Book Review – Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880

  • Title: Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880
  • Author: Tony Lee
  • Artists: Ardian Syaf, Aneke
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Publisher: Dynamite Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/03/2016

This is a wonderfully fun graphic novel. Based on the late 1970s/early 1980s version of the television series Battlestar Galactica but given an awesome Steampunk twist – it’s a joy from start to finish. The only negative is the book is too short.

The characters from Battlestar Galactica are slightly changed to fit with the Victorian/Steampunk design – Adama is an Archduke, Apollo is the crown prince. Athena really kicks ass – going practically on her own to find and rescue her brother (Apollo) when he disappears in battle and is presumed dead.

Starbuck, back to being a guy as he was in the original series, has been banished – and is a free trader, aided by his half-daggit (half-human) partner, Muffit. He’s in trouble with two pirate queens – Cassiopeia and Sheba. Athena approaches him to help rescue Apollo.

Meanwhile, Baltar has destroyed Caprica with his Cyclonic automatons, then launches an attack on Gemini. Adama takes the Aethership Galactica to protect the remnants of Caprica’s population, and joins Commander Cain of the Aethership Pegasus to defend Gemini – only to discover it’s a trap, the Pegasus has been destroyed, as has Gemini.

However, Starbuck, and Athena discover Apollo, on a prison planet as well as Jolly and Boomer, now cybernetic after Baltar’s surgeries to save their lives. They also discover Iblis – who with Athena and Baltar created the Babbage Machine Lui-c-fer that controls the Cyclonics. Since Jolly and Boomer can plug in and control the giant automaton Cyclonics, and Ibilis and Athena designed the Babbage machine – they decide to take the fight to Baltar.

Meanwhile, on the Galactica, Adama is thrilled to learn his son is alive, and even welcomes Starbuck, Jolly, and Boomer back (after they were exiled by the Quorum of Twelve). Adama agrees with the plan to take the fight to Baltar.

The battle actually goes well, even though Ibilis betrays them by uploading himself to Lu-c-fer. Athena – who had designed the Babbage machine – hacks it to melt down the machine and destroy Ibilis, the Cyclonics and Baltar. She also approaches the Oviod, an insectoid species and the Colonials former enemy, and forms an alliance with them to take out the Cyclonics.

This is a highly enjoyable graphic novel, suitable pretty much for all ages. The Steampunk aesthetic and costumes are great. Tony Lee’s take on the classic characters is more in fitting with those characters than Ron Moore’s recent television remake.

The art is good, but at times very, very busy – with panels that almost seem crowded. But, on the other hand, the ship designs and the costumes are really, really good. I’d love to see another volume of this story, or to see it made into an animated film. Highly recommended.

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