With Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 Abnett picks up seven years after the events of Battlestar Galactica #9. The fleet has been wandering for ten years now. People have been promoted, ships have been restored, and an impatient Athena is suggesting the fleet try new ways of searching for Earth.
It is good to see that the psychic powers subplot which popped up in the Dreams of the Thirteenth ark is actually being developed, though given that Xam’s sudden power saved the Galactica, Adama and Colonel Tigh’s stubbornness about even attempting psionic divination in his search is a bit odd. So, too, is the discovery that the Galactica abandoned a ship somewhere in the past: The last arc saw Boomer go to incredible lengths to keep a ship running, risking his life in the attempt.
The framework, however, is intriguing: “Death of” stories very seldom leave the character in question actually dead, but they, like mystery stories, pose puzzles for the reader: What led to the person’s death? How will it be undone and at what cost? Will the event have any repercussions in the future? And Apollo is a central character whose steadiness keeps the fleet in balance: Losing or damaging him could rebound in any number of ways, even inside of a long-running comic like this.
Abnett also makes it explicit this time that Athena is to be the next Fleet Commander with her father realizing that Apollo is an excellent pilot, but not a bridge person. Overall, his books have given her more to do and developed her character in ways that the TV show only hinted at.
Artist Dietrich Smith draws characters who are easily recognizable as the same characters seen on television. Unfortunately, somewhere between inking and coloring, lines got blurred meaning that there are panels where everyone looks a bit like shaped novelty candles that have started to melt in the sun. It’s also hard not to ask why Xam has clearly aged (he has long grey hair and a beard now) while everyone else still looks fairly young, with unlined faces and their original hair color. The scenes in space capture both Dietrich Smith and colorist Fran Gambola’s attention and are crisp, appealing, and active.
Although Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo#1 builds on previous events, it does not rely on the reader knowing the details of the plot and is a good point for new readers to step in as well as strong continuation of Abnett’s previous arcs.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Dietrich Smith
Colors: Fran Gambola
Letters: Simon Bowland
Covers: Mike Mayhew, Dietrich Smith, Livio Ramondelli, Ardian Syaf