Battlestar Galactica

Collects the Battlestar Galactica issues 0-12 and the Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus one-shot.

Writer: Greg Pack (the Returners) and Brandon Jerwa (the Pegasus)
Artists: Nigel Raynor, Jonathan Lau
Publisher: Dynamite

The collection has two different stories which are sent at different points in the time line. The Returners is set during season two but before Pegasus shows up. The Pegasus one-shot is set before the TV-show starts and it’s also wildly inconsistent with canon. In it Admiral Caine and her crew meet and fight the cylons before the show.

I think the Returners is my favorite storyline from all of the Galactica comics I’ve read. It has a lot of the same elements as the TV-show itself: human drama between the characters and between the cylons, and action.

Galactica and the civilian fleet come to ship graveyard full of earlier spaceships which destroyed each other in a war between the humans. They find a old medship which is on fire but full of people, people who have died years ago. One of them is Adama’s younger son Zak and another is Dualla’s brother. Galactica sends a team to investigate. Adama is convinced that this just a cylon trick but many of the humans think that it’s a sign from the gods. Apparently, there’s a prophecy that dead people will return. So, some of the Returners manage to get to the civilian fleet and disappear there. Then a strange illness strikes down most to the people, including almost all of the Viper pilots and other soldiers. Of course, the cylons attack. At the same time Adama and Roslin are trying to deal with a group of human terrorists who think that they’re protecting Earth from the cylons by preventing the fleet from finding Earth.

This story has pretty intense scenes between the three Adamas. Also, one of the Returners has a young kid who is convinced that the Returner is her dad and not a cylon. Once again, Adama has to make difficult decisions.

The Pegasus follows Admiral Caine. The battlestar has just returned from a months long mission but the admiralty sends it immediately to another mission. Unfortunately for Caine, that means that 90% of the Vipers are offloaded before she’s sent into a potentially volatile situation. I liked this as a character piece for Caine but otherwise it was remarkably stupid.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the art this time either. Sharon and the older Adama are about the only ones who looks like themselves. Still, I think this is the best one for any Galactica fan to pick up.

Collects Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War issues 1-4

Writers: Joshua Ortega, Eric Nylund
Artists: Nigel Raynor

This series explores the beginnings of the human/cylon hostility. It starts before the first Cylon war, 40 years before the beginning of the re-imagined TV-series. The series was written before the Final Five were revealed and has some continuity problems, such as showing Pegaus constructed at the same time as Galactica.

The series focuses on Ben Tanner and his robot Isak. At the start of the series, Ben is shown being a little uncomfortable around Isak but he starts to rely on Isak more and more as the story goes on. When Caprica and Sagittarion start a war over technology (the Sagittarions don’t want it – except for the big space ships to carry their trade goods) Ben joins the Academy and is soon aboard one of Caprica’s military space ships fighting the Sagittarions. However, the war is costly and Ben is commanded to find a way to make the robots fight it. The robots have been programmed not to kill humans, under any circumstances, and it turns out that it’s very hard to change that programming. In fact, nobody can do it until Isak has to save Ben from certain death by overriding his program and killing the soldiers who threaten Ben.

The series attempts to give answers to why the Cylons rebelled in the first place and also why they believe in one god. The story itself is entertaining if somewhat predictable.

I have some problems with the way that Isak just took a look at some of the Colonies’ religious symbols and was able to “deduce” that it all points to just one, all-powerful god instead of the many which the symbols are supposed to represent. Apparently he also deduced that humans must be killed… because humans are destroying creation itself. I’m sorry but what?? So, more death will save the universe?

I have a feeling that the story could have been better if it had been longer. Four issues is rather a short time to tell the story of the First Cylon war.

Collects the miniseries Season Zero issues 0-12. The story line starts two years before the miniseries which launched the TV-show and ends just before it starts.

Writer: Brandon Jerwa
Artists: Stephen Segovia, Jackson Herbert, Charles Carvalho, Chris Bolson
Publisher: Dynamite

This series explores the corruption inside the Colonial military.

The series starts with Adama taking command of Galactica. He and the ship are set on their first mission together. An expedition fleet ship has gone mission on the Neutral Space between Human and Cylon borders and Galactica is sent took find it. The ship is commanded by former Admiral Julian DiMarco. Adama used to serve under him and thinks highly of him. When the ship’s transponder signal is found from a planet Adama himself leads the rescue mission (of marines) down to the planet. The team finds a group of humans and DiMarco but before Adama can demand answers, Cylon centurions attack.

After the attack, DiMarco tells Adama that the Expedition Fleet turned out to be just a cover for Black Ops missions and that when they found this planet, DiMarco was ordered to bomb it. He didn’t find out until later that there was a small but thriving separatist settlement on the planet and that the bombing killed all of them. DiMarco is depressed and fatalistic but Adama swears that he will get to the bottom of it. Adama was supposed to take DiMarco and his crew back to answer false charges but Adama allows them to stay on the planet. This decision will come back to haunt him.

In the next issues, Colonial Intelligence agent Nolan comes aboard and essentially takes control of Galactica. At first he seems to have legal authority but that isn’t the case. Nolan put Adama and Tigh into the brig but Galactica’s crew fights Nolan’s orders covertly.

In later issues we see Adama trying to get the Admirals to take responsibility for destroying that settlement and running other Black Ops that the citizens would likely not approve of. The Admirals in turn try to blacken Adama’s reputation by using Starbucks, and other pilots’, bad behavior as an example of how Adama fails as a leader. We also see some citizens rallying against the Colonial Government and calling for a governmental reformation. One reporter notes that this the first time that the government has allowed such an open demonstration.

In tone, this series is quite different from the show because the enemies are other humans, terrorists and rebels, instead of Cylons, even though we get to see some of the human Cylons plotting. The Colonies are shown as far from perfect. We got to see some of that in the show, too, but here it’s very clear.

I rather enjoyed this series even though it contradicts some canon. The most obvious error, or change, is that Adama and some of his people see the new Cylon centurions on the Neutral Space planet even though it’s said in the series that humans haven’t seen any Cylons in 40 years.

I also enjoyed the art more than in the Origins series. Here the characters are clearly recognizable. I would recommend this to fans of the show who want to see more of the Colonies.

Collects Battlestar Galactica Origins issues 1-11 and Zarek 1-4

Writers: Brandon Jerwa, Seamus Kevin Fahey, Clay Carmouche, Robert Place Napton
Artists: Adriano Batista, Jonathan Lau

This series focuses on some of the (main) characters of the TV-series. It was apparently written before the final season of the show. But even so, there are some continuity problems in it and I think the stories here must be an alternate vision of the characters. The stories aren’t bad but they aren’t particularly great, either.

However, my biggest complaint is the art. Perhaps I’m the last one to moan about it, but this comic is based on TV-show where the actors are quite recognizable. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recognize the characters in the comic. For example, the Cylon women don’t look like the actresses and even worse, they look exactly the same. The only way to recognize the characters is when someone calls them by the name. Argh!

Zarek’s story starts the collection. I thought it was the most interesting one. I don’t think it was ever stated in the series what Zarek actually did, just that he was either a terrorist or a freedom fighter, depending on you point-of-view. Here we’re shown the terrible conditions that some of the Sagittarions must labor under, as pretty much slaves. They don’t have sick days and they don’t make enough money to buy medicine once the work makes them sick. Zarek’s parents went into politics to change things but even in some 20 years, the workers’ conditions didn’t really change. When Zarek’s mother is murdered, he turns into terrorism.

Zarek is shown as a brilliant manipulator and a very charismatic leader who can even turn jaded prisoners into his followers and essentially take over the prisons where he’s sent. The only thing which I found to be very strange was a scene where president Adar and education secretary Roslin are meeting with Zarek. So Roslin met Zarek before the war? Just no.

Then it’s Baltar’s turn. The story follows him from his childhood in a farm on Aerilon to the Cylon attack. Throughout the comic he’s arrogant and self-absorbed, just as the TV-version.

It seems that the Cylons have been influencing him long before the attack. Caprica Six and the other Cylons scheme to get Baltar appointed as the Director of the Navigational Program project. The human Cylons have apparently captured quite a few humans and done some hideous research on them right in the heart of Caprica City. I found this problematic. The story also gives Baltar a family which is never mentioned in the series.

Next up is Commander Adama’s story. I enjoyed this one the most and I think it most closely follows canon. It even has scenes which were seen as flashbacks in the series (some as deleted scenes on the DVD) where Adama meets Tigh and when they work together.

The story starts with Adama as a young, hot-shot pilot on his first mission which goes wrong and haunts him for the rest of the series. We’re also shown how the armistice with Cylons causes many of the officers to be mustered out of the military because the military budget was cut. (I’ve sometimes wondered why the Colonies would bother to fund the building of battlestars if they don’t have an enemy to fight.) Then Adama meets his wife and has the boys. But soon his wife starts to resent Adama’s devotion to the Fleet and their relationship sours. The rest of the story is quite sad and right before the ceremony Adama is thinking of resigning which doesn’t really fit my idea of Adama.

Otherwise, the story was good. However, for a while Adama’s commanding officer was Captain Alexa Caine, Helena’s mother, which felt more than a bit forced.

The last story stars Starbuck and Helo. They met as cadets. Helo tries to help Kara a bit and she rejects every kind of help fiercely. Then they are sent on their first mission together. It goes wrong, of course, and they start their friendship when they try to struggle back to civilization.

Starbuck is even angrier in this comic than in the series. She obviously has a lot to prove to herself and she takes it out on everyone around her. Helo is his understanding and patient self. Unfortunately, there are still moments which I think are wildly out of character, such as when it’s suggested the Kara and Karl had sex. They also come into contact with Cylon prisoners who almost tell them about the human Cylons.

It seems that I’m (once again) picking on the faults. However, I did enjoy these stories even though I can’t really consider them canon.

Collects issue 1-4 of the miniseries.

Writers: Seamus Fahey, David Reed
Artists: Nigel Raynor, Ivan Nunes
Publication year: 2009
Publisher: Dynamite

The miniseries gives an alternate interpretation of how Final Five started. The story starts in Kobol, 4,000 years before the fall of the Twelve Colonies in the hands of the cylons. Kobol is in turmoil. The seer Pythia is telling the people that they have to change their government. Currently they have thirteen tribes with delegates in the Quorum. Pythia says that the divine messengers are telling her that they should unite into one tribe and get rid of their idols and temples. However, she’s sentenced to die for her heresy. We see that Caprica Six is apparently this “messenger” because her image is reflected in a pool of water when Pythia is in the maniac asylum. Michael Tigh visits Pythia in the asylum and he’s clearly in love with her. Tigh turns out to be the delegate of the Thirteenth Tribe in the Quorum. When he gets out of the Quorum hall, a mysterious figure kill him. Then Michael Tigh awakes aboard a resurrection ship. Apparently, the thirteenth tribe are humans who have learned the secrets of resurrection.

However, that has brought on some problems: their death aren’t considered crimes because they aren’t really dead and they’ve become infertile.

Members of the thirteenth tribe are rioting on the streets in order to get their humans rights back while other tribes consider them heretics and plant bombs on the resurrection facilities. Oh, and the members of the thirteenth tribe are atheists which is, of course, their greatest crime.

I was a bit confused when I read the first comic. I was trying to figure out which of the final five are which and why is Saul Tigh called Michael Tigh. Turns out, he isn’t; this is a generation before our familiar Galactica characters. Michael is Saul’s father and of course they have a very strained relationship. However, three of the five are seen only briefly, most of the plot revolves around Ellen and Saul Tigh. Also, I can’t figure out just what the blazes Caprica Six is doing there? She seems to be in heads of people who’ve never seen her in real life – long before her model even existed.

Other than that, I really like the idea that the final five started out as humans are therefore really different from the metal cylons. In this comic, the final five built the other human models and aren’t really “related” to the metal cylons at all.