Or – “Why Couldn’t It Be Assimilation X 2?”
The universe is a vast and variable place, and the timestream even moreso. So, in a way, it’s actually a surprise that it only took the Doctor 50 years to land in the midst of someone else’s franchise. (I fully expected them to cross over with The Rat Patrol, or Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo by now…) It’s time for the time-and-space traversing Major Spoilers review…
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO:
Writer(s): Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee
Artist: J.K. Woodward
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who” Assimilation2 #2: Last issue, the eleventh incarnation of the Time Lord known as The Doctor encountered a different strain of a familiar enemy, encountering The Borg and believing them to be an offshoot of The Cybermen. In his efforts to find/stop them, he ends up in what seems to be the 1940’s on planet Earth, only to be puzzled by the presence of an android in a spiffy hat. Clever geeks may realize that he’s on the holodeck of the Enterprise-D, the flagship of the United Federation of Planets’ Starfleet in the far-flung future, but he doesn’t know that.
AN AUTHENTIC TNG EXPERIENCE…
The first issue of this series was told from the point of view of the Doctor, Amy and Rory, and a conflict on the planet Delta IV (home planet of Ilia, the bald woman from Star Trek: The Motionless Picture) and ended with The Doctor stepping out of his TARDIS and seeing Data in the 1940’s. This issue opens with the other side of the story, giving us another mission of the starship Enterprise, covering the basics of what we need to know about the crew of the ship and their basic interactions. I have to say that I was particularly entertained by a conversation between Geordi LaForge and Commander Data that explained both of their peculiar accessories, but still felt like a natural conversation. (Well, the TNG version of a natural conversation, anyway…) The mission that the crew undertakes doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with the overarching Cybermen/Borg plot, which seems a bit odd, and the art is very strange in certain places. Part of the time, it looks like painted comic book art, but in some places it looks like the team used a Photoshop filter on photgraphs of the crew. There’s a strange blurriness to the art that can be off-putting, but the likenesses tend to be good, so I can forgive a bit of strangeness.
COMBINING THINGS THAT ARE DISSIMILAR.
After their mission (which eventually is revealed to have ties back to The Borg, specifically the battle of Wolf 359), there’s a strange moment where Picard asks his bridge crew to test out the holodeck (?) which puts Data, Doctor Crusher and Commander Riker in the Dixon Hill holographic simulation in time for the Doctor to arrive and catch up with the end of last issue. Rory and Amy don’t get much of anything to do, but The Doctor has some lovely moments and very Doctorish conversations with Jean-Luc Picard, and the issue ends with the revelation (to the main characters) that the Borg and Cybermen are somehow working together, a moment that took FAR too long to get to. I can understand the inclination to give both of these long-term franchises time to breathe a bit, and I appreciate the thought process behind it, but we’re now 1/4 of the way through this series with the conflict only now being made clear. Still, the sight of next issue’s cover (the one where Kirk fights Cybermen as the Tom Baker Fourth Doctor and Spock look on) overcomes a lot of that complaint, as well. With The Doctor realizing that somehow, his memories and personal timeline are being manipulated, there is clearly more going in the background. (Guardian of Forever?)
THE VERDICT: A GOOD ONE FOR THE FANS.
All in all, this issue is one that I can dissect from the perspective of what I might have done, or what I think could have worked better, but the basics are all sound. The recurring blurry factor of the art doesn’t go away (and is more noticeable on Amy Pond and Doctor Crusher), but it’s a good-looking comic and there’s a lot more explanation of Starfleet than we saw in IDW’s other future-shock crossover, Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, ever gave us. In short, Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who” Assimilation2 #2 gets the Star Trek right, has Riker in it, and doesn’t bobble the Doctor, making for a successful issue and 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Fingers crossed for a Fifth Doctor/Kira Nerys moment somewhere in this series…