Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 - Issue Five / Written by: Scott Tipton, David Tipton / Art by: Gordon Purcell, JK Woodward / Publishers: IDW / Release Date: Out Now
Surely the patience of even the staunchest Doctor Who/Next Generation fan is starting to wear thin now, as issue five (of eight) in this crossover comic series arrives and, yet again, it’s all talk. All Talk. Absolutely nothing of any real importance happens in this wordy, portentous episode; the whole issue is devoted to Picard’s stubborn (if not unreasonable) refusal to turn to his old enemies the Borg for assistance in the oncoming battle against the Cybermen and by the end of it - to Hell with spoilers - he’s decided to change his mind with a little bit of time travelling help from the Doctor.
Page after page of issue five rolls by with dreary (and now not hugely-accomplished) panels of characters - the Doctor, Picard, Guinan, a bit of Amy and Rory towards the end - standing around yakking at one another. Three pages are devoted to a moody pencils-only flashback in which the Doctor learns of Picard’s previous close encounter with the Borg but still the Doctor persists in trying to persuade him to change his mind and still Picard refuses. It’s only when Amy encourages Picard to take a trip forward in time in the TARDIS to see what the future may hold for the Universe under Cyber domination (giving the writers a chance to drop in a few bits of crowd-pleasing Who continuity) that the grumpy old sod decides it might be a good idea to actually do something to try and stop this grim future actually happening.
And something actually happening would be quite nice about now in this series. It’s been easy to forgive the writers their self-indulgence as they play in two popular sandboxes but things really should be moving up a few gears by now. This is the fourth issue in a row to see the Doctor and the Star Trek crowd wandering around the Enterprise just talking and they’re really long since overdue a bit of actual action. This issue suffers even more because the writing has suddenly become terribly clumpy; the Doctor’s dialogue is horribly generic - the character’s charm and wit has eluded him this month - and it seems as if Doctor Who has finally succumbed to the tone and style of Star Trek because this is really the Doctor, Amy and Rory in name only and any resemblance to their TV counterparts doesn’t stretch much further than occasionally looking a bit like them.
After a strong and promising start Assimilation has pretty much come to a dead stop and with only three issues left to wrap things up it’s looking like we’re heading for a rushed, garbled conclusion to what could have been an epic, landmark meeting of sci-fi minds. It’s not too late to turn it round but as each issue rolls by in a haze of clunky chatter, it’s hard not to suspect that Assimilation is going to go down in comics history as one big fat missed opportunity.