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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Galactica 1880 (Part 1) "Galactica 1880" Part 1
Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Written by Tony Lee
Illustrated by Aneke
Cover by Ardian Syaf
2014

Professor Baltar declares himself Imperious Leader and uses his Cylonic Knights to begin a war with the Twelve Colonial Empires.

Didja Know?

This 4-issue mini-series published by Dynamite Entertainment was a reimagining of the concepts of the original Battlestar Galactica as a steampunk story. Steampunk stories are usually set during Earth's Victorian era of the British Empire, 1837-1901, the reign of Queen Victoria. Though it has the (seeming) Earth year 1880 attached to the title, the story of this mini-series does not seem to actively involve Earth at all. It's not until the end of "Galactica 1880" Part 4 that an unnamed Thirteenth Colony is mentioned at all. A couple of images of Earth from space are seen in the series, but they are representative of the planet Helia instead.

The "1880" part of the title was obviously inspired by the Galactica 1980 TV series.

Didja Notice?

The inside front cover of each issue of this series featured an altered version of the classic BSG preamble sequence ("There are those who believe..."). The version used here replaces the word "universe" with "aether" and the phrase "somewhere beyond the heavens" with "far, far away, amongst the stars." "Aether" is a term that was used to name the material that was believed by physicists, from medieval times to the end of the 1800s, to fill the universe beyond Earth. The "far, far away, amongst the stars" phrase comes from the preamble of the theatrical version of the original BSG pilot "Saga of a Star World" (probably originally written to suggest the "galaxy far, far away" preamble associated with Star Wars.)

The opening of this issue states there was a conflict against the Ovions by the Colonial Empire, which was finally won by the Colonials with the use of the Cylonic clockwork knights with tylium hearts invented by Professor Baltar. In the original BSG, the Ovions were the insectoid race inhabiting the planet Carillon which the Colonial fleet encountered in "Deathtrap". Tylium is a type of fuel in the BSG universe.

Page 1 states that the Ovions were defeated within sectons of introducing the Cylonics into battle. A secton is roughly equal to one week.

In this series, Adama is known as Archduke Adama of the Twelve Colonial Empires. He commands the aethership Galactica.

Professor Baltar also built the Babbage computer Lu-C-Fer. On page 10, Athena reveals she worked on the Babbage designs with Baltar and Count Iblis. Charles Babbage (1791-1871) was an English mathematician who designed, and attempted to build, mechanical, as opposed to electronic, computers in the 19th Century. Lu-C-Fer, of course, is a name derived from Baltar's Cylon assistant Lucifer from the original BSG.

Page 2 introduces the world of Caprica, the Twelfth Colonial Empire, named for the primary of the Twelve Colonies in the original BSG. The world is said to be destroyed by the solium core of the aethership Atlantia when the Cylonic knights take control of it and steer it into Caprica, destroying both. It's not quite clear, but it seems that the planet itself is still there, but no human life survived the blast (unlikely, but hey, this is steampunk!). In the original series episode "Annihilation", the Atlantia was the presidential battlestar, destroyed by the Cylons. Solium is a type of fuel and explosive in the BSG universe.

Apollo's brother (?) here is Zachary, rather than Zac as in the original BSG. It's actually not clear whether Zachary is Apollo's brother or not, nor is it clear whether he was killed in the Cylonic sneak attack on the Colonies as Zac was in the original BSG. He appears as a voice only on page 6 of this issue and is not seen or mentioned again in the mini-series.

Tigh is a fleet admiral here, as opposed to a colonel in the original BSG.

Apollo is a crown prince as the heir apparent of Archduke Adama.

On page 10, Tigh refers to the canopy of a Viper as plexi-crystal. This may be a reference to the real world clear plastic crystal used to cover many watch faces; it is tough and easily polished if scratched.

Lady Athena tells her father that Lord Cain was killed when Pegasus was destroyed during the battle. In "Galactica 1880" Part 2 it briefly seems that both he and his ship managed to survive, but it turns out to be a deceit manufactured by Baltar to trap the Galactica. In the original BSG, Commander Cain and the battlestar Pegasus appeared in "The Living Legend" Parts 1 and 2 (and in some later licensed stories in comics and novels).

The conflict with Ovions was known as the Ovion Wars.

Apollo is taken prisoner by the Cylonics and held at Aetherprison Proteus, a ship orbiting the planet Helia. Proteus was the name of the prison planetoid in the original BSG episode "The Long Patrol". Since all of the other planets named in this mini-series have ties to the original BSG, it seems that Helia would too, but I am not aware of a world by that name in the TV series (or the expanded universe, for that matter); I'm also not aware of a particular meaning behind the word "Helia", though it is used as a girls name meaning "sun ray".

After his sneak attack on the Twelve Empires with his Cylonic army, Baltar begins to refer to himself as Imperious Leader Baltar.

The Cylonic Knights are just clockwork and punch cards, but Baltar has plans to merge them with humans, "A Colonial and Cylonic marriage of wires and nerve endings."

Former Colonial flight-lieutenant Starbuck is now a trader captaining the aethership Starchaser, frequenting the border world called the Rising Star, ruled by the pirate queen, Queen Sheba. Starbuck's second in command is Muffit. Starchaser was the name of the modified Viper which had the C.O.R.A. computer installed in it in the original BSG episode "The Long Patrol". The Rising Star was a luxury liner that formed part of the rag-tag fleet in BSG. And, of course, Muffit was Boxey's pet mechanical daggit in the original episodes.

On page 15, Starbuck implies that the man whom Athena has thrown to the floor is named Romo. This may be a reference to the Councilor Romo character who appeared in "Starbuck" Part 3 (also written by Tony Lee) or the BSG2000 character of Romo Lampkin.

On page 16 Boomer states he was badly injured at the Battle of Carillion. "Carillion" is meant to be "Carillon", the planet of the Ovions seen in "Exodus" and "Deathtrap" of the original BSG series; it is consistently misspelled throughout the mini-series.

Boomer and Jolly are revealed to have been turned part Cylonic by Baltar after they suffered extreme injuries.

Characters throughout the series are seen to use the expletive "felgercarb". This was also used in the original BSG series, with the general meaning of the word being "shit".

On the last panel of page 17, the prison ship Proteus appears to be entering the atmosphere of Earth, though it is referred to as Helia. Notice the Arabian Peninsula and east coast of Africa.
Proteus and Earth

On page 20, Starbuck describes the Starchaser to his new passengers in a manner similar to how Han Solo describes the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: A New Hope. He tells Athena, "No faster ship in all the aether!" and "This has had some special modifications at great cost." Also, Starbuck owes a lot of credits to pirate Queen Sheba, similar to Han Solo owing money to crime lord Jabba the Hutt. And, Starbuck's partner and co-pilot is the furry Daggit, Muffit, just as Han Solo has the furry Chewbacca the Wookiee; both Muffit and Chewbacca speak in sounds unintelligible to most humans.

On page 20, panel 1, notice that the nose of the Starchaser has the sculpted form of a naked woman on it. It's more noticeable in later issues.

Sheba is depicted with a mole above her lip on the right-hand side of her face. The Lt. Sheba in the original BSG series did not have such a mole, nor does the actress who played her, Anne Lockhart. It may have been added here as an indication that the 18th Century European fetish for applying artificial "beauty marks" to the skin is extant in this steampunk universe. This presumption may be reinforced by the fact that the mole is no longer in evidence in "Galactica 1880" Part 4.

Queen Sheba's sister is Queen Cassiopeia. They both contest who has the greater right to rule the Rising Star.

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