Thursday, August 8, 2013

#CBR5 Review #38: Star Trek/Doctor Who – Assimilation^2 by Scott and David Tipton

 (With art by J.K. Woodward)

A crossover between Star Trek: The Next Generation and Pond-era Doctor Who? It’s like a super geeky fantasy dream! Written as a short serial of 8 issues collected into two volumes, this idea totally roped me in, but in the end was a bit disappointing. There was potential here to do so much, but inevitably all the conflicts and conclusions felt… easy, I guess? And the action was very swayed to feel much more like a general 2-part episode of Doctor Who than a Star Trek story. At the end of the day, however, Assimilation^2 is a fun little story that combines two worlds that may not otherwise meet, if not in a very memorable fashion.

The main conflict in Assimilation^2 centers around a combined attack on Federation planets between the Borg and Cybermen, who are using each other’s technologies in order to co-conquer the human race. Upon this crossover of threats, the TARDIS chooses to mobilize between universes and appear on the Holodeck of the Enterprise-D. Why this crossing-over between universes occurs and what the ultimate ramifications for it may be are never really explained in this book, which was a little confusing to be honest. In any case, The Doctor, Rory, and Amy appear to have new memories of this universe that formed when they materialized in it, and they now want to help the crew of the Enterprise in eliminating this combined threat.

Soon, however, the threat of the Borg appears to be minimal, and we see the Borg actually asking Starfleet for help, as the Cybermen have betrayed their alliance. Captain Jean Luc Picard is hesitant to help out the Borg defeat the Cybermen, due to past traumas. The Doctor, however, insists that he helps, and shows Captain Picard just what the Cybermen will be capable of doing to the future of his universe. Captain Picard reluctantly agrees, and he and the Doctor lead a strike force into the center of the main Cyberman vessel in order to defeat them. Although the Borg and the humans now have an alliance against a single enemy, the question then remains if the Borg will continue to uphold this, or if they will try to use the new technologies of time-travel as seen in the TARDIS to overtake humans through all of time and space.

One issue I had with Assimilation^2 was the characterization of many figures: The Doctor was written true to form and was very fun, as was the robotic yet endearing Data, but many of the others fell a little flat or felt like one-note characters (it basically highlighted the most irritating parts of Amy Pond, while also pushing her to the sidelines, which is unfortunate). Also, although J.K. Woodward’s artwork would be beautiful as stand-alone pieces, as a means of telling a story, the artwork could probably do with some refining. There is one section in the first volume that flashes back to tell a story of when the crew of the USS Enterprise NC-1701 (Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty) had once met the 4 incarnation of the Doctor: the artwork in this segment is crisp and energetic, and I almost wish the whole thing had been done in a similar style.

So I guess in the end, there could have been a little more thought and work put into Assimilation^2. I mean, overall it’s a quick and amusing read for fans of the two series being involved here, I just really think it could have been a lot better.

[Be sure to check out more reviews on the Cannonball Read group blog]

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