So Athena’s new boyfriend is evil, and it’s all part of Baltar’s plan. Beloved characters were either killed “off-screen” or are suddenly robots. (Actually, Wilker’s being turned into a robot is explained on the first page in quite possibly the worst use of exposition in this comic yet.
Yes, here is a comic so bad that I’m ripping into it in the intro.) Things only go downhill from here. But at least it’s action-y. I guess that’s a good thing. Oh, let’s just end this already.
Battlestar Galactica: The Enemy Within #3 (of 3)
Maximum Press (February 1995)STORY: Rob Liefeld, Greg Aronowitz, and Robert Napton SCRIPT: Robert Napton ARTIST: Hector Gomez COLORIST: Scott Rockwell SEPARATIONS: Quantum Color FX (Robert, Rosy, Un Hui, Narry, & Edwin) LETTERER: Kurt Hathaway EDITOR: Matt Hawkins UPDATED CHARACTER/SHIP DESIGNS: Rob Liefeld & Karl Altstaetter
That’s right, Gomez. Spoil the big reveal, why not? Whomever is writing the “story so far” section doesn’t seem to mind doing it.
So after that bit of forced exposition (why was it necessary to make Wilker a robot again? doesn’t that bring up so many questions considering the Cylon origins in the classic universe?) we shift to Athena and Ares surveying the Overdrive, which is a mess.
OK, a bigger mess than it was. Baltar and Lucifer discuss the “Omega Protocols” and I think last issue they mentioned Ares was the result of a special project of the Imperious Leader. What kind of project? Well, if you’ve been reading the catch-up section you already know.
The scientists are able to extract Wilker’s final sight, and it’s a glowing Ares. I don’t remember Ares glowing last issue. Anyway, Apollo shows the footage to Athena, but she’s having trouble believing it. Now, any writer knows this should lead to a final confrontation between Ares and Athena, as she gets a matter of payback for being played as she was, thus bringing closure to her and her story arc. Spoiler: nothing of the sort happens. Ares is tracked down by the Warriors, and he throws one guy out of the window, causing the room to decompress so he can escape before the depressurizing seal closes.
Ares contacts Lucifer, who tells him to destroy himself and the Galactica, a transmission picked up by the communications officer. (Yes, they do explain why Ares’ other calls to the Cylons weren’t picked up, something about the signal having the same energy signature as the engine output. I’m not sure how that works.)
Apollo and Starbuck figure out how Ares plans to blow up the Battlestar and rush to stop them. Ares can cloak himself, and attacks Starbuck, then sets an explosive in the main energizer room. Apollo gets the drop on the agent, and his secret is revealed.
Shocking? No, considering it’s not only revealed on the cover…
But in the “story so far” not only in this comic, but in issue #2!
Here’s the problem, folks. If you just followed the story, Ares could just as easily been a brainwashed human and you wouldn’t have suspected that he was a Cylon until this moment. EXCEPT THEY OUTRIGHT TOLD YOU BEFORE WE EVER GOT THERE! Whomever was responsible for the advertisements for Star Trek: Voyager on UPN gets flack for writing the ads in a way that reveals the end of the story. Some trailers do that as well. The lesson here? NEVER tell the ad guys how the story ends. Ever!
By the way, here’s that bad news for fans of Battlestar Namesake, the re-imagined show. (If I was being insulting, I’d call it Battlestar Pretender. The only resemblance between the two is superficial at best.) If you new BSG fans thought that the whole human-like Cylons was new and unique, sorry to disappoint you. Someone thought of it first. In a Liefeld comic. And someone already slept with it before Baltar. Now how should I, a “oldschool” fan, put this?
I’m so getting yelled at for that, but it’s worth it.
Where was I? Right, the Cylons are staying just out of blast range, but otherwise getting their butts kicked. Starbuck comes to and chases off Ares, then tricks him into an escape pod while Apollo tells Cain that if he can’t deactivate the bomb, Cain has to use his new supercannon (which he first used last arc, remember) to destroy the Galactica before it destroys both Battlestars. And then we get this.
Fans of Atop The Fourth Wall or anyone who’s read a comic from the 90′s know this all too well. It’s a two-page spread that requires the reader to hold it like a naughty magazine centerfold in order to read it. However, the way they made this layout (and if you thought the layouts in the last comic were bad, these have been just awful) makes for a rare occurrence for this type of page; it actually kind of works. Did they need to do it? Of course not, I don’t think there’s ever a reason they have to. On the other hand, it’s not a terrible use of it. Linkara’s seen far worse usage.
In this scene Apollo manages to disconnect the bomb, and Baltar orders a retreat. Back with Starbuck and Ares, Starbuck tells Apollo to launch the escape pod. Ares has another bomb so Starbuck lured him in there to get him away from the ship. Apollo launches the pod, and exposition later tells us the pod couldn’t be located, but everyone is sure Starbuck is dead. The comic, and the mini-series, ends with Apollo and Athena consoling each other over the loss of their friend.
It’s a downer ending for two reasons. One is obvious, the other is that Starbuck is my (and many other fans) favorite character not only from the original series (which is why I gave the re-imagining no attention when it came out and really still don’t regardless of its quality–I have at least seen the SFDebris reviews) but takes a spot in my list of favorite TV characters. So while there is an out here, I’m still rather annoyed at this development.
As for the comic as a whole, it’s worse than the previous installment. The layouts have even less control than the last mini-series, favored characters are already dead before the series begins, and while the plot of a human-like Cylon was new and interesting in 1995, the reveal is spoiled by both the cover and the “catch-up” text so what would have been a good moment really isn’t. And it only goes dowhill from here.
Except for a minor stable drive, as the next time we visit Liefeld’s Galactica, we finally get to the story written by former “Apollo” Richard Hatch. Will it be any good, or like the rest of this series? Join us next month for Apollo’s Journey.