The final issue of the long-awaited miniseries from IDW has finally arrived! Issue #8 of Star Trek : The Next Generation / Doctor Who : Assimilation2 is here. A crossover like this is no longer just the domain of fan faction; it’s happened from a company licensed by both properties to make it happen!
To recap very quickly:
- Dimensional rift.
- Cybermen came through to Federation universe.
- TARDIS detects something strange and materializes on holodeck in Federation universe.
- Awkwardness as the holodeck is turned off and Doctor et al remain.
- Discovery of teaming up of Borg and Cybermen.
- Cybermen turn on Borg.
- Borg propose alliance with Federation and the Doctor to stop Cybermen.
- Picard balks but agrees once he sees the future after a ride in the TARDIS.
- Secret mission planned to take out the Cybermen.
OK, we’re all caught up. This issue takes place during said secret mission. Amy and Rory Pond join Worf and a security detail in distracting and disabling the Cybership. Their goal is to take the ship out of warp so that the Enterprise can catch up.
In the meantime, the Doctor, Picard, Data and a Borg representative attempt to find the Cyber-Controller. They get found out, though, as the Cybermen are expecting them. They capture Picard and the Doctor to be upgraded – something Picard recalls all too well – but decide to scrap the Borg drone. They aren’t sure what to make of Data as he is already fully cybernetic so decide to take him to the Cyber-Controller for a decision. Before that happens, though, the ship is attacked…
…By the Enterprise! A particle beam infused with gold stops the Cybermen before they can take the group to the Cyber-Controller. (You Whovians remember that gold is the only thing that can stop a Cyberman, right? It gums up their circuitry. At least it does your classic Cybermen…) The gold particles short circuit the Cybermen allowing Picard et al to roam free. (The only really confusing bit here is where Picard gets a mask to allow him to breathe properly without worrying about the gold particles…)
The Doctor leads the group to the Cyber-Controller where a final confrontation is about to occur. Combined with Borg technology, the Cyber-Controller attacks the Doctor but is held back by Data and the Borg drone. The Doctor removes the leader’s chest plate and uses the circuitry to wire the drone back into the Borg Collective and restore it. However, with the destruction of the controller, the ship is ready to fall apart so the group hightail it back to the TARDIS and rendezvous with Worf and the Ponds. They dematerialize just as the Cyberships explode.
The group watch the ships destruct on the monitor, with Picard shedding no tears for what he has witnessed (in the same way he shed no tears for the Borg in the past). However, with the collective restored, the tentative truce is off. The drone has wired himself into the TARDIS and is using the connection to learn the secrets of time travel. With that knowledge, the Borg could travel to the past and assimilate all worlds before they become a threat. Data attempts to interced but is grabbed by the drone… and as he does so, is invaded by an incredible energy.
For those non-Whovians out there, the TARDIS is (more or less) alive. And it has a spiritual energy that can be transferred. We saw this happen when Rose Tyler absorbed the soul of the TARDIS and we saw it happen when the soul of the ship was torn from it in The Doctor’s Wife. This energy empowers Data, who tears the physical connections between the console and the drone, disconnecting the Borg from absorbing the data. Worf and Rory work in unison to open the TARDIS door and throw the drone out into the vortex. Without shielding, the vortex will tear the Borg apart. But it appears he was connected long enough to the TARDIS to transmit information back to the collective so, even though all traces of the Doctor’s intrusion into that universe begins to fade, those who experienced it will remember… and the Borg share everything.
Writers Scott and David Tipton formulated a great story here that brought the 2 universes together. It was not too long, but not too short. They chose a time in the TNG era that made sense – during the TV series where the reader would know the characters. That meant Riker and Troi were still on board, Worf was still security chief (so this is before he went to DS9), and Geordi still had his visor. By finding a time like that to include it, it at least gave some context since the show has been off the air for some time, whereas Matt Smith is still the Doctor today.
Although the writing was good, the art is phenomenal. Gordon Purcell’s pencils covered up by J.K. Woodwards painted art was astounding. Most of the characterizations were great, especially Worf, but their interpretation of Rory Williams/Pond was eery how well it was done. Although this book could have gotten by with your typical pencils and coloring, the book became exceptional with the painted artwork. Without it, I don’t think the experience would have been as good.
This was a great conclusion to a great story. There were a few things left open – by intent – in order to draw the reader back, but that’s not a bad thing. That leaves the door open for another series if it works out that way, but also for some other interesting stories with the Borg in the TNG universe. If you haven’t gotten these issues, I recommend the trade which I am fairly confident in saying should be out early next year. This is also a must-have for any Doctor Who fan as the show enters its 50th year…