Genre crossovers continue to be popular among the kids and the studios and publishers who see money fall from the sky with each and every issue release. The Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover continues, and Matthew and Stephen return with their Major Spoilers Dueling Review of the book.
STAR TREK/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION 2 #3
Writer: Scott and David Tipton with Tony Lee
Artist: J.K. Woodward and The Sharp Brothers
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Denton Tipton
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in ST:TNG/DW: The Borg and Cybermen are attacking in a team-up for the ages. Fortunately, The Doctor and his companions have found themselves on the Holodeck, and when Captain Picard and The Doctor meet, exchanges take place…
STEPHEN: From the story side of this issue, I think the writers have captured the feel for the dialogue that each member of the cast would use in normal conversation. This draws the reader into the story, making it more believable that the two properties would cross over. Of course at this point, what property hasn’t Star Trek teamed with?
MATTHEW: Um… I think Star Wars and Hong Kong Fooey are the only ones right off the top of my head, but I completely agree about the dialogue. As a long-term fan of both properties (and one who watched many of the original episodes) the Tiptons and Lee clearly know their stuff. Riker sounds like Riker, The Doctor sounds like the Doctor, even Worf’s dialogue has the clear sense of Michael Dorn’s deep intonations and strangely stilted pronunciation. Withe tones of the two properties being so different (one-quasi-military, the other anti-establishment), I worried that one or the other would get the short shrift.
STEPHEN: Though crossovers can be a problem, the forced time mending that goes on to lead the reader to the flashback works – as much as any sci-fi answer to a complicated plot twist goes. I was afraid the variant cover featuring Four and Kirk was going to be a gimmick to draw in a core group. I’m glad it was included in the story.
MATTHEW: As was I. The cynical, twisted part of my brain expected it to be a stunt-variant, but I was incredibly pleased to see that the original Enterprise crew and the Fourth Doctor actually DID have an adventure together, for some values of “have”, anyway, and the Doctor’s memories changing as things went on sent up a big red flag for me. There’s a time paradox off the starboard bow, Cap’n!
STEPHEN: So, is Spock a fan of the Jelly Baby, or does he simply find them “fascinating?” Even from his first observation of the treats, I’m going to bet he has the replicator adding the goodies to the database for his late night munchies…
MATTHEW: Spock strikes me as the type to hide a sweet tooth, and I imagine that he sneaks out for chocolate covered Orion grasshoppers or meringue Hortas while nobody is looking. And the overall feel of the original Enterprise flashback, from the Kirk/Scotty interaction to the remote station that looks like it was pulled out of Season Two, is fun with bonus points for using actual 1970’s Cybermen designs, as well. These creators know their history, even if they’re mixing late-60’s Trek with mid-70’s Who.
STEPHEN: So, with the flashback sequence complete (gold dust is your friend), what do you think Guinan’s reaction is going to be? From a human perspective, the Doctor does seem very much like a member of the Q.
MATTHEW: Golddust is also a former Intercontinental champion, but I wouldn’t let him in my house. As for Guinan, I honestly expect that in this new merged reality, her interactions over the last however-many-hundred years will have certainly involved Time Lords in one way or another. Bits and pieces of her El-Aurian race actually seem to be influenced by the Time Lords, as I recall, so maybe they’re a distant cousin race in the new shared timeline?
STEPHEN: As far as the art goes, I’m not a fan. The painted style is mushy at best most of the time, and it looks like Woodward is simply using photos to paint the panels. This leads to many really weird compositions with camera angles that are impossible in a book that is supposed to look realistic.
MATTHEW: The painted interiors are at least less mushy this issue than they were last time, but there are still panels where it seems as though they’ve photoshopped actual headshots into the images and used a smear filter on them. (I’m not implying that they HAVE, mind you, only that the effect is similar.)
STEPHEN: I think Mr. Woodward does great covers, but his interiors leave much to be desired from my stand point. Heck, the Doctor’s shirt color changes from panel to panel – it’s annoying. Others will have different opinions, and that is okay, but this is the one thing that hurts this series over any other.
MATTHEW: I suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder. As for the shirt coloring, I think the blue shirt as seen on the bridge is supposed to be a reflection of the comm-panels, but the largest issue (the likenesses) are good enough that I’m not so bugged by it…
STEPHEN: Now, when the story flips to the past, and we get to see Four and Kirk team, I like that art. It is simple, to the point, and doesn’t look like poo.
MATTHEW: I liked the flashback art much better as well, as much for it’s crispness as for the use of the original Star Trek pastel color palette and phenomenal likenesses (for everyone but Leonard Nimoy, always a difficult character to draw.) Seeing Scotty and McCoy looking dead-solid perfect alongside a smirking Shatner made my day, and the costuming of the scientists was perfectly representative of the old show’s production values. For my money, this was the best-looking issues of the run thus far, certain less blurry/goopy than #1, and with the exception of the last panel of the issue, mostly not troublesome to me…
STEPHEN: I have mixed feelings about this issue. If it wasn’t for Mr. Woodward’s art, I would really be into this issue. Unfortunately, the art distracts so much I have to knock the book down a couple of points. It isn’t a bad issue – it isn’t even a bad overall story – I just have problems with the art.
MATTHEW: My experience was a much more positive one, with the art being much less of a problem than the previous issues (though having much of the issue feature a different team probably assisted with that), but I was a little bothered about the non-entity status of Amy Pond and Rory Williams in the issue. Overall, having a charming story written by obvious fans of the franchises overcame the peccadilloes of the painter for me, leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation² #3 with a more-than respectable 3.5 out of 5 stars overall from me.
ROBOT OVERLORD: I find the Cybermen and The Borg oddly compelling. I find their arguments engaging, and I want to read their pamphlets… I will have to investigate this further and use my two favorite meat bags as test subjects.
MATTHEW: I call the Cyberman hat!
ROBOT OVERLORD: QUIET YOU!