We're past Christmas and almost into the New Year, and yet Doctor Who's holiday special, "The Return of Doctor Mysterio," still has us thinking. For one, it has us wondering if we want to attend the encore Fathom Events screening, if only to see the action on the big screen, but there are some other big thoughts that have swirled about in our heads as well. This year's Christmas episode was full of Doctor Who nods like the finale of the River Song story, as well as that marquee reading "Mind of Evil," which is the name of a story from the Third Doctor's tenure, but the introduction of a proper superhero allowed for lots of references and inside jokes to be appreciated by Marvel and DC Comics fans who just happen to be Whovians as well. Here is the best of that super-bunch.
Miss Shuster and Ms. Siegel
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the creators of the original Action Comics-born Superman, a character which The Ghost/Grant Gordon owes a huge debt to. Strangely enough, Shuster and Siegel were given a gender-swapped reference in "The Return of Doctor Mysterio," in the form of two female employees working for Harmony Shoals. Another fun reference to the comic legends' creation can be found in the rotating globe logo that sits atop the Harmony Shoals building -- which mirrors that of The Daily Planet.
"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"
While discussing Grant's powers, The Doctor gives the young superhero some very familiar advice: "With great power, comes great responsibility." While our protagonist is more of a Superman analog, this specific advice comes from the Marvel side of the fence, as they are Uncle Ben's sage words to his nephew Peter in the Spider-Man franchise. That's not the only Spider-Man reference we have for you, either.
The Rooftop Date
Granting Lucy Lombard (nee Fletcher) an exclusive interview on her apartment's rooftop is something straight out of the Superman: The Movie playbook. The moment heavily calls back to a very similar interview between Lois Lane and the last son of Krypton, which differed from the Doctor Who version of events, as it didn't end in violence. Good thing The Ghost has similar powers to Superman as well.
In a move worthy of a Kevin Smith film, The Doctor questions the origins of everyone's friendly neighborhood web slinger after reading Spider-Man comics with a very young Grant. Rather than believing that a radioactive spider bite could imbue someone with special powers, The Doctor games out a rather different, more depressing scenario for Peter Parker's post-radiation life. Strangely enough, ingesting a powerful gemstone has no side effects whatsoever. No great responsibility there.
The Bat-Voice and Bat-Suit
Superman, while a major influence, wasn't the only hero used to inspire Grant Gordon's Ghost-ly countenance. In fact, the costume, the do-gooder nature, and even the voice were influenced by the various incarnations of Batman from both the big and small screens. While the costume is close enough to any Bat in the cinematic line-up, the voice is similar to Michael Keaton's 1989 incarnation, with the do-gooder nature coming from mostly from Adam West.
Doctor Who will finally return to audiences in full when Season 10 debuts later this year. To see what else the small screen has to offer in the near future, check out our midseason premiere schedule.