The stories behind the stories

Battlestar Galactica: Counterstrike #3

“Our enemies — in collusion!” — Commander Adama

“Counterstrike, Part 3”

The alliance between the humans and the Okaati is headed for trouble…
Published by Dynamite • January 16, 2019

Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Daniel HDR and Marco Fiorito

Lettered by Taylor Esposito

Colored by Natalia Marques

Main cover by Marcio Rudy

Variant cover by Daniel HDR with Natalia Marques

Edited by Matt Idelson

The fall of  2018 had been very busy for me. In addition to Classic Battlestar Galactica: Counterstrike, I wrote two Disney titles for Dark Horse, Dumbo: Friends in High Places and The Lion King: Wild Schemes and Catastrophes — all while getting going on a prose novel, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War. I had to I fit issues of the Galactica series in between, while also tending to the proofreading and checking the art. Yet somehow, all of it was completed on time!

The goal all along was to make sure as much of the comics series was possible before the prose novel began, however. Shifting gears between different comics projects is, for some reason, a lot easier than doing so between novels and comics. At least in my office, the path to reaching the six-figure word-count most novels require involves writing at least a chapter every day, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays included; getting a chapter done and also writing scenes for comics requires different sets of mental muscles, and I try to avoid it.

There’s another reason to avoid schedule overlap: I wasn’t likely to confuse any of the particulars between any of the franchises I was writing for — no Colonial Vipers flying past Enterprise! But when it comes to the original subsidiary characters, villains, and new spaceships you wind up creating, it’s important to keep all your notes straight.

“Bullies in this galaxy are ten to a cubit — yet we always seem to win.” — Apollo

Early on we see the Colonial Movers starship, which we also see in many of the Galactica episodes. Fairly obviously kitbashed from both a rocket model and model railroad cars, it is one of the more recognizable ones from the series.

It’s not very easy to convey speed in space comics — unlike in other comics, you can’t really show wind lines and debris flying, and while Galactica does have exhaust trails, the angles in this and the previous shot reduce the options. Hot glows for the thrusters are a good option: Photoshop is your friend!

Jolly’s “pirate” reference and Starbuck’s joke obviously refer to the final Marvel Galactica story, in which Jolly posed as a pirate. The other members of the Council, seen here, are Geller, Tinia, and Anton — various members seen at times during the series.

Baltar got one of our covers this month; you can actually imagine the two covers reacting to one another. Note how putting Parrin in scenes with Baltar’s video conveys additional information about what the Okaati (allegedly) think about what he’s saying.

Like Federation commissioners in Star Trek, all the bad ideas come from the Council of Twelve!

We have a lot of hallway scenes in this arc; this one has three different conversations going at once, though we only hear one. Daniel HDR’s staging is perfect and makes it seem like we know what’s being said in all of them.

The Node is dark and forbidding — which wouldn’t work if there weren’t a nebula in the background. Fortunately, that’s where our story is set!

Every prison escape in Galactica or Buck Rogers worked about the same way: an ambush when the guard opened the door/laser grid/bars. Our issue’s escape is no exception.

Thane was the name of a murderer back in “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero” in the TV series; it makes sense Apollo would ask about the name. We also get a look at Okaati in captivity here. The tour isn’t just for Apollo, but for the readers.

And now, for the party, we switch to a different artist, Marcio Fiorito. When changes are necessary for scheduling reasons or otherwise, it helps if they come between the scene breaks.

The “landing bay” thing is no joke: I couldn’t find on any models or show scenes where the shuttlebay for the Rising Star was!

A reader observed that Rigel was in the wrong color uniform in #0; that was a case where, rather than fixing it in the trade, I decided to fix it in the comic itself by making her an officer trainee. This is what I call “eating your mistakes,” as a pastry chef might: the mistake is no longer a mistake, but a story or characterization point. (And after 40 years, it’s about time the woman had a promotion!)

Now we get another way to show thrust: throwing a blur onto the exhaust. There’s no warp speed effect in Galactica, or blurring the ships themselves would be an option. I guess we could have shown a sound effect in space, given that the TV show would have done so — but we were doing it in the next panel so we got to be scientifically accurate.

We have a double-page spread on Pages 18-19 where the idea is to show almost nothing but space and the nebula, and the Galactica looking small. Note that the dialogue tracks whether you look at the full spread, or page-by-page as a digital reader would. That’s on purpose.

Finally, on the last page, the great deception is revealed. We now know why the Cylons were “chasing” the Okaati in #0. If it’s not Adama’s worst nightmare, it’s his latest!