My (mis)adventures in issue-buying continued as Issue 3 of Assimilation2 was released on the 18th. I thought they were coming out monthly and was expecting this to drop around the 25th and so minor panic ensued in the office when we realised yes, it was on sale today and we were all at work (they sell out quickly). Luckily I work with some pretty great people, as lunchtime saw Suki kindly make a dash to the local comic store to net us a couple of copies.
Picking up the end of issue 2 with the Enterprise surrounded by the Borg/Cybermen alliance crafts, a quick space chase ensues with the Enterprise taking refuge in the murky comforts of a nebula where their assailants are reluctant to follow. With it only being a matter of time before they are drawn out or followed, Picard is eager to learn who the Cybermen are and any possible motives for their teaming up with the Borg. To everyone’s surprise, the computer brings up a result on the Captain’s log, entered 100 years earlier by one James T Kirk. As Data begins to read aloud from the entry, the Doctor experiences a sudden and painful flashback.
The change of art, from J K. Woodward’s murky painting to the bright, stylised technicolour, signifies the change of time and era. It transpires that in stardate 3368, the Enterprise, on checking the status of a health facility with whom they had lost contact. Finding it controlled by metal beings -Cybermen- they are aided by a curly haired individual in an extremely long striped scarf and together overcome the threat. The mysterious curly haired indivdual disappears, leaving Kirk and the others no wiser as to the motives and origins of the cybermen.
It’s clear the Doctor is shaken by the flashback- he doesn’t recall meeting Kirk, or any of the events that have allegedly occurred until now. It would seem there is something very wibbly-wobbly going on with the space time continuum. Picard is also understandably unhappy with the chain of events: first an attack by the Borg with the strange Cybermen, then the Doctor coincidentally turning up on-board at the same time and to cap it all off, the emergence of a captain’s log detailing a time when both had met before. Determined to learn more about the situation before deciding on a course of action, Picard leads the Doctor to Guinan. . .
This issue seemed to zip past: it was fun and entertaining. Despite the Doctor doing his best to bring some levity to proceedings in the present, he’s struggles to break free from JK Woodward’s art, which suggest a severity of tone at odds with his dialogue. Conversely, there’s a natural banter and humour between Kirk and crew that lends itself very well to the day-glo pop art in the flashback sequence. Likewise, Tom Baker’s Doctor is a nice fit with Spock and co, who are unfazed by his quirkiness. The flashback itself is neatly constructed, simultaneously giving fans a pay-off , whilst being constructive to the story.
As much as I’m enjoying these, this issue should ideally mark the end of set-up narrative. Issue 4 will mark the halfway point in the series and with the Cyber/Borg army yet to be faced, things have to start moving a little speedier. Lots of questions need addressing: does the Doctor and Enterprise’s previous encounter with the Cybermen tie in with the current invasion- if so, how? How is it that a Time Lord, a traveller of ALL time and space is seemingly unaware of the galaxy, planets and peoples he is currently with? Why has he been unable to recall them until now? Hopefully Guinan will help provide some answers next time. Until then, two of my favourite moments from this issue:
Spock pondering a jelly-baby:
And Kirk karate-kicking a Cyber-man (to useless effect):
(review originally published at Forbidden Planet International Blog)