Doctor and Rose arriving in Toronto in 2005, the Doctor is looking for a time puncture. He sets up a telescope in an apartment in a high rise apartment building. Rose looks through the telescope and sees a candle-lit room opposite. The Doctor and Rose investigate and soon find a connection between Toronto and Russia in 1812.

They travel back to Russia in 1812 where Rose meets the Russian count she had seen in the window in 2005 Toronto. The young man is bereft because he is being forced into a marriage of convenience to save his family. He soon falls for Rose because she is unlike anyone he has ever met. She also falls for the handsome Count. Do to an attack of some sort of robot or alien that recognizes Rose as an “anomaly” Count Nikolai pulls on the red ribbon she wears and the two snap back to 2005 Toronto. Rose introduces the Count to modern conveniences like hot showers, electric lights, and fluffy towels warmed on a radiator. The Count is delighted by each new discovery he makes, and Rose enjoys this immensely.

They return to Russia again with the Doctor, and gradually the Doctor and Rose figure out that the woman Nikolai is supposed to marry is actually an alien who feeds on psychic energy. She essentially bribes Nikolai – offering him money, security for his family, and no children so the timeline will be preserved. Nikolai decides to reluctantly go through with it. Rose interrupts the wedding. The anomalies get worse with a troop of confused Mounties appearing in 19th century Russia. (Mind you, this isn’t wholly accurate. The Mounties have ceremonial duties, which is the only time they wear red serge. Otherwise, in the Western provinces and territories, the Mounties have duties similar to the FBI or State Police in the US.) The Doctor ends up binding with the alien so it can go home. Later, Rose and the Doctor check on Nikolai’s history – knowing that without a rich purse, the only thing for him to do was join the Russian military in 1812.

“Rose and the Snow Window” had a great sense of atmosphere, and the story centers more on Rose than the Doctor but the Doctor is still a strong presence and it’s a good partnership story about the two of them. I quite enjoyed it. It’s also the longest story in the book.

Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta
by Susan Culman

Clara is basically having a bad day at the start of her story in this collection. It’s not terrible, but she’s bored, frustrated, and really needs a vacation. She convinces the Doctor to take her on a “relaxing spa vacation”. I did have some trouble figuring out if Clara was with the Eleventh Doctor or the Twelfth Doctor in this story, but by the end, I’m pretty sure it was the Eleventh Doctor (as played by Matt Smith on the BBC television series). The two arrive on Cui Palta, one of the great resort planets. They explore, as the Doctor raves about all the relaxing things they can do, but gradually Clara becomes uneasy. Clara’s unease and discomfort grow, and she points out the problem – there are no people. The Doctor pooh-poohs this observation. There are also yellow flowers everywhere and the Doctor encourages Clara “to stop and smell the flowers.”

The two continue walking, then see an entrance to a garden maze. Clara again has misgivings, but the Doctor says it will be fun to solve the maze. They enter but get hopelessly lost, going around and around in circles. Clara confronts the Doctor with this but again he pooh-poohs and ignores her. This continues and the traps in the maze get more and more dangerous. When they find dead skeletons, the Doctor acknowledges that something is wrong. They continue trying to solve the maze – which now includes moving walls and mirrored corridors. Finally, they reach a courtyard with three doors – only to find that when they open and walk through a door – they return to the courtyard.

It’s in this three-choices section that Clara and the Doctor are separated but they can still communicate by yelling to each other. Clara trips and being close to the ground and sneezing (as she’s been doing throughout the story) she used a hankie the Doctor gave her to cover her nose and mouth. Then she sees things clearly – it’s all an illusion and the Doctor is literally running in circles. She calls out to the Doctor to get low and cover his nose and mouth. He does and the illusion breaks. The two leave the maze and city for the TARDIS and leave the planet. But it begs the question as to how the psychoactive flowers got there in the first place and did they really poison all the people on the planet.

Like the Sarah Jane story, Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta plays up Clara’s personal fears – this time her fear of getting lost. But this is also probably the strongest story in terms of the theme of the Companion saving the Doctor – because in this story it seems like the Doctor never would have figured it out. But he also discounts Clara’s concerns frequently – and she comes off a bit spoiled and a bit of a know-it-all. So although it handles the theme in a direct way, I liked other stories in the collection better.

Bill and the Three Jackets
by Dorothy Koomson

Bill and the Doctor are in the TARDIS, and Bill is trying to convince the Doctor to let her go shopping. The Twelfth Doctor (as played by Peter Capaldi on the British series Doctor Who) tries to convince Bill she can certainly find something to wear for her date in the TARDIS’s wardrobe rooms, he even tells her he probably has an entire room of jackets, but Bill is unconvinced and succeeds in getting him to let her go shopping.

Bill goes into town and finds a shop she never really noticed before. Inside are racks and racks of jackets. The shop clerk, who has a name tag that reads, Ziggy, seems friendly enough and before long Bill’s picked out three jackets to try on. She slips on the first one, an amethyst jacket, and is about to take a selfie when the Ziggy objects, the jackets are exclusive designs and the shop doesn’t allow selfies. Bill thinks this is weird but she puts her phone away. The Ziggy then offers to take pictures with her Polaroid camera. The picture seems to be taking an extraordinary amount of time to develop so the clerk puts it on the counter. Bill tries on a green jacket and a gold leather one with buckles. But she also starts to feel ill and weak. Ziggy had taken pictures of her in each jacket. Ziggy urges Bill to get something to eat and then come back and make her decision.

Bill leaves and walks to a nearby coffee shop. But her coffee and sandwich don’t taste good to her and her stomach ache gets worse. Later the owner of the coffee shop comes out and asks Bill where the girl went, the one who ordered a coffee, chips, and sandwich and didn’t pay. Bill’s confused – that’s her order, but she definitely paid. Yet the coffee shop owner insists she’s someone else and the other girl didn’t pay.

Bill goes to the TARDIS and the Doctor doesn’t recognize her either. Moreover, there’s another Bill in the TARDIS. Bill now knows something is very wrong. She tries to figure out how she can get some help and realizes that there’s a girl she knew at university, someone to whom she always gave extra chips. Bill approaches the girl who’s reading a science fiction novel in the cafeteria. Bill explains her story and then tells her about the extra chips. The girl, being an SF fan, actually believes Bill. The two set off for the shop. They get the photographs and then confront the Doctor and the fake Bill again.

Bill tears up the photos and she starts to appear to be herself, while the fake Bill is obviously an alien shapeshifter. The camera was loaded with psychic paper, and the shapeshifter used it to stabilize her form. But when the Doctor and Bill ask why she did it, they find out she was fleeing a repressive regime on her home planet. Now she just wants to go home. The Doctor explains he must take the shapeshifter to a different time as well as place – if he took her to the planet now it would just be empty space. But he agrees. Bill’s compassion for the shapeshifter is instrumental in the Doctor’s decision to help. Bill also gains respect for the girl she’d flirted with but never really spoken to before.

There are no bad guys in this story. The alien is simply homesick and using its natural abilities and a little psychic paper to get what it wants. Bill’s own insecurities made her a mark in the first place, not that that’s completely fair (everyone is insecure sometimes). Bill learns a lot about herself about a friend and about the alien and the Doctor. And the Doctor is passive in this story – he’s as vulnerable to the alien’s illusion as anyone else who doesn’t know Bill. It’s a good story, with an important point about being comfortable in your own skin rather than trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect.

This was a fun collection and I enjoyed it. Highly recommended.