by Marc Guggenheim (writer), Cezar Razek (illustrator), Joseph Rybandt (Editor)
The Story: In the first issue, the Battlestar Galactica, after a generation of looking for Earth, found it. However, unlike in the TV series of the same name, the Galactica did not turn aside to lead the Cylons away. They brought the Galactica down around the White House, where it was nuked out of the sky. Issue #2 is the fallout (no pun intended) as Dr. Zee takes command of the colonial fleet. Baltar makes an appearance too, which won’t be good news for anyone.
What’s Good: This is not your dad’s Galactica 1980, which was slotted into a 7pm, Sunday night timeslot. It couldn’t deal with any serious themes and settled for vanilla-flavored explorations of colonial pilots discovering the complexities of baseball and payphones. This is a much more realistic treatment of first contact, driven by the flaws of human leaders (colonial, as much as American and Soviet) and poor individual, as well as collective, decision making. It is not that people are more shortsighted in the comic than in real life. It is that Guggenheim has made the characters in the book exactly as shortsighted as the people in real life. This account of the tragic first contact between the different brothers of man inspires pain and regret. Good work!
Guggenheim introduces some other nice touches, including a nod to the new Battlestar Galactica. Dr. Zee’s first name is Gaius, and that symbolism tells us a bit about the role he will play in the unfolding disaster. The recognition of the colonial language as being related to Aramaic was clever, as was the appearance of the sycophantic transparent-headed Cylon model whose classical name escapes me.
Razek was effective on the art side, most especially on the Cylon base stars, the colonial vipers, the Rising Star, the view of Moscow and the star scapes. The facial expressions were also very good. Colors, lighting and shadows were all well done.
What’s Not So Good: While Guggenheim is basing much of the first contact disaster on human failings, I think some people were a bit quick on the draw, including the council of twelve and Adama. This sense of overreaching was slight, but it did get in the way of the fullest possible enjoyment. A little more setup or motivation would have worked better. On the art side, while the environmental and facial work was effective, Razek’s postures sometimes seemed a bit artificial.
Conclusion: The original Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980 had some really great core ideas. Battlestar Galactica chucked everything and got a reboot on TV. Galactica 1980 is keeping its history and rebooting at the point of first contact. So far it’s a great ride.
Grade: C+ if you are not an original Galactica fanboy, B if you are.