Just when you thought it was safe to return to my comic collection…
Actually, this edition may not be so bad. Robert Napton, the guy responsible for writing the horror show of the first group of mini-series isn’t around this time, and Liefeld’s only contribution is the same character designs that have plagued the series thus far. No, this tale comes courtesy of Richard Hatch, the original and actual Apollo. (Yes, I’m taking another shot at Battlestar Namesake; thus is my way.) Hatch’s love for Battlestar Galactica is well-known, or at least his vision of it. See, and I’ve never heard the details, Hatch had his own ideas as to how to make the show better that clashed with that of Glen Larson. You know, the guy who CREATED the series based off of his vision. It’s like telling J. Michael you can do Babylon 5 better. However, Hatch does honestly love the show, enough to write a series of novels and make an attempt to bring the show back well before the re-imagined series.
That was a few years after he wrote this three-part miniseries which feels a lot like a filler story to me. “One of the original actors from the show wants to write a story in our comic? Fanboy cheering AND money will be forthcoming!” Say what you will about Liefeld (and I have) but he’s not a moron. Apollo also brought back the Borellian Nomen. A recurring concept in the original series, the Nomen are a group of colonists with bony foreheads and a mysterious “code” they live by. They were eventually locked up but escaped in the episode “Baltar’s Escape” and hadn’t been seen since.
Somebody’s solution was the same as Cassiopeia’s death and the death of Boomer’s wife–an “unchronicled adventure” which would put the Nomen back where Hatch wanted them. So either Hatch really wanted to use the Nomen or forgot they weren’t supposed to be there; either way, having important things happen between stories is getting on my nerves with this series. At any rate, let’s see if Apollo himself can tell a BSG story better than the guy that’s been writing this train wreck thus far.
Battlestar Galactica: Apollo’s Journey #1
Maximum Press (April 1995)WRITER: Richard Hatch ARTIST: Hector Gomez COLORIST: Robert Chong COLOR SEPARATIONS: Quantum FX LETTERER: Kurt Hathaway EDITOR: Matt Hawkins UPDATED CHARACTER & SHIP DESIGNS: Rob Liefeld & Karl Altstaetter
This actually isn’t a bad cover. At least in comparison to all the other covers we’ve had thus far.
We start with the Cylon as a Centurion reports that all the base ships now have the warp drive that Iblis gave to Baltar back in the first mini-series, which means an attack on Earth is imminent. Next page: Apollo, concerned that the Cylons will now attack in force after Ares’ failure in the previous miniseries, suggests that the Colony should pull up stakes and resume searching for the 13th Tribe, who are now no longer on Earth. Cain disagrees, insisting they should stand and fight. They banter a bit and then we jump to the prison barge with Iblis dropping in on the Nomen…see, this is pacing. While the previous stories took forever to get to things (not helped with how few panels there were on page, page two has six panels) we’re actually getting to some action at a pace that keeps things interesting.
The panel layout (although for some reason there seems to be at least one panel per page using a jagged border) is easy to follow and I can tell what’s going on. Already Hatch has improved this comic by leaps and bounds over Napton. Anyway, Iblis convinces the Nomen to throw in with the Cylons, telling them that the Imperious Leader wants to make them the masters over any surviving humans. The Nomen aren’t complete suckers (but still suckers in this story) and they don’t trust Iblis, but his assurance that the Cylons nor Iblis wants them to become their followers and their desire for revenge leads to an alliance. (Considering the Nomen’s dislike of the “machine” Cylons, this is slightly odd.
Back on the Galactica, Apollo is thinking about Serina, his former wife who died after a Cylon attack (and because I believe actress Jane Seymour didn’t want to continue in the series–I could be wrong–so her character marries Apollo and that makes Boxey his son) which bothers Sheba because he’s been thinking about Serina a lot lately, especially after Starbuck’s presumed death in the previous story, The Enemy Within. (There is also a mention of Zac, Apollo’s brother, who died in the pilot. Nice memory work on Hatch’s part.) All this allows Iblis an opening to begin influencing Apollo. It doesn’t help when Tigh, concerned that Apollo may be overstressed, has worked to put Cain in temporary charge so Apollo can get his head together. This plays right into Iblis’s hands and Apollo confronts Cain. When the fight become physical, Apollo draws his blaster, but it is Iblis who makes it go off, seriously wounding Cain and getting Apollo arrested. When word of these events reaches the Nomen, they know it’s time to put their part of the plan into action. Escaping their cells, they hijack a shuttle, and Sheba takes Viper out to distract herself from her father being shot by her husband.
Meanwhile, a vision of Serina appears to Apollo in his cell as he prays for strength to fight Iblis’ influence. She tells him that the power to defeat Iblis is already inside him, a power his family possesses and Iblis fears. He also escapes his cell and escapes in his Viper. Sheba goes to intercept him just as the Nomen take the bridge, ending issue #1.
While I have some minor issues with the story (the “unchronicled” recapture of the Nomen, and how they were able to get to the bridge with those big guns and nobody noticed) this story is a huge improvement over the previous stories. The panels are still overlapping each other, but they’re aligned in a way that you can read them, there are more than three per page, and no two-page spreads of three panels. The pacing makes events happen at a natural flow and they’re making good use of the space involved. I’m actually looking forward to the next issue, which we’ll look at tomorrow.