Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation2 Vol. 1

Star Trek: The Next Geneartion/Doctor Who Assimilation2 Vol. 1 is a crossover created by people who clearly love both Star Trek and Doctor Who. Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee catch everyone's voices; I could hear the characters speaking as Doctor McCoy grumbled, the Eleventh Doctor rattled through his speeches, Geordi commented on the technology, Guinan mused on the nature of time—all through the piece, through two Enterprises and two Doctors the pacing and word choice were right on track. J. K. Woodward's catches everyone, down to Riker's signature smirk(1).

Star Trek and Doctor Who are ripe for crossover work. Both feature explorers in space, and often time (there are always anomalies. Then, too, there is the undoubted(2) similarity between the Borg and the Cybermen. The two would think it was a good idea to put their cybernetic minds together to conquer the universe if they ever learned of each other. So, of course, in Assimilation2, they do, and the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory, and the crew of the Enterprise D have to work together to stop them, with a small detour to the past to see a time when the original Enterprise crew stopped a cyber-invasion with the help of the Fourth Doctor. This last puzzles the Doctor as, up until Geordi found the record in the ship's database, he didn't remember the event, and then he did: Time is changing, as Guinan confirms when the two meet. Guinan, by the way, puzzles the Doctor every bit as much as she should. It is a delightful conversation.

Other favorite moments of mine include Rory getting to use his Roman centurion skills while driving a chariot early in the book and the Doctor's delight in meeting Data for the first time. Here, he rattles on in characteristic fascinated-Doctor fashion until Amy reminds him he's being rude.

Woodward uses a painterly style in his art, providing small portraits of the familiar figures of all the crews. He's clearly spent some time looking at their varied expressions and gestures, so it is easy to transition from the television world to the comic book world. It's interesting that he chooses to use something of a 1960's comic book art style when he goes back to portray the first Enterprise's logs.

This is volume one of two, so of course it ends with a cliffhanger. I have volume 2 on hold at the library—so do a few other people. On the one hand, I always love it when other people use the library, on the other, I now have to wait to find out what happens next!
(1) Nothing against the character (not most of the time, anyway), but he does smirk.
(2) And probably not coincidental. I can't track down the interview(s) at the moment, but it's pretty clearly on record that the Borg were inspired by early Cybermen. I, for one, jumped up and down in great excitement and rewound multiple times to watch the Cybermen declare "To struggle is futile" in Tomb of the Cybermen when I watched it.

Hmm… I took the time to do a short search, and now I can only find people denying the similarity, which is weird. I thought it was known? And why would it be a problem to design one really creepy set of monsters that are rather like another? I thought it was homage (which is good) not mere copying (which is bad). Ok…that could be a real rabbit trail. Stopping now!

Who's Who
Writers: Scott Tipton, David Tipton, Tony Lee
Art: J. K. Woodward
Additional Art: The Sharp Bros. (Issue #3) and Gordon Purcell (Issue #4)
Cover: J. K. Woodward

Publication Details
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Published: October 9th 2012
ISBN 1613774036 (ISBN13: 9781613774038)

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