What He Wants... (comic story)

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What He Wants... was the third story of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor comic story series published in 2014. It introduced the Doctor's companion, John Jones, and gave the name to the recurrent enemy, the Talent Scout. It also saw the return of Bessie, albeit in a shape of a monster truck.

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

There's a devil out on the bayou, or so they say... Something stalking bluesmen through the swamps of Mississippi, offering them talent beyond imagining, worlds at their feet - in exchange for their souls!

When Alice asks the Doctor if they can visit one of her mother's musical heroes, she's initially disappointed. Is Jones, a forgettable singer whose talent seems to be that of disappearing in a crowded room, really the colossal talent who brought passion, creativity and meaning to her mother's life?

And what does he have to do with the nightmarish deals taking place in the dead of night...?


Dockery Plantation, Mississippi, 1931[[edit]]

A blues singer performs in a small wooden cottage. A fascinated boy with a guitar stands near the stage. A tall man in a pinstriped suit asks him if he is scared of the audience. The boy does not think he is even remotely as good as the singer onstage. The man hands the boy a business card and introduces himself as the Talent Scout. He says that just six days ago the singer was even worse than the boy is now, but the Talent Scout sent him out in the bayou at midnight to make a deal to get what he most wanted. He asks the boy how bad he wants to be good. The boy looks at the SERVEYOUinc business card and decides to go out in the bayou too.

In the reeds, he bumps into the Eleventh Doctor, whose eyes and mouth are shining gold, as are those of other people surrounding a glowing golden circle. The Doctor robotically asks which ability the boy would like to upgrade. The boy answers that he would like to play the guitar like in his dreams. The Doctor asks whether the boy agrees to SERVEYOUinc terms and agreements.

Suddenly a hand yanks the Doctor by the collar of his jacket, and a man drags him away, simultaneously advising the boy to run for his life and to practice the guitar at home. The Doctor continues the scripted sales pitch as the man whistles loudly and a monster truck with plates WHO 1 and with Bessie written on its side screeches to a halt near them. Alice Obiefune shouts for the man, Jones, to get the Doctor into the truck. As the Talent Scout observes Jones dragging the possessed Doctor to Bessie, Alice notes that the Doctor was given what he wanted.

London, 2014. Earlier[[edit]]

In her flat, Alice goes through the album collection of her mother, while the Doctor measures the outside of the TARDIS. She finds King of the Delta Blues by Robert Johnson and Abanazar's Madness by the ultimate pop star whose early shows just a couple of streets away her mother used to frequent. This gives the Doctor an idea.

1962. A couple of streets away...[[edit]]

The Doctor has brought Alice to Dog & Duck, a club in Hackney where the very first show of John Jones took place. It starts just as they walk inside. But the lead has absolutely no stage presence. Alice is very disappointed and starts doubting her mother's stories. They leave, discussing how bad Jones was. Unnoticed by them, Jones gets out of the club, hears them thrashing him and follows them into the TARDIS. Inside, the Doctor is trying to persuade Alice of his own artistic skills and shows her canvas-covered Bessie, which he plugged into the TARDIS matrix for amplification. Through all their banter, Jones tries and fails to get their attention.

Mississippi, 1931[[edit]]

The Doctor has now brought Alice to the Mississippi Delta to listen to a performance of Robert Johnson, who happens to be his personal friend. They feel completely hoodwinked when Jones finally gathers strength to get noticed by angrily shouting at them. The Doctor is flabbergasted that somebody could get into the TARDIS right under his nose without him noticing. He probes Jones with his sonic screwdriver and finds something very unusual. Jones' cells are constantly changing. His main talent is being a chameleon.

The Doctor leads the two of them to the small wooden cottage promising an electrifying live performance. But as they walk in, they see a mob of people with eyes and mouths glowing gold, chanting: "How bad do you want to be good?" The Doctor conjectures that the glow is some sort of life-force enhancement that makes people stronger and faster but will quickly burn out their internal organs if nothing is done. He tells Alice and Jones to save themselves by jumping out of a window, but he himself stays behind to investigate.

Suddenly he sees Robert Johnson among the chanting mob. The Doctor sticks the sonic screwdriver into Johnson's mouth and manages to find the reprogramming frequency and reverse whatever programming made people into these gold-eyed creatures. He gives the screwdriver to Johnson, telling him to take it to Alice, who will know what to do with it. As Johnson escapes, the Doctor is dragged inside by the mob.

The Talent Scout now introduces himself to the Doctor, who is being held by several possessed. The Doctor recognises the name on the business card, SERVEYOUinc. The Scout wants to use the Doctor in their organisation, but the Doctor refuses, saying he needs to reverse the effects of the golden glow before it burns the people out completely. The Talent Scout insists that everyone has a price and, after having met the Doctor once, he knows his. Suddenly, a Time Lord figure appears from the glowing golden circle.

Johnson has found the TARDIS and knocks on the door. Jones quickly pulls him in. When Johnson explains what happened, Alice sticks the sonic screwdriver into a slot on the console. The immediate result is the rumbling of Bessie, now ready for adventure. Alice finally explains to Jones that he's not in Hackney in 1962 anymore. Before sending him to use his chameleon stealth powers, she kisses him on the forehead from her mum.

Mississippi, 1931. Now[[edit]]

Jones drags the Doctor to the car. The Talent Scout orders his minions to get the Doctor back to fulfil his contractual obligations. But Jones finally throws the inert body into the car, Alice puts the foot down, and the car drives away breaking a fence on its way.

The Talent Scout with his minions track Bessie to the TARDIS, where Johnson is already waiting for them. A cable snakes away from his guitar into the TARDIS. He promises to play a song called the TARDIS blues. The effect is astounding. The possessed people fly in all directions, while the Talent Scout disappears in an explosion of bright golden light.

The Doctor is impressed by the team, who let the TARDIS get the reversed reprogramming frequency from the sonic, lured all the affected and used the TARDIS as an amplifier to cure them. It appears that the plan worked, and the previously possessed people are back to their normal selves and not going to die prematurely.

They gather around a bonfire near the TARDIS for an impromptu concert. John Jones begins with no more success than in Dog & Duck. Robert Johnson decides to give him guitar lessons. Meanwhile the Doctor thanks Alice for coming back for him. She guesses that he is still not okay. He admits that he is upset that he can't remember what he was shown that he wanted so much he forgot himself.




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Original print details[[edit]]

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