If Star Wars can take two casts of characters and lump them into the new films, “Battlestar Galactica” is more than capable of taking the same approach. Dynamite Entertainment is attempting to capitalize on the success of the franchise and blend the original series with the acclaimed mid-2000s reboot. Years after the heyday of both television shows, is the publisher going to be able to move the needle with this new mini-series? Dynamite is about to find out with the creative team being made up of acclaimed comics writer Peter David and artist Johnny Desjardins.
Written by Peter David
Illustrated by Johnny Desjardins
Colored by Mohan
Letters by Taylor Esposito
At last! The epic story you’ve been dying to see is here, a galaxy and timeline-spanning saga bringing the two very different (and yet so very much alike) crews of the Battlestar Galacticas series together. But don’t expect this historic meeting of heroes to be friendly: they have no idea why they have been brought together, or what the result of this unprecedented meeting is. And it starts here as the legendary Commander Cain and the crew of the Pegasus are revealed to be alive, and have encountered an individual they never thought they would meet: the last Cylon. All this has happened before, but there will NEVER be anything like it again!
“Battlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica” #1 is a curious comic book, quickly doling out tons of mythology regarding the plot and exploring the political hierarchy of a spaceship bridge crew. David seems incredibly interested in toying with a familiar “Star Trek” backdrop but adds in just enough small details to keep the story fresh all the way through this debut. With the original television show first airing a couple decades ago, I think David has the right idea with introducing the story with this cast, attempting to bring new and old readers acclimated to these characters which might seem foreign to them with such a large break in between the shows airing on television.
While the plot introduces the older cast in an endearing manner and pulls in interesting beats, the structure of this book is disappointing because of the strong premise pitched by the publisher is not yet explored to its full potential. Readers don’t get to see the rebooted cast members until the very last page. To call this decision misguided is an understatement, as first impressions matter. If David was saving the introduction of the rebooted crew for a clever idea or bombastic introduction the decision would be easier to get behind. With the issue hinting at a really important next step in the evolution of the Battlestar villains, the full potential of the narrative does not feel realized here despite the excellent dialogue and banter David brings to the work.
Johnny Desjardins seems like a creator on the rise, but his pencils aren’t quite refined yet. Desjardins’s work on “The Sovereigns” felt stronger than some of the pencils from this comic and at times Desjardins didn’t quite match the more playful tone David’s dialogue brings to the table. There are some pages and panels which seem to be drawn with more precision than others. With such a strong influence from David Finch, Desjardins is a puzzling addition to the comic’s solid script that calls for more expressive pencils and a less bleak tone. However, some of the attention to detail on the page is still worthy of praise, readers get a great sense of how old and tired the original cast is thanks to the detail added to wrinkles in the character’s faces, this is something which adds another layer to David’s script.
As far as point-of-view, first-person caption boxes go, David knows exactly how to captivate readers behind the characters in the issue almost immediately. Captain Apollo’s crew is interesting as well, but the narrative offers little of these interactions especially in the second half of the book which wastes a lot of pages setting up the rest of the ideas and conflicts but is slightly too vague to instill a sense of danger that a sequence like this should carry.
The plot points introduced here for the villains feel like a major step forward for each leg of the “Battlestar Galactica” franchise. Readers are given some quick answers here and a hint of some conflict that could propel the plot towards a couple of fascinating directions going forward. With the narrative being so carefully paced and centered around one team, I can’t help but get the feeling the best this title has to offer is yet to come. David seems to allude to having a different tone for each team in the franchise and Desjardins drew Adama with plenty of detail to match the likeness of Edward James Olmos shockingly well. If the creative team modifies the approach and slams the gas down for the remaining chapters, this title could end stronger than it started.Continued below
Final Verdict: 6.9 – “Battlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica” #1 packs a strong script but doesn’t live up to the potential baked into the premise.