Posted by: Graeme McMillan on August 24, 2007
And in a strange bit of synchronicity, in the same week that I was talking about the Battlestar Galactica comics (Hi, Annalee), Dynamite Entertainment’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON ZERO #1 presents itself for abuse.
Looking at it one way, I can see the draw of doing a Season Zero for Dynamite; the show itself has such tight continuity that it’s hard (if not impossible) to be able to do any meaningful stories during that time frame – It’s something that completely destroyed any sense of tension in Greg Pak’s twelve issue run, as you knew constantly that everything had to work out in the end because the characters were just about to meet the Pegasus and you’d already seen that – not to mention the probability of stepping on storylines that the television crew are planning or wanting to keep for themselves. But on the other hand, I don’t really care enough about what the characters were doing before the TV show started to read an ongoing book about it. Setting a series then removes the main thrust of the entire concept, as well as the series’ main antagonists in any meaningful way, and instead relies on things that we’ve already seen in backstory from the television show (that, to be honest, in some cases work better as backstory and dramatic counterpoint to what’s happening currently) to drive the story. And, again, we already know where we’re going to end up, so without the introduction of all new characters that the creators can actually do something surprising with (thereby pissing off the fans who want to see Starbuck’s ass), everything again seems kind of toothless and playing-for-time.
And that’s the main problem with the first issue, at least. Yes, there’s a small bit of interest in seeing Ellen, Tigh, Adama and his wife celebrate peacetime and talk about how easy life is going to be aboard the Galactica, but aside from that, the story feels pointless and a diversion from what Galactica is meant to be about. The conflict comes from a new set of characters with uncertain motives, but we’ve not seen enough of them to really understand why what they’re doing is interesting, and because the one event that brought everyone together is years away from happening, the majority of the cast is missing, and – with the exception of Tigh and Adama – the character interplay that makes the TV series so engrossing is nowhere to be found.
As strange as it sounds after what I’ve just said, though, the creators try their best in the circumstances; Brandon Jerwa’s structure matches the crosstime-cutting of some of Ron Moore’s episodes even if his dialogue isn’t quite there yet, and Jackson Herbert’s art – while stiff in places – is thankfully much closer to the understated visual style of the show than Nigel Raynor’s from the previous series. It’s just that, ultimately…? I’m not sure anyone could make this book more than an Eh.