The Good: Most of the artwork, Plot progression, Resolution, Character
The Bad: Somewhat predictable and preposterous concept, Requires first book to truly understand
The Basics: Concluding the story from the first volume, Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 works hard to right both franchises and leads to one of the few sensible retcons for the Star Trek franchise . . .almost justifying itself!
As I have gotten more and more into the Doctor Who franchise, I have been getting more excited about products surrounding the long-running television show. While I’ve developed an antipathy toward many of the Doctor Who toys, I’ve been discovering that some of the writing surrounding Doctor Who is actually engaging and interesting. On the heels of Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 1 (reviewed here!), I picked up Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2. While much of the purpose of Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is to simply complete the story begun in Volume 1, Volume 2 does what it is supposed to, which is to justify the project’s existence and provide the character development that readers demand.
Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is a graphic novel, published by IDW that was published in 2013 and collates the final four comic books in IDW’s Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who crossover limited series. Set during the tenure of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) while Amy Pond and Rory Williams were his companions and set in the fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation prior to the episode “I, Borg” (reviewed here!), Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is essentially an alternate-universe story that explores the consequences of a team-up between the Borg and the Cybermen. By the end of the first volume, the Cybermen had betrayed the Borg and things were looking grim for the Star Trek universe.
As the Cybermen race toward the Borg Homeworld with the enslaved remnants of the Borg in tow, The Doctor fears that if the Cybermen successfully reprogram the Borg and their homeworld, every universe will fall under their control. Hot on their heels is the Enterprise and under the leadership of an entirely resistant Captain Picard. The Doctor tries to convince Picard that any allying with the Borg is the only hope they have to destroy the Cybermen. Rejecting his premise, The Doctor, Rory, and Amy show Picard and the Enterprise how the Cybermen’s success at converting the entire universe will be catastrophic. Despite empathizing with Picard’s antipathy toward the Borg after the story of his assimilation at their hands is revealed to the Doctor, the Doctor and his companions work to convince the Enterprise crew that the Cybermen are far worse than the Borg.
Coming around, the Enterprise crew allies itself with the last remaining vestige of the Borg Collective. One of Riker’s old friends speaks for the Borg as they reveal that the Cybermen were able to take control of the Borg by wiping out the Borg’s central library. The Doctor takes a small team to Wolf 359 where they must get an uncorrupted copy of the root library in order to restore the Borg and stop the Cybermen. In the process, the Doctor inadvertently helps to redefine the Borg in a way that will forever change the Star Trek Universe!
Oddly, the concept of Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is arguably only revealed as an afterthought in the book. The Doctor Who universe remains utterly unaffected by the book, but Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 seems to exist to justify the otherwise illogical and ridiculous initial conceit of Star Trek: First Contact (reviewed here!). While the Cybercontroller is an established part of the Doctor Who Universe, the Borg Queen was not part of the Star Trek Universe before Star Trek: First Contact, nor were they imaginative enough to actually conceive of time-travel. Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 seems to exist to change that.
Despite ultimately being a somewhat clever retcon (which most fans of the Star Trek franchise will not even see as legitimate), Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is only really average. The book does several things right. The writers get the voice of the Eleventh Doctor perfectly right, as well as that of Amy Pond and Commander Riker. The fact that the characters sound so much like the familiar characters fans love makes Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 a fast read that seems legitimate, even if it is something of a novelty for fans.
Most of the artwork in Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is excellent. The panels are like paintings and outside having similar artwork for Amy Pond and Dr. Crusher, all of the characters are distinctive and clearly representative of the characters they are supposed to be. The painting versions of the shots utilized from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes “The Best Of Both Worlds” Parts 1 and 2 look absolutely amazing.
While the Cybermen are non-entities in Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 and the plotline involving Riker’s assimilated friend is entirely unique to this book, the book does a good job of softening Picard up for his character development in “I, Borg.” Picard begins the story entirely carrying his anger and rage against the Borg, but in the process of Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2, he comes to accept that there are worse things than the Borg . . . and that not everyone has the strength he did to resist the Borg. The Eleventh Doctor in Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is largely just a facilitator to the plot, but at least he sounds right (he does not develop the way Picard has a character arc).
Ultimately, the second volume of the crossover is worth reading for those who began the story. Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2, Volume 2 is good, but now that there is a combined volume that puts all eight comics into one book, it is somewhat unnecessary. Even so, it is entertaining for fans of both franchises and that’s sometimes the most one can ask.
For other Star Trek: The Next Generation graphic novels, please visit my reviews of:
The Hero Factor
The Battle Within
The Star Lost
The Last Generation
The Best Of The Borg
For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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