BSG v BSG #4: Good Plot, But No Context

BSG vs BSG #4 Cover B. Written by Peter David, Drawn by Edu Menna. Published by Dynamite Comics. April 18, 2014

BSG vs BSG #4

Peter David (Writer), Edu Menna (Artist), Mohan (Colourist), Taylor Esposito (Letterer)
Dynamite Comics
18 April, 2018

The original Battlestar Galactica has been sucked through a wormhole into a universe where they face… the reboot Battlestar Galactica. Following the OG-Galactica is the OG-Pegasus, bearing an alien called Kali who proclaims to be the creator of the Cylons.

BSG vs BSG #4 Cover A. Written by Peter David, Drawn by Edu Menna. Published by Dynamite Comics. April 18, 2014

Admiral Bill Adama and Colonel Saul Tigh of the reboot series question Kali, who assures them of her good intentions but warns that the other Galactica cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, Gaius Baltar is trying to escape from the brig with the help of his OG counterpart, Count Baltar, but is foiled by Kara Thrace. Count Baltar escapes but not before warning Gaius that the OG-Galactica will destroy them with the help of the Cylons.

Disconcerted by two such pronouncements, Admiral Adama convenes with President Laura Roslin and Commander Adama from the OG universe. Mistrust leads to increasing friction between the two ships but how can they be sure who the real enemy is?

And, many light-years away, on the Cylon basestar, Boomer and her fellow skin-jobs are visited by an unknown figure promising to help them destroy humanity, but for a very high price.

Dynamite Comics’ Battlestar Galactica series certainly invokes readers’ nostalgia for the 1978 and 2004 television shows. Through the four issues, thus far, we have encountered familiar characters and scenarios with a fair number of Easter eggs to get fans of the shows excited.

BSG vs BSG #4 Page 11. Written by Peter David, Drawn by Edu Menna. Published by Dynamite Comics. April 18, 2014

As for the plot, it veers quite close to Star Trek territory. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but for non-Star Trek fans, the introduction of blue-skinned aliens and alternate universes might seem far-fetched. As someone who enjoys both Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, I find this premise apt, especially as it addresses the existence of the two disparate ships and universes.

There is one particular moment in this issue that I liked – when Admiral Bill Adama points out to Commander Adama that his son, Captain Apollo, looks startlingly like the criminal Tom Zarek. Fans of the show will immediately understand the reference – the late Richard Hatch portrayed dashing and heroic Captain Apollo in the original series, and the criminal mastermind Tom Zarek in the reboot series. That panel definitely got a chuckle out of me.

This issue is very much a middle chapter – there isn’t any action but there is a lot of necessary exposition. Whereas the first three issues built up the characters and their interactions, this issue gives readers a sense of the dynamics between the two Galacticas and the Pegasus, as well as an inkling of what the future holds. This is undoubtedly a book about trust issues – nobody trusts anybody from the other universe – but the mistrust also starts trickling within crews, as well. And that is what makes this book a gripping read. If only we could tell the characters apart…

Reimagining live-action characters in a comic book is never easy. Fan expectations are high for a faithful recreation of the characters in art but that isn’t always possible. Unfortunately, this book barely even tries – I can only surmise that the majority of actors did not welcome their likenesses being reproduced on the page.

The characters in this comic, barring Admiral Adama, looked so different from their on-screen counterparts that I found myself having to read the first three issues, in-depth, so I had a frame of reference. It helped, but only just. I understand the need to distinguish the comic from the television series but drawing the characters in such a generic fashion is counter-intuitive. If this was the method artist Edu Menna chose to go with, then there really should have been some kind of index of characters to help familiarise readers.

But this wasn’t the only problem I had with the cast. The female characters’ portrayals are troubling, to say the least. President Roslin barely has a couple of panels in this comic, and those are in relation to the two Adamas. Boomer and Athena, who at least look similar to actor Grace Park, barely get a look-in; there is so little substance to their roles.

Badass Viper pilot Kara Thrace’s brief appearance has her bumping into Baltar. She is seen in her civvies, which accentuate a voluptuous form that is not at all representative of the character on the television show and does Katee Sackhoff’s iconic and gender-defying role a great disservice.

BSG vs BSG #4 Page 17. Written by Peter David, Drawn by Edu Menna. Published by Dynamite Comics. April 18, 2014
What is happening here?

The alien Kali is most problematic. She wears a Return of the Jedi-style metal bikini for absolutely no reason and, when drawn in profile, her physical assets are almost always visible.

Lieutenant Sheba at least gets an entire scene where she confronts her father with disturbing truths, but that is the only scene where a female character gets to do something of importance in this issue.

Considering the abundance of rich female characters in at least the reboot source material, this series cannot expect to get away with pushing them aside even in a single issue. It was so frustrating to read! Sadly, the lack of substance for the female characters has been a running theme for the series and desperately needs to be rectified in coming issues.

The story in this comic has a great deal of suspense but it is almost entirely undercut by the lack of context. If you are looking to pick up this issue on its own, you will be confused and lost. Even if you are a fan of Battlestar Galactica (both of them), you will have to read the first few issues to understand who the characters are meant to be and where the story is going. It shows poor planning on the creators’ behalf because this series is shaping up to be quite exciting. If some reference points could be added in, it would make the readers’ journey so much easier and enjoyable.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir