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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: God in the Machines (Part 1)

"God in the Machines" Part 1

Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War #1 (Dynamite)
Writers: Joshua Ortega and Eric Nylund
Pencils: Nigel Raynor
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover A: Stephen Segovia, Cover B: Nigel Raynor
2009

 

During the battle of Caprica, Admiral Ben Tanner sees something that makes him reflect on his time during the first Cylon war.

 

Notes from the BSG chronology

 

This issue opens during the Cylon attack on Caprica seen in "Humanity's Children", then flashes back 40 years to show events leading up to the events of the first Cylon War.

 

Didja Know?

 

Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War is a 4-issue mini-series published by Dynamite Entertainment. Though the mini-series itself is titled Cylon War, the bonus script pages included in each issue show that the story was titled "God in the Machines" Parts 1-4, a better title in the first place, so I have used those titles in PopApostle's studies of the mini-series.

 

This series tells the story of the build-up to the first Cylon War 40 years before the events of BSG2000. It was published the year before the premiere of the Caprica TV series on Syfy, so it unfortunately contradicts a lot of the canon information about the origin of the Cylons depicted therein. To make this mini-series fit into the continuity at all, one must imagine that the Tanner corporation here has merely taken a role in helping to improve the Cylon robotic designs already introduced by Graystone Industries in the aforementioned TV series. 

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Admiral Ben Tanner

Colonel Gerard (he is named in the script pages at the end of the issue)

John Tanner (Ben's father, name revealed in the script pages at the end of the issue)

Eliza Tanner (Ben's mother, name revealed in the script pages at the end of the issue)

Greg Tanner

Isak

Tim Tanner (name revealed in the script pages at the end of the issue)

Melissa Tanner (name revealed in the script pages at the end of the issue)

Clive Madras (politician of the Sagittaron Freedom Party, name revealed in the script pages at the end of the issue)

Commander Borton

Captain Bourne

Admiral Jennings (mentioned only)

Ensign Hamilton

 


 

Didja Notice?

 

On page 2, Admiral Tanner notices an old model Cylon Centurion seemingly leading the newer model centurions during the ground battle on Caprica.

 

On the last panel of page 3, notice that one of the fallen men has a tattoo of the Caprica planetary symbol on his arm. On the next page, as the flashback to 40 years ago begins, notice that a fallen Caprican soldier in a similar position has the same Caprican symbol on his uniform sleeve during a violent encounter between a Caprican trade delegation and Sagittaron that ensues on Benedict Trade Station.

 

Most likely the writers borrowed the last name of BSG70 actor Dirk Benedict (Starbuck) for the name of Benedict Trade Station.

 

The script pages at the end of the issue reveal that the scenes of the desecration of robots and the gathering of Caprican bodies on page 5 is taking place at Port Centaura on Sagittaron. The script also reveals that the hardliner Sagittaron politician speaking on the telecast is Clive Madras of the Freedom Party.

 

Page 6 reveals that the Tanner estate was located in the town of Oasis on Caprica. Oasis was also mentioned as the false hometown of the Number Five human model Cylon called Aaron Doral in "Enemies Among Us".

 

This issue (and the rest of the mini-series) features a number of civilian Cylon models not seen elsewhere.

 

Ben's Cylon bodyguard is called Isak. This is likely a nod by the writers to Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), known for his series of robot stories and novels which have robots programmed with the Three Laws of Robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

It is revealed here that the Cylon robots built up to this point have something similar to Asimov's three laws built into their basic programming, for they are unable to intentionally kill or injure a human being.

 

On page 5, Ben remarks that he read that some chicks dig robots in last month's Playmayte. Playmayte is an obvious play on Playboy magazine and their famous Playmate of the Month in each issue.

 

Page 10 reveals that Sagittaron has a moon called Abraxus.

 

During the battle of Abraxus, Admiral Jennings sends orders to the ship Tanner is on. Presumably, this is the same Admiral Jennings who orders the Galactica to hunt down the rogue Cylon group called the Annihilators after the armistice signing over 12 years later in "Armistice".

 

    On page 10, Tanner seems to be a crewmember on a Caprican ship called the Zephyrus, but it has the same design as the Sagittaron ship seen on page 6. Do both colonies mix and match the types of battleships used at this point in Colonial history? Or is it an artistic mistake?

    In Greek mythology, Zephyrus was the god of the west wind.

 

On page 15, the Zephyrus destroys a Sagittaron ship called the Oceania (along with two other Sagittaron ships). "Oceania" is also seen later in the issue to be the name of a city or outpost near where there is a Tanner Robogenics Production Facility at Cameronis. Most likely, Cameronis was named for the director of the first two Terminator films, James Cameron.

 

On page 18, Tanner reads a report on progress on the robots' tactical autonomy routines at the Delphi plant. Delphi is a city on Caprica.


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