REVIEW: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation² #5 (of 8)

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Or – “Jeen Luck Pickerd?  Is There A Jeen Luck Pickard Here?”

The Eleventh Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise-D have been brought together due to vagaries of time, space and dimension, and have seen two of their greatest enemies combining into one steel-plated army of evil.  What’s in store for the Doctor and the Captain?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!


STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION² #5
Writer(s): Scott & David Tipton
Penciler: Gordon Purcell
Painted Art: 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:  Somehow, the universes are merging, with Starfleet’s reality and that of the mysterious traveler known as The Doctor converging into one continuity.  The Borg (hateful cyborg monsters from beyond who claim the innocent and transform them into more Borg) and the Cybermen (hateful cyborg monsters from beyond who claim the innocent and transform them into more Cybermen, but who are demonstrably more evil because of their British accents) seemed to have joined forces, only to see the Cybermen turning on their erstwhile allies.  Jean-Luc Picard, thanks to his history with the Borg, has refused to assist them as the Cybermen run rampant over their cubist fleet, but the Doctor is very concerned that Picard may have underestimated the real extent of the Cyberman threat…

YES, IN FACT, IT IS BIGGER ON THE INSIDE…

At the end of last issue, Picard opined that the death of thousands of Borg at the hands of the Cybermen was, in his words, “good riddance.”  This issue picks up from that moment, with Picard ordering his ship back to Earth, and refusing to even consider working alongside the creatures that captured him back in Season 3.  The best efforts of Guinan (the only member of the cast whose likeness is never quite right in these pages) and the Doctor himself aren’t enough to convince him of the situation at hand.  The creators take a few pages to deliver some back story, a quickie recap of the events of ‘Best Of Both Worlds’, part 1 & 2.  The Battle of Wolf 359 is particularly well-drawn, with the painted art working a bit better in black and white than some of the previous issues.  There’s a very interesting moment wherein Counselor Troi and the Doctor play off each other very cleverly, with the duo sending Amy Pond to speak with the Captain (possibly due to his exhibited fondness for cute-as-a-button redheads.)  This leads to the moment we’ve all been waiting for, as the Captain steps into the TARDIS for the first time, and the Doctor offers to end the rhetoric and make his point visually.

A ONCE AND FUTURE TALE.

I had worried when I heard that Tony Lee was no longer involved in this project that the second half of the story wouldn’t life up to the Doctor Who side of the equation, but the TARDIS interiors are spot-on.  In our previous reviews, Stephen especially had complaints with the painted art, and I myself felt like there was a bit of Photoshop trickery going on in some of the likenesses, but both of those complaints are mitigated with this issue.  The Doctor takes the Captain into the Federation’s future, demonstrating the fall of Qo’nos, Vulcan, Raxacoricofallapatorious and more, giving him a firsthand view of the brutality of the Cybermen.  The downfall of it all comes in that the entire issue consists of flashback and conversation, without a whole lot of tense moments.  Ironically, it’s a pretty strong bit of character work, but without the performances of Patrick Stewart and Matt Smith, the events of the issue drag a bit.  The traveling sequences are full of nice touches, though, especially the sight of converted Cyber-Slitheen with their characteristic anatomy mostly intact and steel-plated…

BOTTOM LINE: A NICE PICK-ME-UP AFTER ‘THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN…”

The previous issues of this series have all managed to balance both the dual properties (two of the most well-known science fiction franchises in history) and the conversation-to-action moments ratio.  This issue falls down on the action front, and even some cute character bits with Rory in Sickbay don’t correct that imbalance.  Worse still, the delicate balance of our leads is a bit wobbly as well, with Picard forced to play cabbage-head for the admittedly pretty-sort-of-marvelous Doctor.  Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation² #5 isn’t a bad chapter, but I’m afraid that “It’ll read better in the trade” isn’t a universal cure-all, earning a still-quite-decent 3 out of 5 stars overall.  Next issue promises space battles, which will hopefully give Picard and company their next moment in the sun, and will hopefully resolve the whole matter of worlds colliding in a satisfying manner…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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