I don’t own the actual first five issues of Marvel’s run on Battlestar Galactica. Instead I’m reading from a trade collection of the five issues plus #s 15 and 16 for some reason. I’ll review the trade on Saturday. The cover images for the individual issues will be coming from Comic Covers.
Battlestar Galactica #1
Marvel Comics (March, 1979)WRITER: Roger McKenzie ARTIST: Ernie Colon COLORIST: George Roussos LETTERER: Jim Novak EDITOR: Richard E. Marschall ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Gruenwald/Macchio BASED ON THE TV SERIES WRITTEN & CREATED BY GLEN LARSON
The first five issues adapt the first two stories in the series. This is “Saga of a Star World” part 1. You can catch my review of the episode from many moons ago here, but the link to the episode no longer works since Hulu doesn’t have the classic show anymore as of this review.
As a refresher: In deep space lie 12 colonies of man who believe they are making piece with their enemies, the Cylons. However, it’s a trap to wipe out the colonies and only one Battlestar, the Galactica, survives to lead a group of survivors to a legendary 13th colony on a planet called Earth. You may have heard of it.
What they got right: Early issues of show adaptations tend to get a few facts wrong. This is because they have earlier versions of scripts and images of costume and mechanical designs in order to get the comic out in time to coincide with the movie or television series being adapted. Well I don’t know what happened here, unless McKenzie and Colon went to the theatrical version of the pilot, but the characters, costumes, sets, characters, and all but one line of dialog is in keeping with the show as much as any format adaptation can be. The Cylons look like Cylons, the Vipers look like Vipers (although from some angles they look like the wings are flat rather than triangles), the outfits and even the bridge of the Battlestar look as they do on the show, and the characters mostly sound like the characters at the early point of the series. I’m really quite amazed.
What they got wrong: Roussos seems to be using lighting as a shortcut in some panels and said lighting comes off brighter than it should be at times, making a side of the face or the entire character yellow or red like a plastic army man figure. It’s more noticeable because I wasn’t fanboy nitpicking the rest of the issue.
Recommendation: After the two episode adaptations, taking place in the five issues I’ll be reviewing this week, Marvel starts doing its own thing and it becomes a Marvel comic. The first adaptations is well done, bypassing the usual curve for an early adaptation. (For a comparison, look at the early Marvel issues of Star Wars that came out to coincide with the movie.) I don’t know how they pulled it off, but I recommend getting your hands on it, either in a collection or by stumbling across the issue. You’ll seldom find an adaptation that came out in the day that’s this accurate to the source material.