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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Centurion Prime "Centurion Prime"
Battlestar Galactica: Centurion Prime (Realm Press)
Written by Jim Kuhoric
Art by Mike Malbrough
Cover A by Robert Scott, Cover B by Dan Parsons

A captured Colonial warrior is turned into a cyborg Cylon.

Story Summary

The fleet is attacked by a squadron of Cylon Raiders. One of the fresh pilots, named Roz, sustains damage to his Viper in the battle and the Cylons tow the craft back to their basestar. There, Imperious Leader commands Bael to use the human pilot in a new project to create an advanced centurion that will be able to pilot and fight the way the humans do. Soon, Roz's brain is somehow incorporated into a new centurion design.

In its first test, the prototype ferociously wipes out a squad of standard centurions. Imperious Leader then orders it to be given command of a Raider squadron with orders to attack the human fleet. This it does, and the squadron is much more successful against the human Viper pilots than most, with the prototype centurion the most successful of all, damaging Apollo's ship in battle.

Apollo is forced to crash-land on an uninhabited planet and the prototype follows him. The centurion recognizes the captain and calls him by name, but Apollo doesn't realize who it really is. The centurion beats the tar out of him and his about to kill him with its laser pistol when Starbuck shows up in his Viper just in time to destroy the centurion with his ship's turbolasers.

Apollo is rescued and spends time in the Life Center recuperating from his injuries and left to ponder on how the strange, new centurion knew his name. Unable to investigate further due to the presence of the basestar, the fleet moves on.

Back on the planet, it seems that the prototype is not entirely destroyed as the red eye winks on and the head speaks, "Apollo."

Didja Know?

This story is similar to the earlier "Berserker" from the Marvel Comics BSG series, issue #16, in which Apollo is also shot down by an advanced Cylon and then the two do battle on an uninhabited planet. In both cases, the presumed-destroyed centurion is found to still have some life left in it at the end of the issue. In fact, "Centurion Prime" is dedicated to Roger McKenzie and Walter Simonson, the writer and artist, respectively, of "Berserker".

This story seems to be a prequel of sorts to "Masquerade", which I have placed immediately following in the chronology.

Didja Notice? 

On page 2, panel 5, there are stars shining through the dark crescents of planets! This would not be possible, as even the dark part of the crescent still has a solid body behind it.

Throughout the issue, artist Mike Malbrough depicts the Cylon Raiders with two red lights shining above the canopy. This was not an obvious feature in the TV episodes of the series.

Pages 6 and 7 are a bit disjointed, in that it seems that Roz has been a Cylon prisoner long enough to have been mistreated by them on page 6 and yet, on page 7, Blue Squadron has just arrived in the Galactica's landing bay after the same battle in which Roz was captured by the Cylons.

On page 7, panel 3, it looks like the ship directly behind the Galactica in the fleet may be the agro ship, from the dome design just barely visible in the bottom right corner.

The IL-series Cylon, Bael, who seems to be involved in research and development and who first appeared in "Hades Hath No Fury", appears on several pages of this story. But his augmented eye, which should be on the right-hand side of his face, appears on the left in the miniature "talking heads" on pages 8, 11, and 14.

On page 14, Centurion Prime is tested by Bael and Imperious Leader against a squad of standard Centurions and Centurion Prime wipes out the Cylons with intense, and unanticipated, ferocity. Imperious Leader then wants to see how the unit functions against human targets and gives him command of a Raider squadron and sends it after the fleet. Notice that in his lead Raider, on page 15, panel 3, it appears that Centurion Prime has destroyed his two Cylon pilots and taken sole control of the ship!

On page 21, Apollo crash-lands in the desert of an unknown world after his Viper is hit by laser fire from Centurion Prime's Raider. As he climbs out of his wrecked ship, Apollo says to himself, "...if I was Starbuck, I'd be naming this planet after myself or something." This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "The Return of Starbuck" episode of Galactica 1980, in which Starbuck crash-lands on a desert world and does exactly that.

On page 11, Bael had informed Imperious Leader that the new advanced Centurion's exoskeleton was constructed with a poly-alloy that would allow it to "withstand several point blank blasts of laser fire from up to a Class 5 weapon." It's not explained how powerful a Class 5 weapon is, but on page 24, the Centurion is destroyed on the ground by a blast from the powerful tubolasers of Starbuck's Viper.

Although not explicitly stated, it seems the Roz portion of the prototype still had much of his hatred of Cylons intact and may also harbor a grudge against Apollo as leader of Blue Squadron for not coming after him when he was initially captured by the Cylons.

Unanswered Questions

Did the Imperious Leader have the prototype's remains picked up from the planet? If so, was it rebuilt? Was the prototype considered successful enough to entail the construction of additional such models with a human component? (It seems likely that they did construct newer, modified models, as seen in the following story "Masquerade".)

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