Book Review: Assimilation2 Vol. 1, by Tippton, Tippton, Lee, and Woodward

I have been waiting for this book since May, when I found out this bit of nonsense had been licensed. What has gotten me all excited? Assimilation2, a crossover comic between Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who, that’s what.

It’s like they found everything I loved about sci-fi and put it all together. I made a lot of high pitched “eeee” noises. Still, I have been patiently waiting for the trade paperback, because I hate storing single issue comics. Now it’s here and I am having a pretty big fangirl moment.

Assimilation2 Cover, showing Captain Jean-Luc Picard, a Borg, a Cyberman, and the 11th DoctorNow let’s talk real for a moment. Crossovers are frequently terrible. Perhaps I should have been worried about them screwing it all up. But really, I tend to view the auxilary comics and novels to a TV series as mildly more legitimate fan fiction, so my bar for what would pass and make me happy was at “pretty good fan fic” levels. The publisher, IDW, brought on Scott and David Tipton who have written quite a few Star Trek comics and Tony Lee, who is the current writer for the Doctor Who comics, which are none too shabby. The artist, J.K. Woodward, was a little more of an unknown element for me because I had never picked up the series he works on, Fallen Angel, to so much as look at it. My hope was not to be quashed.

And, lo, I am not disappointed. It is a great comic. The basic premise is that somehow the Borg and the Cybermen have managed to team up. They are causing mass panic, chaos, and disorder, like they do. The Doctor, with Amy and Rory in tow, accidentally lands the TARDIS inside the Enterprise’s holodeck during a Dixon Hill adventure. Once team TARDIS realizes that they aren’t in San Francisco, and the crew of the Enterprise realises that team TARDIS are not part of the holodeck freaking out, everyone teams up to fight the common foe. Characterizations are spot on, and for the most part, the pacing is fairly good, with a few wibbles early on.

Borgermen. Cyberman saying "Resistance is futile" while surrounded by Borg
Borgermen. Well, poop.

As an added bonus, the third issue collected in the volume has a flashback story with the TOS crew and the fourth Doctor (the Sharp Brothers contributed to the artwork). It comes complete with retro-style cybermen. It’s probably my newest favorite thing ever.

Captain Kirk kicks a retro Cyberman (Clang!) while the 4th Doctor throws water on a Cyberwoman to short-circuit her.
Does this not just fill a hole in your life that you didn’t even know was there?

I am not wholly without complaints, mind you. As I mentioned before, there are a few pacing issues. The story opens with two mini stories about each group to help establish them before they meet each other and the TNG story dragged a little. There’s also a good five pages of the Doctor chatting with Guinan that needed to be a little shorter. Also, while I’m sure that juggling two show’s worth of characters is massively unfun, the side characters seemed a little underutilized. This is really noticeable with the Ponds, because while I will more or less accept that any TNG character not currently present probably has a job they are doing, I am really curious about the Ponds’ off-panel activities.

The one thing that threw me the most though was the fact that the art kinda took a nosedive in the final issue. It got a lot less defined and a lot more rough looking. It looks unfinished to me, particularly if you compare it to the earlier sections of the book where the art is much tighter. (On a side note, as a matter of personal preference I like the highly graphic style of the Smith Brothers’ art rather a bit more, so I may be more sensitive to this than others)

Panels from the last volume; artwork is a lot rougher than before (text too small to read)
Is it just me or do Amy and the Doctor look like they aren’t totally done yet? Also what is going on with Amy’s leg?

Of course my biggest complaint is that I have to wait until January for volume 2 to find out what happens next!

By Opifex

Opifex is a former art student, unrepentant nerd, and occasional annoying liker of things before they were cool. She keeps two sets of polyhedral dice in her purse, in case the first set stops being lucky. That's kind of how she rolls.

2 replies on “Book Review: Assimilation2 Vol. 1, by Tippton, Tippton, Lee, and Woodward”

Ha! My boyfriend found an issue of this in the Lonely Planet, almost ran over to me while screaming happily (he an insane Trekkie, me the TrekWho hybrid) to show it.

He finished it that night, while I ..kinda forgot about it. Oops, bad fan. Shame about the rough art though, really like my comic art well defined.

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