Through the machinations of Dr. Ruen, the Doctor and Amy have switched bodies. This results in hilarious hijinks of the sitcom kind. No. Absolutely not. Rather, Tony Lee treats the concept with a rare respect.
Long ago, in the Dark Times, when there was no Doctor Who on television and only a handful of decent books to feed the need, a minority of fandom held the belief that Time Lords were either asexual and/or ambisexual; in other words, a Time Lord if a man could regenerate into a woman and visa versa.
This was in fact another misguided attempt to preclude the idea that the Doctor could have sex with a companion. Such a setup should have made Time Lord orientation bisexual, but these fans were blissfully blind to logic.
Lee treats the subjects of mind-switching and gender-bending with his typical elegant rationality. The Time Lords are a bigendered species. The Doctor however isn't all that upset at being a woman, or even having the lifespan of a human, which is an unlikely reaction from an average Time Lord. Seeing as how the Doctor gladly sacrifices his lives for the cosmos or his friends, his blasé attitude is perfectly in character.
I always Dress for the Occasion
If anything, it's Amy who is the least interested in being a Time Lord. After all, she's married to Rory, and would like to share in his life. Technically, speaking, she's not a Time Lord, merely a human inhabiting a Time Lord body. The idea of this potential transfer was established in Doctor Who 1996 when the Master intended to steal the Doctor's body and his remaining lives.
The Doctor has been affected by "wearing" a human body. He becomes almost flippant, as Rory states "more than usual." Lee is offering a simply fascinating bit of science fiction, that deals with the so-called soft science of biology, and promotes current research. A lot of what we are is ingrained, and, even were we to switch minds, we wouldn't exactly be the same person. Biology affects the mind. The brain's structure decides the mind. One wonders if the Master wouldn't have been infected by the Doctor's unique biochemistry and become a better person even though he possessed the Doctor's Time Lord body. Likewise, assuming the Doctor could only find a way to stabilize their new situation, what would the Doctor and Amy be like as human female and Time Lord?
After the Doctor decides on a proper wardrobe, Lee gets down to business with the matter at hand. A revolt is brewing. The villains of the piece housed in the bodies of plant creatures intend to use a second machine to transfer their minds into the staff and visitors to the facility. Else, they'll blow the Reactor Core.
Lee finds the solution to the problem in the problem. How will the Doctor and Amy switch back to their proper bodies? It's in the threat. How will they get the energy to perform the switch? See the threat. How can they possibly reach where they need to go? It's up to Amy because only a Time Lord could possibly do it, and it's up to the Doctor no matter what body he wears to unlock the potential in his companions. That's what the Doctor does. Besides saving the universe every Thursday, he recognizes the greatness in everybody that travels with him. In other words, this issue of Doctor Who is quintessential.
The Girl Who Waited in the Doctor's Body
The story is also another feather in Matthew Dow Smith's cap. You can see so very easily now how adept he has become when detailing the Doctor's body language. He's illustrating the Doctor as Amy, but she still behaves like the Doctor.
Dow Smith however isn't doing the same for Amy. Amy, as I said, isn't taking her predicament very well, and because of this, Dow Smith keeps her in the shadows. She doesn't want to be seen. She doesn't really want to feel affection in this body. It's only when she regains her form — spoilers ahoy, I suppose — that she regains her own body language. Kudos also go to colorist Charlie Kirchoff for the selected shades of Doctor Pond's wardrobe. They look lovely, and the darker colors he opts for Amy as Doctor enhance the introverted attitude that she's assumed. This story just came as a real surprise.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.