In Review: Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #2

This sparked so many memories and created some new ones. Worth the cubits it costs!

The covers: A quartet of covers for you to spend your cubits on. The A image is by Mike Mayhew. It’s a pretty powerful illustration of Starbuck standing upon several Cylons’ bodies, holding his gun in one hand, the severed head of a Cylon (complete with sparking wires) high in the other, while screaming in rage. This excellently captures this man’s anger at the death of his friend. Dietrich Smith does the B cover. What a terrific, almost Biblically inspired, cover. Apollo has his arms at his side, blood spilled from his fallen body — it lies above and below him. Athena, Adama, Tigh, and Starbuck are at his feet. A gigantic hand is behind all of them, its fingers touching five points on a screen. Forming the background is a repeated numerical sequence: 441:334:112:198. The coloring is dynamite with Apollo standing out in red above all the blues. The C cover is by Livio Ramondelli and it’s a beautiful cover of a horrific event. Three Colonial Vipers are falling, flames streaking off each as they plunge to their destruction. The background mirrors the horror with dark clouds ready to release a shower of tears for their passing. Very well done! The final cover, the D, is by Ardian Syaf. A bust shot of Apollo looks serious as something blows up behind him, scattering rocky debris. Nice, but a generic composition that would suit any Battlestar Galactica book. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, D B-

The story: Apollo is leading the Taurella alongside the Galactica so that Countess Sephoni, a noted psionic, may speak with Adama. She has “heard” the Thirteenth Colony, Earth, and she knows its coordinates. A recon flight is assigned at a quick council meeting: Zurel, Neats, and Apollo. This trio finds something other than Earth and everything changes. Writer Dan Abnett has written a good read, and the previous installment is not needed to understand any of what happens in this outing. Apollo and Starbuck’s bromance is as strong as ever and the latter is spectacularly emotional beginning on Page 16. I was glad to see what occurs on Pages 15 and 18, as these are scenes that must be shown, and Abnett doesn’t let the reader escape these moments. Page 20 was exactly what I wanted to see, because that is exactly what that individual would do after the fact. The last two pages go to an individual mentioned earlier with his hands typing out the numbers shown on Smith’s cover. An emotional read with a mystery beginning. Overall grade: A

The art: The illustrations by Dietrich Smith are good. His characters aren’t dead ringers for the actors who played them, but they’re close enough to evoke memories of them. From a distance his characters are stylistically similar to work by Ernie Colon, but up close these characters are his own. For example, on Page 3 one can see this in Sephoni’s Captain Rekort, that is if one doesn’t linger on the psionic doing her best impression of Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct. Smith does beautiful work on his women, Sephoni and Athena, and his men are fine, though inconsistent at times (Starbuck on Page 7). His Vipers are slick, though other ships are overly textured, as with Pages 1 and 10. The layout on Page 14 is perfection. The visuals are better than average. Overall grade: B

The colors: Fran Gamboa is making superior contributions to this book. Notice the excellent shading on the Countess on Page 3, especially in that final panel, the excellent lighting on Pages 1, 5, and 6, superior oranges and yellows on 11 – 13, and the beautiful reds on 14. The male doctor’s uniform on the penultimate page appears textured because of Gamboa’s work. Very, very impressive. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The lettering on this issue is by Simon Bowland who brings dialogue, ship-to-ship transmissions, the story’s title, yells, computer font, and a few sounds. I liked how color was used to designate the communications between ships. I wish there had been some sounds on Pages 11 – 13, but that’s not within Bowland’s purview, sadly. Overall grade: A

The final line: This makes me want to watch the television series. It sparked so many memories and created some new ones. Worth the cubits it costs! Overall grade: A-

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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