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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck (Part 1) "Starbuck" Part 1
Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck #1 (Dynamite)
Written by Tony Lee
Illustrated by Eman Casallos
Cover by Sean Chen

The untold tale of Starbuck's origin begins here, with the Cylon attack on the farming community of Umbra, 26 yahrens before the fall of the Twelve Colonies.

Story Summary

26 yahrens before the annihilation of the Twelve Colonies of Man, the Cylons attack the farm town of Umbra on Caprica. In between blasting Cylon Raiders, pilots Adama and Tigh chit-chat about Adama's wife's pregnancy with their third child, whom Ila wants to name Zac, but Adama wants to name Starbuck. As the battle continues, Captain Adama's Viper is shot down, to crash land in the Forest of Thorns. A centurion from a crashed Cylon Raider finds Adama and is about to shoot him point blank when a young boy smashes the Cylon with a large tree limb, allowing Adama to recover and blast the enemy combatant. Adama finds the boy is hurt and calls for a medevac. The boy is found to be amnesiac and Adama decides to call him Starbuck.

Six yahrens later, Starbuck is being raised by foster parents, who do care for the boy, but whose farmer lifestyle is not particularly amenable to him. After an argument with both his foster parents and Adama, Starbuck is feeling put off, and is challenged to a turbocycle race by Apollo, whom he barely knows. During the reckless race, Apollo almost flies off a cliff, but Starbuck saves him and the two become fast friends.

Three yahrens after that, Starbuck is a cadet in the Academy and is assigned to shadow the Warrior Wyler aboard the battlestar Pegasus. Wyler becomes the young man's role model, teaching him not only how to fly a Viper and be a Warrior, but also womanizing, gambling, drinking, and smoking.

Four more yahrens later, Starbuck is crushed when Wyler is killed in a Cylon ambush. He tries to forget his sorrows in a pyramid card game and wins a data chip that allegedly contains evidence that the defense net was deliberately dropped the day of the Cylon raid on Umbra. He later finds the chip to be corrupted and unreadable by the computer.


Didja Know?

Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck was a four-issue mini-series published by Dynamite Entertainment. It presents a sort-of origin of Starbuck, from his orphaning during the Cylon attack at Umbra to two years before the fall of the Twelve Colonies.

Didja Notice?  

The cover of this issue by Sean Chen depicts four women hanging on Starbuck. The two in the middle are obviously Athena and Cassiopeia, from their hair and uniforms. The woman on his left, with four eyes and two mouths is one of the so-called Android Sisters, or a Tucana, from the singing group Starbuck was interested in at the casino on Carillon in "Deathtrap". The woman on his right may be Lt. Brie, a Viper pilot first seen in "Into the Void".

This issue opens in the Colonial yahren 7322, with the Cylon attack on the Caprican farming community of Umbra. This date as the year of the attack on Umbra was originally stated in "The Man with Nine Lives". The narration box on page 1 also states it is 26 yahrens before the Battle of Cimtar (the Cylon attack that began the fall of the Twelve Colonies in "Annihilation"); this corresponds with the date of 7348 for the Battle of Cimtar assumed in the BSG Timeline on the Battlestar Wiki, based on Starbuck having been said to have become orphaned at about the same age as Boxey, as also mentioned in "The Man with Nine Lives". The characters' ages are presumed from the actors' ages at the time: Noah Hathaway as Boxey was 7 and Dirk Benedict as Starbuck was 33.

During the battle of Umbra, Captain Adama requests backup from the battlestar Rylon. Writer Tony Lee admits in an interview on (the forum posting has since been deleted) that this was a spellcheck error and should have been Rycon. The Rycon was Commander Kronus' former ship in the Fourth Colonial Fleet before it was destroyed during the Battle of Cosmora Archipelago (as stated in "Take the Celestra").

On page 1, Adama speculates the Cylons are hitting Umbra to take out the foodstuffs supplied to the rest of Caprica by the community. 

   The Vipers seen throughout the mini-series are mistakenly based on the Mark II Vipers seen in episodes of BSG2000, not the Vipers of BSG70 as they should be. During the battle of Umbra, a Viper version with two tailfins on the right and left engine pods is seen. In the later yahrens of the story, the Mark II itself, from BSG2000, is depicted.
   The Cylon Raiders seem to be exactly the same as ever, whether past or "present"! Don't the Cylons innovate themselves?
Viper Mark II erroneous Viper Viper
Viper Mark II from BSG2000 Viper design in Starbuck mini-series Viper from BSG70

At this time, Adama's wife, Ila, is pregnant with Zac. Adama reveals to Tigh that he wants to name the boy "Starbuck", while Ila prefers "Zac". Adama soon after names the amnesiac boy he rescues from the Thorn Forest, "Starbuck".

Adama's Viper is forced down in the Forest of Thorns. This is where the young orphaned boy who becomes known as Starbuck was found after the Cylon attack on Umbra, as stated in "The Man with Nine Lives".

This story reveals that the 7-year old boy who becomes Starbuck saved Captain Adama's life from a Cylon centurion in the Thorn Forest.

The doctor who examines young Starbuck states the boy will likely be an amnesiac due to feedback from the Cylon he attacked affecting his frontal lobe. This explains why Starbuck does not remember his parents or his real name in "The Man with Nine Lives".

The doctor remarks that almost 3000 children have been found so far in the forest, most having lost their families in the Cylon attack.

Artist Eman Casallos does a good job of drawing the young Captain Adama's face as a cross between that of actors Lorne Green (Adama) and Richard Hatch (Apollo).

Page 8 opens 6 yahrens after the battle of Umbra, making it 7328.

Adama, now a flight-major, is seen sporting a beard, setting a precedent for some depictions later in his life where he also has grown a beard (such as "Memorial", War of Eden, and Galactica 1980). The rank of "flight-major" seems to be made up for this story; on our Earth, there is a British Royal Air Force rank of "flight-lieutenant", but no "flight-major" that I've been able to find.

On pages 8-9, we get our first (non-decimated) look at the Adama home on Caprica. (We saw a bit of the ruins of the house in "Annihilation", as Commander Adama sifts through the debris.)

The motorcycles ridden by young Starbuck and Apollo are very similar to the turbocyles seen in episodes of Galactica 1980.
Starbuck's turbocycle Galactica 1980 turbocycle
Starbuck's turbocycle Galactica 1980 turbocycle

Arguing with his adoptive parents on the merits of being a farmer versus being a Colonial Warrior on page 10, Starbuck tells them, "We don't know what's in my blood, and we never will." Ironically, it will be a genetic analysis of his blood that finally proves to Cassiopeia that Starbuck is the son of Chameleon in "The Man with Nine Lives".

On page 11, Apollo challenges Starbuck to a turbocycle race up the side of Mount Colicos. "Colicos" is the last name of the actor who played Baltar in the original series (John Colicos).

On page 12, Apollo refers to a Cylon centurion as a toaster. This is a slang term borrowed from BSG2000; the term was never used in the original TV series.

Page 16 opens another 3 yahrens later, with cadet Starbuck stationed aboard the Pegasus, making it 7331. The Pegasus, of course, was the lost battlestar that reappeared in "The Living Legend" two-part episode. 

Aboard the Pegasus, Starbuck is assigned to shadow a pilot called Lt. Wyler. Wyler's face, to me, looks like it was based on actor Billie Dee Williams (best known as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars films)!
Lt. Wyler Lando Calrissian
Lt. Wyler Lando Calrissian

This issue reveals that Lt. Wyler is the flight instructor Starbuck spoke of in "The Young Lords" who told him "A Viper pilot only flies three fighters–the one he trains in, the one he escapes from, and the one he dies in." He also seems to be the major role model Starbuck adopted as a Warrior, introducing him to fumerellos, drinking, pyramid, gambling, and womanizing.

Page 18 opens another 4 yahrens later, making it 7335, as Starbuck graduates from the Academy and is assigned to the Galactica, along with classmates Boomer and Jolly. Then-Captain Wyler is reported dead the same day, his patrol ambushed by Cylon Raiders the day before, leaving no survivors.

On pages 18 and 21, Apollo is erroneously depicted wearing his laser on his right hip. He's supposed to wear it on his left. In fact, it's erroneously depicted on his right throughout the mini-series.

On the last page of the issue, the Galactica's name on the ship appears to be lit from within! This was never the case in the TV series.
Galactica ID

Unanswered Questions

Who is the commander of the Pegasus during Starbuck's time aboard with Wyler? Is it Cain? We're never told.

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