Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who #1 by Scott & David Tipton, Tony Lee, & JK Woodward

Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 #1 (of 6)

Written by: Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee
Art by: J.K. Woodward
Lettered by: Shawn Lee and Robbie Robbins

Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Comixology

Been a few weeks since I’ve been able to do a review. Hectic work and school schedule mostly. Hopefully I will be back to writing my reviews and weekly release columns again soon. But, how can I pass up on reviewing the first ever crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who?

Summary (contains spoilers): The comic starts on the planet Delta IV, which is part of the United Federations. A peaceful day on the planet is interrupted when the Borg suddenly attack. But the Borg are acting much more aggresively than usual, not offering the Delta IV residents a chance to surrender. The reason for this is that the Borg are now working with the Cybermen!

Meanwhile, in ancient Egypt the Doctor and his two companions Amy and Rory Pond are riding a chariot with Egyptians soldiers in fast pursuit. The Doctor knocks an awning onto the soldiers in order to escape, and they reach the Pharoah’s palace. Inside, we find out the Doctor is chasing after the royal Vizier, who is really an alien prisoner who has escaped. The Doctor traps the alien in a crystal.

As they leave in the TARDIS, the Doctor looks into the crystal and seems to have a strange vision of the Borg and Cybermen working together. The TARDIS comes to an abrupt halt in San Fransisco in 1941. By the way, this scene contains a cool little easter egg. Tom Baker was the fourth actor to play the Doctor in the show’s 49 year history:

Not sure why they ended up here, the Doctor and his companions put on period appropriate clothes and walk into a local bar, where they find an “android in a pinstripe suit” AKA Data.

Review: Ever since Fallen Angel, I have loved J.K. Woodward’s art. His painted work here was the absolute perfect choice. The Doctor Who cast typically get drawn very cartoony in comics and don’t usually resemble the actors all that well. J.K. Woodward went the opposite way here; painting a very beautiful comic. There were panels in this book that were damn close to photorealistic. I definitely felt like I was looking at Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill, and Karen Gillan:

By the way, the Doctor Who geek in me is very curious if Amy’s first appearance in the comic covering her eyes was a call back to Karen Gillan’s first role in Doctor Who (she appeared in the season 4 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” long before she played Amy Pond).

One thing that did kind of bother me about this issue is that it was very Doctor Who heavy. Until Data (and I think Riker and Beverly Crusher) appear on the last page, I really felt like I was reading just a Doctor Who comic. Even in the earlier “Borg/Cybermen” appearances, we see a lot more of the Cybermen than we do the Borg. To me, the best part of The Next Generation was the terrific characters, so I was hoping to see a lot more of them in this issue.

But the more I thought of it, the more I figured that Doctor Who is less well known to an American audience, so maybe they were just trying to give the reader as much of an understanding of Doctor Who as they possibly could. And since the series is 8 issues, it is just as possible that the next issue will be primarily Star Trek: The Next Generation focused with the Doctor Who characters taking a smaller role. I don’t know Scott and David Tipton’s work all that well, but they seem to regularly write Star Trek comics for IDW, so they likely know these characters very well, so I am looking forward to seeing what they can do with both “crews.”

That said, the Doctor Who scenes in this book were very well done. The Doctor’s characterization was perfect. He was appropriately manic, heroic, and absent-minded. Rory and Amy were caught in his wake as usual, but still got some great moments to shine. I especially liked Rory’s comments about knowing how to drive a chariot. It was a great callback to Rory as the Last Centurion. It is easy to forget how much of a bad ass Rory can be, since the character is often downplayed.

I also think it was great to combine the Cybermen with the Borg. There really is a natural fit there, much more so than the Daleks would have worked with any Star Trek: The Next Generation villains. That said, I still hope the Daleks show up in some capacity in this story. I just want to see Worf ripping a Dalek apart, is that too much to ask for?

It did seem a little strange how the Doctor just happened to have a vision about the Cybermen and Borg, and the TARDIS just happened to drop them in the same place as Data, but to be fair, that kind of thing happens in Doctor Who all the time, so it barely registered to me the first time I read it.

All in all, I think this was a solid way to start the series. I do think it needed a little more Picard and Worf, but I am a huge Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn fanboy. But we have a lot of issues to go in this series, so I am definitely willing to be a little patient to see where this is going.

Final Score: 8.5 Gorgeous art and a near perfect portrayal of the Doctor and his companions. I definitely would have liked to see more Star Trek here, but the comic we got was a great start to this long awaited crossover.

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