Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation
Written by Scott and David Lipton with Tony Lee
Illustrated by J K Woodward
Published by IDW
Issue 8 of this monthly crossover release from IDW sees the conclusion of the Borg/Cyberman pact storyline. As such, it seems a good time to review the series.
It would be fair to say that Assimilation’s sum is rather less than its parts. Both Star Trek: TNG and Doctor Who have their own well established comic book universes, yet this series rarely tapped the drama and wonder of either. The storyline, dealing with the convergence of the Borg and Cybermen in a joint threat to the Federation, started well with plenty of action in issue 1, but once the Doctor, Amy and Rory entered the tale, the plot quickly slowed into too many scenes of show and tell.
For example, in one issue, we get a time-hopping sequence of the Doctor showing Picard the possible futures if he doesn’t offer help to the Borg. Then, in another issue, the Doctor uses the same ruse to persuade a planet to donate its valuable gold to the cause. Talk, talk, talk, and the chosen illustration style of photorealistic panels quickly recalls the photo stories of 70s girl’s comics. Surely not the style that IDW meant to evoke?
This is a series of massively missed opportunities. The Borg and Cybermen are hardly the most exciting adversaries in their respective franchises, and ironically the similarities that make their pact so likely in this story remove any real interest in the reader, once they’ve enjoyed a few mash up splash pages. The story’s climax even manages to make the battle of Wolf 359 seem incredibly pedestrian, an astonishing achievement by all concerned.
For me, the best issue in the series was the third, which related an earlier encounter between the Fourth Doctor and Kirk. With a beautiful 70’s comic book style, action and humour, this was everything the main tale should have been. For the most part Assimilation feels like a failed experiment, and it remains to be seen if sales figures will demand a return. If so, I’d like to see a less reverent approach to the material, that might even appeal to the casual reader. Both the Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise deserve something better than this.