*Review written by contributor Lido Giovacchini
Dynamite’s Battlestar Galactica has always baffled me as a choice of comics, though to be fair most of Dynamite’s choices of intellectual property seem more based on price then popularity. No offense meant to Dynamite, they put out some fine comics and I respect them immensely it’s just that aside from myself and maybe a few others I really don’t know how much call there was for a classic series Battlestar Galactica revival. In any case that’s exactly what we got and what I’ve chosen to review today with Battlestar Galactica issue 4. For those of you who maybe only know the reboot series or have never heard of Battlestar Galactica at all it was a scifi action TV show in the late 70s with a pretty clever pitch for the time. The basic idea ran off the then unknown concept of the alien astronauts theory, that as the show put it at the beginning of every episode “life here…began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have bee the forefathers of the Egyptians” (fun little trivia note the show’s opening narration actually name drops Lemuria meaning it could be considered in cannon with Conan.) Anyway that’s the basic set-up for the universe; out amongst the stars there is a human confederation of twelve colonies for each of the twelve zodiac signs, they were for a long time at war with an enemy who is the only reason you maybe know the show at all: the Cylons.
On the eve of a peace between the humans and the Cylons the humans were betrayed by long time series villain Baltar and the Cylons destroyed the human colonies and their fleet, now under the command of General Adama on the last remaining human battlestar (think big spaceship) the Galactica, the rag tag fleet of survivors makes for a mythical thirteenth colony: Earth. The original series is pretty fun for its one season run and later spawned a sequel show in 1980 which is horrible (and kind of in cannon with this comic so.)
That’s actually the big reason I’ve had to give as much back-story as I have for this review is that Battlestar Galactica continuity is incredibly inaccurate; with countless comic continuations, extended universe novels, fan edits and such all of dubious continuity so it’s hard to tell what exactly this new comic is counting as part of the series whole. This problem is compounded by Battlestar Galactica the new comic featuring a time travel plot and no plot recaps to the point where you can’t even risk missing 1 issue or else become severely lost in following the plot. As far as I can tell the plot of the issue finds Apollo and Starbuck (the series two main heroes) launched into some kind of “Days of Future Past” type future where Cylon domination has pushed the humans to the brink of destruction.
That’s one thing I find infuriating about the comic is there really are the seeds of a great book here (much like the show in that regard) but the story telling is hampered by the pacing and refusing to keep the reader up to speed on what is happening. The plot of the book moves along like a racecar while at the same time featuring some needlessly padded and elongated talky scenes between characters that really don’t help explain the situation. More then that though I feel myself drawn back to my original point about a making an original series Battlestar Galactica comic in just how may of the big important reveals and events of the book hinge on you knowing certain characters or facts about the series. For instance a minor reveal of the issue is that future Starbuck (oh yeah there’s a fat, bearded future version of Starbuck who controls the Galactica in this comic, which again contradicts the books’ own cannon) has in his possession an Imperious Leader model Cylon and I really wonder how many readers know what an Imperious Leader model Cylon is or what that even means as it’s not really explained anywhere in the book and unless you’ve seen the original show you won’t know.
Battlestar Galactica’s artwork is more then a little mixed as well, Cezar Razek does a commendable job with scenes when he’s drawing everything the same size and scale with some really good artwork early on of Cylon death camps but when asked to give the reader scale for space ships or celestial bodies things tend to end up scrunched in together which is a big problem for a space book. Overall Battlestar Galactica is more maddening then anything else, the spirit of an epic story is in here in the vein of great time travel stories like Days of Future Past or Back to the Future 2 but it’s been buried under poor pacing and bad exposition with mediocre artwork not helping anything. I’d give this issue a miss, sorry to say.