"Galactica 1880" Part 1
Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Written by Tony Lee
Illustrated by Aneke
Cover by Ardian Syaf
Professor Baltar declares himself Imperious Leader and uses his
Cylonic Knights to begin a war with the Twelve Colonial Empires.
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.
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
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
Atlantia was the presidential battlestar, destroyed by the
Cylons. Solium is a type of fuel and explosive in the BSG
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
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
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
"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
"Deathtrap" of the original
BSG series; it is consistently misspelled throughout the
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.
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
"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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