Synopsis: The Galactica is humanity’s best hope for survival since the destruction of the colonies by the Cylons during the rebellion. Though their losses have been heavy, the dwindling fleet of human refugees ships has managed to amass a few strategic victories. During this delicate time of measured optimism, Dr. Gaius Baltar decides to create a repurposed Cylon Centurion to cement his legacy and amass power for himself. These actions could jeopardize the already precarious situation for the civilian fleet and The Galactica herself.
Review: Battlestar Galactica is a series that made a triumphant return to the small screen in 2005. What was once deemed as campy 70’s television, the series was updated and elevated to prestige television. To many, the recent Battlestar Galactica iteration represents how to elevate the science fiction genre to new heights. Battlestar Galactica: Gods & Monsters #1 (BGGM #1 for short) attempts to recreate the same qualities that fans of the series love. In some ways, this first issue accomplishes that, but it still seems to reside in the shadow of its predecessor.
Battlestar is a difficult series to adapt because it deals with a host of political, ethical, and theological issues in the midst of wartime survival. Writer Karl Kessel does a pretty decent job of showing just how much the human fleet has had to endure while trying to evade the Cylons. The issue begins with news broadcast to the fleet. This is a smart way to not only reintroduce the readers to the universe, but it also gives us an underlying motivations of central characters such as Gaius. In his attempt to distinguish himself from the achievements of others, Gaius Baltar wants to rebuild a Cylon centurion under his control. Six attempts to dissuade him, but he remains resolute. Kessel nails this interaction; Six and Gaius’ relationship is one of the grounding elements in the book and series.
The frustrating thing about BGGM #1 is the art. The coloring by Chris O’Hallaran is great, and it suits the overall tone. Alec Morgan and Dan Schkade do a solid job, and I love the pulpy feel of the book (The Galactica and some of the backgrounds look great). However, the character designs seem off. You have such a clear image of what these people are supposed to look like, and it is as if they are almost close but not quite. A certain panel with Gaius, as he ponders his next move, feels incomplete. More detail in this and other panels may help give the overall art of the book some needed heft.
For all of its ups and downs, BGGM #1 isn’t a bad book in the slightest. The creative team did an impressive job of distilling a large amount of what made the television series work into the book. This is no easy task. And although the art sometimes falters, it remains a really neat and different way to recreate the Battlestar Galactica universe. Fans of the series should give it a shot.