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Trek/Who Crossover Not Quite a Dream Come True

Trek/Who Crossover Not Quite a Dream Come True

(Assimilation2 credit: IDW Publishing)

Written by Scott and David Tipton with what looks to be fully painted artwork by J.K. Woodward, the original eight issue miniseries version of Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who – Assimilation2 debuted in May of 2012, with two graphic novels presenting the content of four issues each coming soon after. October 2013 brought the release of the whole shebang in a single hardcover.

Of course, this project sounds like a dream come true, a Trekkie or Whovian fantasy made real. And is it? Well… it depends on what you’re hoping for.
Set during the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the story takes place after the Locutus episodes in which Captain Picard had been assimilated by the invasive cybernetic collective known as The Borg. Doctor Who‘s Cybermen have done some interdimensional jiggery-pokery and managed to enter the Trek universe and form an alliance with the Borg.
Meanwhile, The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory land on the Enterprise D. Once the Enterprise and TARDIS crews come to terms with each other, they team up to take on this deadly new villain alliance before it can assimilate the whole universe.
Trek/Who Crossover Not Quite a Dream Come True

Captain Picard and the Eleventh Doctor (image: IDW)

Let’s start with the positive. The Tiptons have a very good grasp on these characters and write them surprisingly spot on. Woodward’s art is mostly quite great and his cover work often stunning, though panels with less detail don’t tend to fare very well. All in all, it’s not a bad crossover for the most part.

On the other hand, it’s really not all that particularly good. After a strong planet invasion sequence in issue 1, we spend the next four issues or so basically Enterprise-bound slogging through as the Doctor and the Enterprise crew discuss the threat seemingly endlessly, with very little alteration. A short segue of the Kirk crew encountering Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor is a bit of fun, but relatively insubstantial. The first half of the series is, essentially, really rather dull.
This is complicated by the fact that there’s a lot of fan service going on here, with very little in the way of original ideas. Yeah, okay it’s a bit of a thrill to see Picard enter the TARDIS for the first time – let alone Data – but the story doesn’t really have a voice of its own. Picard, locked in his First Contact era “I hate the Borg” mentality, has to be shown the error of some of his beliefs toward the situation by the Doctor pulling a “Pyramids of Mars” move and zipping the TARDIS into the future to show what will come to be, Tom Baker, Kirk and Spock all in one story… so on, so forth. For a long time it’s not particularly going anywhere, but is really trying to convince us of its awesome geek cred. Why does the Doctor react to getting beamed down or up as if he’s surprised when he’s been doing that in Doctor Who (where it’s always been referred as transmat) for decades now?
Trek/Who Crossover Not Quite a Dream Come True

The TARDIS vs a Borg Cube. (image: IDW)

Fortunately, the latter half of the series wakes up, with the final three issues in particular bringing the plot to a nice boil; though, honestly, I thought the writers’ decision to use gold as a major weapon against the Cybermen a bit weak, given that these are pre-“Nightmare in Silver” Cybermen. In old Doctor Who gold was used against Cybermen because, as a non-corroding metal, it plugged up their breathing apparatus. The new Cybermen are brains in robot bodies, leading one to wonder how they breathe in the first place.

Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who is, basically, a confection for fanboys and fangirls, pure and simple. It offers nothing particularly innovative or original, save for some of the political wrangling between the Cybermen and the Borg.
If you’re wanting a series of “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” squee-causing moments tied together by a fairly loose plot, this series will probably please you, I suppose. The sad thing is, with a crossoer like this, there are so many more interesting things that could have been done. It’s not bad, but it could have been much, much more.

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