So this is it – the big team-up between the universes of Trek and Who and a project held up to scrutiny well in advance of publication on fan sites and forums.
But does issue 1 of Assimilation2 – the eight-part comic-book series that sees Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor join forces with Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise team – actually work in practice?
Well, it’s hard to say at this stage seeing as this opening chapter by Scott and David Tipton and Tony Lee is basically a Doctor Who runaround romp with a Star Trek prologue thrown in for good measure. So far all we’ve witnessed of this epic crossover is an alliance between the story’s antagonists but precious little of what lies in store for the allies.
The first seven pages portray an attack on Delta IV (the home planet of the bald-headed aliens such as Ilia, the Enterprise navigator from Star Trek: the Motion Picture) that takes place sometime during the fifth season of Next Gen. And it’s here where we discover that the Borg and the Cybermen are now in cahoots, the latter having fully embraced the old “resistance is futile” catchphrase.
But before the 24th-century-set plotline can be advanced, we head back in time to Ancient Egypt where the Doctor, Rory and Amy take down an alien criminal who has escaped from an interdimensional prison cell.
Although the action here is swift and eye-catching, there is a bit of a tick-box mentality to proceedings – dialogue such as “I’m the Doctor” followed by “Doctor Who?!” may well tire those well-versed in the conventions of the show. There’s also a slightly static feel to JK Woodward’s artwork, which could be due to inspiration that looks to have come from publicity photos of the actors being represented.
But fear not because we’re soon off to 1940s San Francisco (or is it a holodeck representation of 1940s Francisco?), a period that comes complete with shops such as Tom’s Bakery (do you see what they did there?). The Tardis has been rocked by a sudden disturbance and the crew has landed in order to investigate.
Heading to a nearby bar, the Doctor immediately spots an android customer in a pinstriped suit who is…yes, you’ve guessed it, Data. And he’s not alone – joining him in conversation are two others who look like uncannily like Riker and Dr Beverly Crusher!
And it’s here that we leave Assimilation2, with gratification deferred for the most part until issue two. For those well schooled in such exercises in cross pollination, you’ll appreciate that we’re not quite at the Jessica Fletcher/Magnum PI stage just yet. The Doctor has yet to sit in the Captain’s chair on the bridge of the Enterprise, while Picard is still to be wowed by the dimensions of the Tardis.
But these moments will no doubt come, accompanied when they arrive by noisy fangasms that’ll put a tear in the space-time continuum. Until then, this opening salvo gives a decent taste of things to come – let’s just hope that the balance between the two sci-fi franchises is distributed a little more evenly as Assimilaton2 progresses.