It's the long-awaited return of a deadly foe, as the Doctor and Clara face a monster that will have you checking your stack of comics for suspicious movement! Dare you continue reading, when every page turn could bring you into MORTAL DANGER?! You have to – you're the Doctor's only hope!
Irritably, the Twelfth Doctor addresses the reader of a comic book and warns them not to turn the page. Assuming that it's all part of the story, Natalie turns the page and finds herself trapped in her book.
One hour prior, the TARDIS lands in London, the Doctor dragging Clara to a local comic book store from which he's detected strange energy emissions. As Clara stocks up on comics, which she's taken to reading during the Doctor's technobabble, before the Time Lord notices Time Surgeon, a comic series based on his and Clara's adventures. As the Doctor rants about the imitation, he suddenly vanishes. When Clara tells the employees of this, they take her to the back room where they've stored all the comics that have absorbing people. After Luke is absorbed, by a comic, Clara recognises the cause as the Boneless and leads the female clerk away.
Within the comic, the Doctor makes contact with Natalie, telling her about the danger. Back in the 3-D universe, Clara manages to delay the Boneless by toppling the comic shelves allowing her a reprieve to talk to the Doctor. The Doctor tells her to go back to the TARDIS and use the telepathic circuits to create a temporal/spatial flux that will disrupt the fourth wall and send the Boneless back to the 2-D universe.
Back in the comic pages, the Doctor and Natalie observe that the Boneless are speeding up. Realising that the victims' shared love of comics has created a shared telepathic web between them. If that can be harnessed into a single telepathic entity, then it just might defeat the Boneless.
Back in the TARDIS, Clara create the flux but the comic she and the clerk are carrying disgorges a Boneless only for the Doctor to create the telepathic unison, disrupting the Boneless and sending them all back to their own dimension. As clean-up begins, the Doctor gets Natalie a job at the comic store before he leads Clara away. After all, he needs to have word with the creators of Time Surgeon.
- The comic shop is called the Prohibited Sphere Megastore.
- The Bat, Amazonia, Steel Man, Spider-Guy, Time Surgeon, T-Men and Monkey Planet are all popular comic series.
- Natalie mentions the Silver Surfer.
- The Bat, Amazonia, Steel Man, Spider-Guy, T-Men and Monkey Planet exist in the DWU alongside the series they parody: Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Planet of the Apes, respectively.
- This is the final main Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor story to feature Clara Oswald (though she continued to be featured in the back-up strip).
- The Doctor has been known to break the fourth wall with viewers a number of times, such as the First Doctor wishing viewers a Merry Christmas at the end of an installment of TV: The Daleks' Master Plan. The Twelfth Doctor himself has done so on several occasions (TV: Deep Breath, Listen, Before the Flood, and Heaven Sent). For further details, see Fourth wall.
- This story was published not long after Pearl Mackie was announced the Doctor's new TV companion, Bill Potts. The character of Natalie, who becomes something of a one-off companion in this tale, was noted as strongly resembling Mackie. Artist Rachael Stott indicated on her Twitter feed that this was a coincidence.
Original print details
to be added
- Clara questions the Doctor's decision to park the TARDIS in broad daylight, but he tells her no one will notice it. (TV: Boom Town)
- The Eleventh Doctor previously visited the Prohibited Sphere store. (COMIC: Give Free or Die)
- The Boneless return. (TV: Flatline)
- When the Doctor is breaking through the "fourth wall", the stray comic book panels show images from Clara Oswald and the School of Death.
- The Doctor mentions the Empress of the Racnoss. (TV: The Runaway Bride)