With new comics out this week, Dan Abnett sits down and gives us a behind the scenes commentary on the last issue of his Battlestar Galactica run with issue #12… or is it his last?
Battlestar Galactica #12
Issue twelve marks the end of my run (well, not really… just wait to see what Dynamite is about to announce!), so I wanted to close on an "epilogue" issue. The last few arcs have been fairly serious and heavyweight. The threats to the Fleet, Adama's crisis of confidence etc. With issue 12, I wanted to scale it down. What's Galactica like seen from a young child's perspective? What is life like for a non-com?
The art's great, of course. Let me say that up front. Cezar does a great job. I wanted the innocence of Boxey's POV to be genuine. He is a child. Surely, he should have some fun growing up, despite the circumstances? But I wanted to start this issue on a threat note, as though he was really in trouble. Hence the splash, the tension, the focus on a scared child in danger.
Of course, that's not the case. Boxey is just playing, and why wouldn't he? The underlying theme of BSG is that, on the Fleet, life goes on. It's almost mundane. Apollo and Starbuck get to fight the good fight, but on the ships, it's life as normal…. well as normal as endless exile aboard a starship can be. Boxey is a child. He's trying to entertain himself, trying to learn and grow. Everyone else is too busy to take time to raise him. One thing (I don't know if I managed it) but one thing I didn't want to hit was sentimentality. "Oh, it's just the kid. This is a nothing story and soft around the edges"…. God, no. I don't want to read stories like that, let alone write them. There was a balance to be struck. This is a playful story, a Calvin and Hobbes situation, but the darker truth surrounds them. The real world. Childhood sentimentality has no place in this. That's where we start, but we end somewhere very different.
Tigh is the uncle figure. He has huge responsibilities. But he is sympathetic. He wants to help, but he's not equipped. His stern-ness melts, but he's still not sure what to do with a child who just wants to play games. Panel four… you gotta love that sulk.
Athena's my favorite character. So often sidelined and underused. Issue six, "Red Shift" was my chance to let her shine. I hope it worked. I wanted, here to show that she was as disciplined and professional a Colonial Warrior as any of them… Apollo, Tigh, Adama.
Child's eye view, like I said. The world of BSG is awesome. Someone should see it as awesome. A kid? Hells yeah. Vipers? Hells yeah! Growing up in that environment, wouldn't YOU be impressed by a hanger full of Vipers? Wouldn't you want to aspire?
We've crossed the line of sentiment. This is a a darker story than the game-playing opening might have suggested. Adama and his grandson? That's a relationship that needs to be explored. Boxey's awareness of the struggle, innocent though it may be? That too. I'd have loved to see this scene on TV.
The issue turns on this point. It becomes darker, but also more positive. And the canonical reference points, I hope, will hit home with every die-hard BSG fan. There's foreshadowing. There's impact.
I guess, what I'm saying, is that this isn't a cosy epilogue, a "bottle episode" to keep us safe. It's a different (innocent) perspective, but it breaks the layers. There's no action, but in a way, I think it's perhaps the most significant BSG issue I've written.
Thanks for reading thus far. I hope you've enjoyed the ride. It's about to get jaw-dropping. Sorry, but someone's going to die. For real.
For more on Battlestar Galactica #12, click here.