Comic Review: Star Trek The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 - Issue One / Author: Scott Tipton, David Tipton, Tony Lee / Art: JK Woodward / Publisher: IDW / Release Date: Out Now
It’s the stuff of a million or more fanboy wet dreams, I suppose; two great behemoths of television science-fiction crossing over and sharing one awfully big space adventure. Franchise fans love little more than fantasising about what could happen if their favourite characters from two or more different shows met up with one another and whilst it’s the sort of affectation which the TV shows can never oblige it’s been the stuff of fan fiction for decades. The comics world is entirely different, of course, and with a little bit of negotiation and a healthy imagination IDW, publishers of the regular American Doctor Who and Star Trek comic book title, have been able to make a lot of fan fantasies come true - in four colours at least.
It’s early days for ‘Assimilation 2’, a Star Trek: Next Gen/Doctor Who mash-up and issue one is likely to have left Trek fans feeling a little bit short-changed and rather left out in the cold. The story introduces the formidable prospect of a rampaging Cyberman/Borg army in the Federation world of Star Trek and swiftly abandons it for the comedy shenanigans of the (eleventh) Doctor and his chums Rory and Amy larking about in ancient Egypt. Here at least the writers have captured the essentially rather frivolous nature of the current version of the TV Doctor Who with the Doctor and his companions trading quips instead of proper dialogue as the trio have fun in a chariot race before confronting the Pharaoh and his Vizier who, inevitably, is an escaped shape-shifting alien criminal which the Doctor manages to imprison in a handy glowing green crystal which later gives the Time Lord a vision of the cybernetic team-up peril ahead. The TARDIS crew move on to what appears to be 1940s San Francisco (and a nice opportunity for a sight gag delicatessen storefront called ‘Tom’s Bakery’) and our first proper view of recognisable Next Gen characters when the Doctor leads his friends into a nearby bar.
It’s a nifty enough first issue, the sci-fi setting of the first few pages - the Borg and Cyberman army invading and demolishing Delta IV and the evacuation of the Prime Minister - contrasting nicely with the historical romp of the TARDIS crew sequence and reminding the reader of the differences in the formats of the two shows. Woodward’s art has a welcome fluidity to it and the character likenesses are particularly good, even if some of Matt Smith’s close-ups appear to have been taken from familiar photographic references.
Judging a multi-issue comic book story on issue one is a bit like passing judgment on a novel on the basis of the first chapter. But ‘Assimilation 2’ has made a lively, promising start; the second instalment, with more involvement from the Next Gen crowd and, presumably, the Doctor’s first encounter with the rather more sober Jean-Luc Picard and an escalating threat from the Borg/Cyberman alliance, should make for a pretty irresistible combination. All in all, a decent start for a worthwhile collaboration.