July 18, 2012

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Star Trek The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation 2 Issue 2

Written by Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee
Illustrated by J. K. Woodward
IDW

As the Enterprise crew handles a routine issue--for them--at a dangerous Federation outpost, they receive a set of very intriguing guests...the Doctor and his companions!  While these two iconic teams try to understand each other, they come face to face with two of the biggest threats the universe has ever known.  It's trouble times two in the second issue of Assimilation Squared!

I wrote about the first issue for Newsarama, and I was really excited at how the premise was being set up.  This issue is not quite as good, unfortunately.  Though I really liked--and continue to like--the take on Matt Smith's Doctor, the cast of Next Gen seems a bit stolid in their approach and execution.  They feel more like the first season versions of their characters, even though by my guess, this is set somewhere after the middle of the run.  There's definitely a sense that they know of the Borg, but I don't see this as the team that's already wrestled with them and nearly lost Picard in the process.  Unfortunately, the writing trio doesn't seem to be portraying them quite as smoothly as I'd like to see, though it's early yet.

On the other hand, the Doctor's lines really sing and every moment he's on the page are a highlight of the issue.  He's obviously concerned about remembering and not remembering anything about the Enterprise (setting up what I am sure is going to be a flashback where an earlier incarnation of the Doctor meets Star Trek, perhaps the original cast) but hides it behind the irreverent humor and impishness that Smith's Doctor excels at.  I also love that Worf gets the patented "would you shut up?" line.

This issue is mostly a holding pattern, setting events in motion and establishing the cast of the Enterprise for those who are Who fans only.  Unlike the first issue, the main action comes last, and is very brief.  The detail with the fish-people just doesn't do much for me, feeling like it was a paint-by-numbers way to talk Federation policy.  More interesting is the exchange between Data and LaForge, who both can be used as examples of merging the human with the machine if done right.  I was also a bit crushed that the San Fran setting was merely a holodeck.  Overall, I am hoping the story takes an uptick in issue three.

While I liked J.K. Woodward's art in the first issue, he seems to struggle a bit in this part of the story.  His characters were very lifelike in the first issue without feeling photo-referenced.  That's still the case with the Doctor, but there's just a bit too much posing going on, especially in relation to Riker and Picard.  They look just a bit too much like promo shots for my taste.  Similarly, Amy and Rory kind of stare out at the reader rather than move with the life both exhibit on the television show.  As with the story itself, I'm hoping this was just  glitch.

Star Trek The Next Generation/Doctor Who issue two was a bit of a letdown, but there's plenty of time for it to be everything this fan of both series wants it to be.  Issue #3 is out today, so look for it on your digital devices/comics store.