Where we look at this past week’s comic offerings, courtesy of the independents. Includes ADVENTURE TIME #6, STAR TREK: TNG/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION 2 #3, and THE STRAIN #6. There’s more than one time machine, William Shatner meets Tom Baker, and old people are still badass.
Let’s start with ADVENTURE TIME #6, easily the most episodic of the series thus far. It also involves a time machine.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Ready? Cool.
Princess Bubblegum invents a freakin’ time machine, which is more like a reset button than anything. Obviously its principle use would be to return to an earlier point in time (roughly the moment the machine was made), so the user can try again with the powers of hindsight. As you can imagine, tomfoolery ensues. That’s about it. What? It’s technically a kids comic, what do you want from me?
The backup plot is called “Level 99”, brought to us by Anthony Clark. Once again, the backup story in the weakest, though it’s by no means bad. Finn has trouble beating the last level of a video game, and Jake tries to cheer him up. It ends badly.
Next is STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION 2 #3, which continues to give longtime fans of both franchises nerd aneurisms. This time, by flashing back to a time when the crew of the original Enterprise captained by James T. Kirk meet with the fourth Doctor and fight the old style Cybermen in an event curiously never mentioned until now.
And if you know nothing of Doctor Who, the term “fourth Doctor” should be as confusing as the entirety of “Doctor Who and the Daleks” is to longtime fans.
See, the character of The Doctor isn’t just a time-traveling alien in a police box, he’s also an alien with an ability unique to his species: regeneration! Established early in the show’s history when the first actor playing The Doctor wanted to move on to other things, the character can, when injured or near death, completely regenerate his body. This results in a new appearance and a modified personality, making a new version of the Doctor whenever a cast change must occur. As you can imagine, this was a stroke of genius on the part of the creators, and allowed Doctor Who to continue for decades without hiccup (at least from a character and casting perspective).
In the case of the fourth Doctor, actor Tom Baker portrayed the character longer than any other. Because of this, Baker is easily the most iconic Doctor in the franchise, especially among those in America where he was the first Doctor many in this country ever knew. As such, while he isn’t the “original” Doctor, he’s easily the one most analogous to the first crew on Star Trek. And thus the fans rejoiced.
And yes, The Doctor offers the away team jelly babies. Spock found them fascinating.
The plot mostly revolves around the Doctor (that is the current Eleventh Doctor played by Matt Smith) being struck with recollections of a time when, as an earlier scarf-wearing Time Lord, he met Kirk and crew and helped them save a Federation outpost from a group of Cybermen. Cybermen who, it must be said, bear a resemblance to their early incarnations in classic Doctor Who serials. So to recap, we have the original Star Trek cast teaming up with THE classic Doctor Who to fight early model Cybermen, all while the art is rendered in a simpler, less photo realistic style compared to the rest of the miniseries.
Sounds like a nerd party to me. Break out the Klingon brand vodka and jelly babies kids! Oh wait, I already referenced the jelly babies.
All this amounts to two things: 1) taking the nerd awesome levels of this comic Up To Eleven, and 2) illustrating how the continuities of these two series appear to be intersecting, despite clearly not having happened anywhere near the same universe. And that reality seems to be changing, though how and why is not clear.
Last on the list is THE STRAIN #6. With old man Abraham’s backstory in Nazi Germany finished, he finally meets up with Doctors Goodweather and Martinez after the two bail him out of jail. And so begins even more not-boring-in-the-slightest backstory from my new favorite character, Abraham Setrakian: Vampire Slayer.
According to him, ancient vampire lords have remained out of human sight, feeding in secret and protecting themselves by wise habits. Like not going on killing sprees or letting the turned dead walk free. But one vampire lord, The Master (not that Master, though it would make the DW trifecta complete) says nuts to those rules, and aims to start a vampire war and spread his strain of the vampire plague to the entire world.
And now the title of the series makes more sense, am I right?
So the only recourse is to halt the outbreak while it remains relatively small, and foil the Master’s plans. This is proving, however, to be much more difficult than it seems, for multiple reasons. In between these parts are scenes with other characters, like the humans in league with The Master plotting, and a deeply religious woman dealing with her turned husband she has chained in a shed. Oh, and old man Abraham gets to prove that, even as an aged holocaust survivor with a cane, he’s still a badass. You ever try decapitating someone with one swing?
It isn’t easy.
Next time, we’re looking at the first issues of two new series. One a spinoff to a series shown here, the other the third in an old publisher’s rebirth.