Russell T. Davies said he always hoped to do a crossover between Doctor Who and Star Trek. But when Who finally came back to television in 2005, the last Star Trek series, Enterprise went off the air. Now, the dream of the Star Trek universe crashing into the Doctor’s has come true in comic book form. The eight-part IDW mini-series Assimilation2 (that’s assimilation squared) launched today with its first issue, and the Cybermen and the Borg have invaded Federation space!
The issue begins in the Star Trek universe, sometime during the Next Generation and/or early Deep Space Nine era. A Federation planet, Delta IV is under attack from a team-up of Borg and another “Cyborg” the Federation people can’t quite identify. The Deltans being attacked are all bald; leading a Star Trek fan to believe these are the same super-sexy pheromone-exuding Deltans to which Ilia (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) was also member. It also makes one wonder if the Deltan’s super-strong pheromones might be the least bit effective on a Borg or Cyberperson. But I digress.
Meanwhile, in Ancient Egypt, on Earth, the Doctor (the current 11th version), Rory, and Amy are flying down the road in a chariot. It’s unclear what the Doctor and the Ponds are initially doing in Egypt, until the trio makes their way to the “Pharaoh’s” throne room. After brandishing a sonic screwdriver and snapping off some very Doctor-ish comments it’s quickly revealed that the Pharaoh’s right hand man is really an alien in disguise. The Doctor explains the alien is a prisoner of some kind who escaped from a little green-glowing crystal-holding cell. After zapping the alien back inside the hand-held crystal, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are back in the TARDIS. As Rory hands the Doctor the crystal, the Doctor has an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style vision of the Cybermen and the Borg. The next second, the TARDIS is materializing in what seems to be 1941 San Francisco. Amy and Rory are immediately decked out in period dress and the three head to the local bar. Standing at the end of the bar are clearly Will Riker, Data and Dr. Crusher!
The Doctor was looking for something unusual, in his words: “Something unusual like that android in the pinstriped suit.” To Be Continued!
J.K. Woodward’s interior art is easily the best thing Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who comic crossover has going for it. The lush painting-style of each panel lends the story a surreal quality that an actual television or film crossover could never really pull off. The art and the writing accomplishes actual time travel; making us believe this crossover could take place. There’s something inherently dated about Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s beige 1990s color palette, making contemporary Doctor Who seem outrageously more hip in contrast. In fact, contemporary Doctor Who is more hip than Star Trek: The Next Generation ever was, owing in small part to the fact that Who has a slightly more well developed sense of humor these days than Star Trek did back in the 90s.
The choice to mash-up TNG with contemporary Who seems to be not one of a natural fit, but rather popularity. Like it or not, most hardcore sci-fi fans of the target age-group (25-40, I’m guessing) really regard TNG as the true Trek. Also, despite many of us still bemoaning the loss of David Tennant, in the wiz-bang world of Doctor Who, the Russell T. Davies episodes are already feeling retro, making the Matt Smith Doctor the populist choice. In terms of continuity of both shows, it’s too early to tell exactly where the story takes place, but I’d venture to guess it’s sometime in TNG’s 6th or 7th season (there’s a Deep Space Nine-style runabout, but still the “old” combadges), and perhaps in between season 5 and season 6 of contemporary Doctor Who (Amy and Rory are married, and Rory has been a Roman.) Whether or not the Doctor actually exists in the Star Trek universe, or the TARDIS has crossed over from another dimension also remains to be seen. The latter seems way more likely and easier from a writing standpoint, but it would be daring and interesting if writers Tipton, Tipton and Lee were able to convince us that the “great and bountiful human empire” was also somehow the Federation.
Ending the first issue with the TARDIS landing on what must be the holodeck is pretty cute, and a nice Doctor Who-ish way to have the main characters all meet. No one from the principle TNG crew has spoken yet, so it remains to be seen how all of them will interact. (Despite being on the cover, Picard does not appear, yet.) Overall, I can’t tell if the story will be satisfying, but right now the aesthetics are convincing enough to go along with the basic conceit.
And though I don’t think it will be likely, I’d really hoping the Doctor gets to have a debate with Q. Think of all that finger snapping.
Assmilation2 is out today from IDW. It’s written by Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee with art by J.K. Woodward.
Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He wrote a treatment for a Highlander/Star Wars mashup when he was 12.