Book: Star Trek Archives Vol 2: Best of The Borg
Genre: Graphic Novel/Science Fiction/Comic
Writers/Artists: Michael Jan Friedman/Peter Krause (Worse of Both Worlds – Collecting ST:TNG #47-#50); Paul Jenkins/Terry Pallot (Star Trek: Operation Assimilation)
Thickness: 160 pages
Tagline: “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships…”
In my ongoing vigil to avoid wastage of words, I took a mini break from regular novels and dived into one of the many graphic novels I plundered in this year’s Big Bad Wolf Sale. RM5 for a graphic novel? Unheard of!
Anyway, coming back to the review… one of the most appealing villains in the Star Trek Universe would be The Borg, so it’s no surprise that they managed to get a 4 issue arc that is collected in this volume. In addition, the volume also throws in a bonus story about the Borg’s invasion into Romulan space as well.
The Borg are a collective race of cybernetic organisms, with one intent of assimilating other organisms to become like them – perfection. They can adapt very quickly to all situations, heal and repair themselves and is linked in a neural manner across the collective. The favourite phrase that is most associated with the Borg is “Resistance is Futile”.
I have to admit that most of the ST storylines containing the Borg are pretty good and because of that, I had high expectations of this graphic novel. In addition, I thought it was fantastic that Friedman (who has written countless ST novels) agreed to write for the “Worst of Both Worlds” episode. It’s always a great credibility to a graphic novel or comic when a popular author is penning the script.
The “Worst of Both Worlds” story is a wicked spin off the excellent “Best of Both Worlds” two-parter from ST: The Next Generation TV series. The Best of Both Worlds saw the Borg abducting and assimilating Picard as ‘Locutus of Borg’ as they carried out their invasion plans of Earth. In the end, the enterprise barely but succeeds in rescuing Picard and stopping the invasion by issuing the correct command across the neural link via Picard.
Now, in the Worst of Both Worlds, the plot takes place several years later from the BOBW stardate. The action starts almost immediately when the Enterprise encounters a rift that hurtles them into another universe – one which the Borg’s invasion of Earth was a success and Picard remains as Locutus. They then run into the battle section of this universe’s Enterprise, with the saucer section apparently all but destroyed.
Reluctantly, Picard’s Enterprise agrees to help Captain Riker to rescue Picard/Locutus and stop the Borg in this universe, since they were able to succeed in our universe. There is also the element of time thrown into the fray as they need to stop the Borg and return to their universe before the rift closes…
Good stuff, excellent storyline and potential continuity plot following BOBW.
The second story, simply called Star Trek: Operation Assimilation tells the story through the eyes of a female Romulan leader as her crew encounters the Borg for the very first time. The story is short and simple – detailing how the Borg takes over an entire ship and the assimilation process.
Not much of a plot, but I’d like to think of this story as an added bonus to the superb WOBW story earlier catalogue in this volume.
Friedman doesn’t disappoint with the writing in WOBW. For those of you who still remember the BOBW storyline from the TV series, you’d enjoy the writing here even more because of the creative relational titbits and references it makes. For example, you could feel a sense of dejavu as the Enterprise tries out the same tactics they used in their own universe on the Borg of this new universe, with a few twists and surprises thrown in.
The action and flow is kept neat and crisp – something not easy to do in the limited pages of a comic book!
Unfortunately, ST:OA disappoints in terms of writing. It tries to be creative with the first person narrative, but eventually falls flat as the plot is simply flat and boring. The only thing that excited me was reading an encounter between the Romulans and the Borg for the first time!
It is sad to note that the artwork of the Star Trek comics failed to match up to the excellent script. It almost feels amateurish at times, but I guess it is not easy to find a regular artist for comics that appear on a monthly basis.
Which leaves me wondering what happened with ST:OA, since it was a one-off and the publishers could have put in more effort to make the art in this story better….unfortunately not.
Glue Factor (difficulty of putting the book down!)
It’s a comic book! And personally most, if not all comic books are made of glue! Not easy to put down as panels and panels of graphic moves the action along fast and furiously!
WOBW – Excellent story that could easily form the basis of a movie or screen episode.
ST:OA – Poor storyline featuring a Romulan’s encounter with the Borg. Only made the entire graphic novel feel thicker. Best part of this story? It’s short!