September 27, 2012

IDW Reviews: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Vol. 1 and Issue 5

Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Vol. 1 & Issue #5
Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee
J.K. Woodward
Gordon Purcell
Additional Art:
The Sharp Brothers

In the works of popular science fiction, Doctor Who and Star Trek are definitely in the top tier. So it only makes sense that two series with stories that involve time, space, and dimensional travel regularly would have the best chance to meet in their adventures. How do the members of Star Fleet’s Enterprise meet the Time Lord and his companions? Who of the many enemies of each side are going to get involved and what are they planning? Let’s find out!

Volume 1 of the 8-part series collects the first 4 issues, and IDW was nice enough to give us a copy to review along with the as-of-this-post unreleased 5th issue. The story tells of how the Cybermen and Borg have been able to cross dimensions and work together to convert all non-Cybermen/Borg (not to be confused with non-Cybermen/Borg fiction, don’t look it up if you don’t know what that means). So naturally the TARDIS ends up on the Enterprise, and we get the meeting of the minds of the 11th Doctor and Captain Jean Luc-Picard.

I read the series as if it were an episode of either show, as if the other series were just a generic version of that group. As a Doctor Who story, it felt like it worked more, probably because it’s easier to get characterization for three than it is for the entire bridge crew. It is fun when we get to see characterization through the interactions between the two series. Guinan and the Doctor are able to have powerful old people conversations, Rory and Doctor Crusher are able to talk medicine, Amy and Deanna talk about the power of caring, and so you get to see some fun interactions.

The art has a painted look, so that all the characters can look like themselves but not have to come off as weird looking. Though on occasion Rory looks a bit generic for someone who has definitive features. The rest of the book does look nice and conveys the story on its own with how some characters will look in a scene without having to read anything.

The book is filled with plenty of treats for fans of both series, since it even jumps back in time to the famous 4th Doctor teaming up with The Original Series of Star Trek crew to fight off a Cybermen invasion, this story feeling a bit more like a Star Trek story than the other way around. I could see an episode where a strange man shows up to aide the team and mysteriously disappears, especially since the story mostly focuses on the Star Trek side with regards to protagonists and Doctor Who side for antagonists.

The whole story does a good job of showing how these two realities are not meant to be intertwined with both the Doctor and Guinan struggling with their new memories of what would be common knowledge in their vast intellects. I always enjoyed the dimensional crossing stories of both series, and this does feel like an episode of either show, though again, more like a Who episode.

The latest issue has the fun of Picard in the TARDIS (which isn’t really a spoiler since it’s the cover, and the book tends to do a good job of syncing up covers with interior material), which was also a very Doctor Who scene since I could see the Doctor having to reveal the TARDIS to a generic stubborn captain who doesn’t see what turning away from the Cybermen/Borg problem could do. Though I was wondering about the Doctor’s own rules about time travel, but those have always been murky.

So far the series has been fun and looks to be ramping up with the latest issue for a confrontation between our teams and the evil cyborg side. If you are a fan of both or either series you could probably enjoy it. The book has a lot of fun interaction and drama with the truly catastrophic merging of two nasty cyborg races. I recommend the series, and with the release of Volume 1, it will be easier to get a hold of some of the hard to find issues (for me, issue 2 was exceptionally hard to find anywhere in Orange County, I had to go to LA).

Alexander Bustos



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