DW: The Soul Garden Review

DW The Soul Garden

I start my read through of the collected Graphic Novel “The Phantom Piper” with, well, the first story in the collection! The Soul Garden is a fine story, full of nice dream-like imagery and good artwork, so it’s a nice way to kick off the final run of Twelfth Doctor DWM comic stories (though his actual final story is in a final GN out next year…) Let’s take a closer look!

Synopsis:

The Twelfth Doctor and Bill land on Titan in a specific location at a specific time, which allows them to see a perfect view of Saturn, Bill’s favourite planet. Soon their idyllic trip turns to a disaster featuring killer plant beings and the like… so, a regular day out with The Doctor then…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW The Soul Garden 4

The Doctor, Takashi and the three ghosts of Christmas…?

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) – The Doctor was feeling in a generous mood so took Bill to see her favourite planet up close, with no danger or anything around… He should have known better, really…

Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) – Bill can’t believe she saw Saturn hang in the sky like that… it’s a shame it didn’t last very long…

Rudy Zoom – Rudy is a top businessman and celebrity that loves to endorse crazy potential tourist attractions, even if he keeps ending up on the wrong side of them…

Lady Takashi – Lady Takashi believes she has been sensing a wondrous being calling her to Titan, and thanks to Zoom’s money, she will finally see what those voices wanted…

Samuel Taylor Coleridge – A poet who has been having some rather odd and vivid dreams…

Oksanna – Oksanna is a plant-like creature living in a special pod hidden on Titan. She is waiting for the fleshlings to arrive and “save her”…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW The Soul Garden 3

Dawww, ain’t he cute?

There were some unique ideas here, or least some uncommon ones. It made official a sort of dream dimension where people’s subconscious go when they’re dreaming, and how one form of life learned how to traverse it. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I’m sure has been touched on before in Who, but I can’t think of any real examples. That’s how Lady Takashi had these dreams of voices calling to her, because the Haluu (the main foes of the story) travelling across the dream world and told her to come.

There is a nice twist to the story when it’s revealed the head of the Haluu, Sythorr, created his army of plant-like being from the souls of those he had killed in the dream world. The main Haluu and the one that called to Takashi was Oksanna, and it soon turns out that it was formally her mother in a seemingly unlikely twist until you think how it managed to traverse the dream world and contact someone on current-day (to them) Earth when seemingly all people dreaming from countless worlds and time periods are in it, it was an instinctive paternal connection. The Doctor, Bill and Takashi trap Oksanna in the dream world and revert her mind to its original state, allowing the now Haluu plant creature to extract her revenge on Sythorr and save everyone at the cost of what little life she had. A very odd tale that started off looking like a basic killer plant story…

I also really liked the opening scenes, where not only does Bill see her favourite planet, but her and The Doctor start swimming through the air due to Titan’s gravity and atmosphere. It reminds me of the 2nd Doctor story “The Moonbase”, which starts with The Doctor showing his companions how far you can jump while on the moon’s surface, it’s just nice to see The Doctor and his companion have a trip based around having fun, even if it does inevitably end in horror…

The Bad:

DW The Soul Garden 2

Don’t fall for it, Bill! He may be rich, but he’s a twat.

I have to say that I found Rudy Zoom annoying. I must have just missed out on covering “The Eye of Torment”, the story where he first appeared, on this blog, but trust me, I didn’t like him then either. It’s like someone’s idea of what Tony Stark is like, but not really getting the charm aspect and just ramping up the arrogance…

The Continuity:

DW The Soul Garden 1

Hey, the Twelfth Doctor with a smile on his face, a first time for everything!

As just mentioned above, Rudy Zoom first appeared in the DWM Twelfth Doctor story “The Eye of Torment”.

The Doctor and Bill wear “Atmospheric Density Jackets”, which had only previously appeared in the First Doctor TV story “The Web Planet”, and who wants to remember that?!

That was it really, beyond Bill mentioning events from two of her TV stories (“Thin Ice” and “Smile” respectively) in order to establish when in her timeline this is happening…

Overall Thoughts:

Soul Garden was a good story to kick off the Twelfth Doctor and Bill era in comics. It started off quite generic and then ended up as anything but. Some out-there ideas and a fun twist cover up for most of the annoying character moments from Mr. Zoom and gives a fun, satisfying overall story.

4 Star Read

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