By Clyde Hall. Battlestar Galactica (1978), a dark and gritty tale of survival, genocidal aliens, and indomitable human spirit, played amiably against a Space Western backdrop. A forerunner of later TV fare such as V and Firefly. Battlestar Galactica (2004), a dark and gritty tale of survival, genocidal mechanoids, and indomitable human spirit, plied with thorny complexity against the unforgiving void of space, and within hearts human and inhuman. A precursor to modern programs like Westworld and Humans.
Writer Peter David’s tasked with bringing the two similarly-themed mythoi with their diametric approaches together, somehow, in Dynamite’s Battlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica #1. As a fan of both versions, the concept appealed, but my imagination went FTL figuring how David would accomplish it. He’s no stranger to BSG, or to writing other novels for rabid and discerning fandoms. Any preconceived notions on how he would “launch when ready” were quickly discarded.
The story opens not with dual Adamas or dueling Starbucks, but with BSG 1978’s Commander Cain aboard the Battlestar Pegasus escaping the destruction of three Cylons basestars (from the original series episode, “The Living Legend”). Cain orders a period of repair and refit as they distance themselves from the Cylon fleet, and from his own daughter, Sheba, who remained with the Galactica. After the Pegasus is battleworthy once more, Cain ponders his options: continue engaging the enemy or seeking a safe, permanent home for his people. All of which is interrupted by a distress call from an uncharted world, leading to a surprising new discovery.
Meanwhile, BSG 1978’s Apollo and Starbuck encounter Cylon forces in their sector, except the Raiders are of an unfamiliar style. A massive radiation spike is detected, and as the Galactica is pulled toward it, Commander/Admiral Adama of BSG 2004 encounters an anomaly, and a strange starship emerging.
For those familiar with 1978’s version, there’s unevenness. Most of the characters ‘spoke’ in the voice of their respective actors, at least in my inner reading voice. The exception was Cain, who, save for a brief in-joke, didn’t. He contemplates “retiring to spend time thinking about his (absent) daughter”, which is about as likely as George Patton leaving the war because he misses his kids.
While not jumping headlong into the meeting of these mirror-realities, the story sets solid, enticing hooks. Commander Cain was an unexpected treat; played by Lloyd Bridges in the original series, he’s a master tactician promoting audacious offense as the perfect defense. He’s not the man you want overseeing a rag-tag fugitive fleet, and his conflicts with Adama regarding leadership style and objectives were a high point. Artist Johnny Desjardins has a firm handle on the look of the 1978 version, the sampling we get of his 2004 visuals are equally satisfying. His panels are varied in the page breakdowns, but easy to follow.
This is a fun way to begin a fandom dream mashup, and it remains to be seen how David balances that with the serious tone of the 2004 incarnation. But I wrote BSG fanfic yahrens ago, so I’ll be picking up the next installment to find out.
Written by Peter David.
Art by Johnny Desjardins.
Colors by Mohan.
Letters by Taylor Esposito.
6.5 out of 10