Friday, 10 April 2009

‘Battlestar Galactica: Echoes of New Caprica’ – Various (Tokyopop)


My name is Graeme and I have a confession... I haven’t seen a single episode of the new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ TV series. Everything I’ve heard about it suggests that it would absolutely be my kind of thing but the fact that I didn’t have Sky (and then didn’t have a TV that I could watch) put paid to any ideas of getting into it. The great thing is though that thanks to the good ol’ internet I don’t really need to watch ‘Battlestar Galactica’ at all. There are loads of sites where you can find out what is going on and Adam in particular has written a whole load of Galactica posts that are more than well worth checking out.
Because of this, when Tokyopop sent me ‘Echoes of New Caprica’ I knew that these would be stories based around humanity’s ill fated sojourn on New Caprica (funnily enough) under Cylon rule. I didn’t know a lot more than that though other than that the new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is meant to be gritty and pretty hard hitting stuff.
‘Echoes of New Caprica’ made for some brutal reading at times; I might just have to search out the TV series on DVD...

New Caprica is a planet that’s under an oppressive regime and the authors in ‘Echoes’ explore how this affects people living under this regime and how they cope afterwards. It’s not just regular people either; ‘Echoes’ makes it clear that the authority figures in the fleet can easily find themselves right at the bottom of the ladder in an instant. One day you can be president and the next day you can be a school teacher in a shanty town... Humanity is right on the edge.

While the actions of New Caprica’s population are examined as a whole it’s three well known figures that are the focal points for each of the three tales. Laura Roslin is the former president of the Colonies but is now a teacher trying to protect her class against the subtle indoctrination of the Cylon occupiers. This is harder than it looks though when anyone could be an informant, even the children...
Tom Zarek leads the interim government after the escape from New Caprica (not much of a spoiler given the discussion over the series finale that has been rattling around the web these last couple of weeks) and must find a way to counter the growing hatred of those who collaborated with the Cylons at the expense of others. There is really only way to deal with this but when Tom’s friend is accused of being a traitor how far will Tom be able to go in his mission?
Kara Thrace thought she had a child on New Caprica, now it turns out that she never did. She cannot get the thought of Kasey out of her head though, especially as the child is living in poverty in a fleet shantytown. How far will Thrace go to save her child...?

It seems like it’s been a real long time since I read anything quite as dark as ‘Echoes of New Caprica’. Like I said, humanity is on the edge and these desperate times mean that the line between good and evil is blurred by necessity. We get to find out just what people will do in order to survive and a number of times we are asked whether the needs of the many outweigh those of the few. The answer isn’t that simple but it really got me thinking...

For such a dark and brooding book it’s fitting that the artwork follows a similar line; Chrissy Delk, Christopher Schons’ and Anthony Wu’s art does this admirably by foregoing colour, resulting in work that comes across as sombre but really knows when to land the killer punch.

Having never watched the series I did get a little bit lost with who was who and in that respect I’d say that long term fans will get the most out of this book. It was still an intense and gripping read though. Like I said, I think I’m going to have to make a point of checking out the TV series now...

Nine out of Ten

3 comments:

T.D. Newton said...

I just barely started watching the TV series myself (via Netflix), do don't feel *too* bad.

Adam Whitehead said...

You can get the mini-series (which precedes Season 1) on Amazon for about a fiver, so it's easy to check it out and see if you fancy it or not:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Battlestar-Galactica-Edward-James-Olmos/dp/B0001M1JFM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1239380932&sr=8-7

Michael Natale said...

What about Hulu? Don't know how far back they make episodes available but that might work.

I will say that the Miniseries and the first 2 seasons were absolutely brilliant. Edge of your seat, not a minute wasted brilliant. They are well worth seeking out no matter what you have to do to find them.

Unfortunately (for me anyway) it went slowly downhill after the end of season 2. I find I am not completely alone in this opinion, but I think we're probably in the minority.