The sci-fi crossover everyone wanted has finally occurred–and we’re already up to issue 5. Assimilation 2 from IDW Publishing brings together two iconic franchises, both of which have been around since the 1960s. Neither of the sets of characters in this comic were around when these shows (Star Trek and Doctor Who) were first created; instead, we have the most recent iterations of the characters.
The backstory up until now: The TARDIS has materialized on board the Enterprise-D, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. For some reason, the TARDIS has managed to breach a universal barrier and arrive in a parallel world – the one containing the Federation. It appears that the barrier was breached when the Cybermen managed to work their way into the Trek universe and allied themselves with the Borg.
Yes, the Cybermen and the Borg.
With this breach, both universes are starting to merge. A previous issue has shown the 4th Doctor meeting the classic Enterprise crew under James T. Kirk. We see worlds that exist in both the Trek and Who universes appearing. A dimensional breach such as this seems to be courting some level of disaster for everyone.
But now to this issue… The story is not a strong standalone one, but is part of the series. It sets the tone for what is coming next in the story – that of the confrontation between the Enterprise/TARDIS crew and that of the Cybermen. The Doctor attempts to enlist the assistance of Picard to combat the evil of the Cybermen, but to do that they need to open discussions with the Borg, who themselves have been betrayed by the Cybermen. After his previous experiences with the Borg, who had turned him into Locutus, he has no desire to do any such them. It takes both the efforts of Amy Pond to convince Picard, as well as the Doctor violating one of the laws of time (which no longer seems to hold water in this merged universe) to show Picard what the future will be under the control of the Cybermen.
The story is written by Scott and David Tipton, who have written for IDW before. They are familiar with the characters, and actually are able to show their knowledge of both of the iconic universes with their references to the characters’ history in various story elements. This was not the most action-packed issue, but it was not meant to be; this was the issue of discovery and they were able to showcase Picard’s revulsion of wanting to elicit help from the Borg and the Doctor’s absolute surprise that Picard won’t use any means necessary to stop the inherit invasion.
The artwork, like other issues in this series, is nothing short of breathtaking. Gordon Purcell and J.K. Woodward have given the series a unique look and feel. The artwork is penciled by Purcell, who has a knack for getting the looks of the characters down pat. Add to that the painted artwork by Woodward, which gives the series a unique look and amazing depth to the characters. These 2 artists were destined to work together – it’s amazing combination of skill to make the series look as good as it does.
Although I cannot recommend this issue as a great issue to read on its own (it’s most definitely NOT a jumping-on point), it makes sense and enhances the story as part of the whole. Taken into its full context, this is a series that is worth picking up as a trade collection to get the entire story arc. Unfortunately, it’s only a mini-series that will soon be coming to an end. This is one fan who is hoping that IDW chooses to (and gets permission to) revisit this collaborative crossover using other Doctors and other vessels in the Trek universe, another time.