THE COMMENTARY TRACK: "Battlestar Galactica" Ghosts" #1

I have to admit, I was feeling like the king of the Galactica hill for a while there: after making my franchise debut with the "Zarek" miniseries, I moved on to a "Battlestar Pegasus" one-shot and the 12.5-issue epic "Season Zero." Drunk with power (and maybe a touch of Patron Silver tequila), I had come to believe that my powers in this particular arena were well and truly without equal.

That all came to a screeching halt when Dynamite Entertainment publisher Nick Barrucci told me he wanted me to pitch a new Galactica project that came with one very particular caveat: the story had to be something new. Something...original.

I was suddenly terrified. Up until that point, I'd had the luxury of dealing with the beloved characters and situations from the TV show. Being asked to concoct something outside of those (admittedly quite enjoyable) boundaries was a real challenge. So, I sat down and started to think about it for a while, and six hours later the pitch was done. The rest, as they say, is history.

"Ghosts" is a four-issue miniseries that follows a group of civilians and their ship, the Orion, as they find themselves thrust into the middle of the Cylon Holocaust that kicked off the television series. These fine folks soon come face-to-face with the Ghost Squadron, a military Special Forces team who conduct their missions in special Stealth Vipers, Gunships and Raptors. Things get tense from that point on, as these two disparate groups have to learn to work together to survive the possible eradication of the human race.

Oh, and did I mention they might have human model Cylons in their midst?

Let's start with the fabulous cover. Dennis Calero delivered the goods on all four issues, and also did some of the preliminary design work for the series. He's a fantastic artist and a very thoughtful guy, so it was a real pleasure to have him onboard. We fell madly in love and are currently looking for a new project to collaborate on.

Jonathan Lau is rocking the interior art for this series, and I just love what he brings to the table. We had worked together on the "Pegasus" book, and I hope we'll be reunited in Galactica-land sooner rather than later.

As you can see, it all starts with the Cylons. Fans of the show will recognize a Hybrid here; they were a more recent addition to the mythology, and I was dying to put them to work. Having a third perspective was really fun to play with, especially since you can pack Hybrid dialogue full of cool imagery, allusions, foreshadowing and secret messages!

I had originally intended to make "Ghosts" this sprawling epic that would hopefully give the first TV miniseries a run for its money in terms of scope and breadth. Luckily, I came to my senses and decided instead to keep it simple in its own complicated way. Not everything has to be amazingly huge, y'know. This story has its big moments, but it's also a character piece in a claustrophobic setting.

The captain of the Orion is Arvin Tyler. The woman he's in bed with is Teresa Manning, a version of the Cylon also known as D'Anna Biers. The woman who comes to the door is Sola Tyler. Do you think she has the last name as Arvin because they're brother and sister? No? Hmmm. Oh, and does Teresa Manning know she's a Cylon? So many questions...

Are those re-wired Cylon Centurions at your helm, or are you just happy to see me? I thought this would be a cool bit of business, and Jonathan came through with the awesomeness, as always.

I suggested some real-world actors to "play" these new characters, at least in terms of inspiration without actually drawing their likenesses. Arvin was based off my main man Don Cheadle, Sola by Penelope Cruz, and Ronnie Dyson a more youthful, rakish Jon Stewart.

Arvin Tyler visits his father Arco in the extended care nursing home where he stays. Arco suffers from dementia, and their time together is often a bit difficult for Arvin. He may have some questionable character traits, but Arvin is a good man at his core. As far as original characters that I've created go, Arvin is probably one of my all-time favorites. It was hard to let him go at the end of this series.

Meet Captain Alexander Chen and the Ghost Squadron, currently assigned to the Battlestar Therion. Note the pair of two-seater Viper Gunships flanking the Raptor; they hadn't existed before this series, but I dare you to challenge their coolness.

Anyone? No? That's what I thought.

In an effort to avoid giving away the farm when it comes to the twists and turns in the plot, we're going to jump ahead a bit and enjoy Mr. Lau's fine work on this page. The Ghosts are deployed and about to jump into the thick of things.

This is the Colonial Fleet equivalent of one of those low-speed police chases you always see on "When Low Speed Chases Attack" and the 87,000 shows just like it that run almost endlessly every weekend on Spike TV and G4. How would you like to check your rearview and see these guys on your tail?

Too bad none of these poor bastards know that the Cylons are about to make life in the Twelve Colonies something quite a bit less than idyllic and peaceful.

Oh, frak! Looks like you're all getting toasters for Christmas!

I hope you've enjoyed this look at "Battlestar Galactica: Ghosts" #. This series was a blast to write, but I was almost unusually sad to see it end. I remain humbled by the opportunity to play in the sandbox of one of my all-time favorite TV shows. The show itself might be coming to an end, but I have a feeling the Dynamite comics will live on for a good, long while. As I write this, I'm not sure when or if I'll be doing more Galactica work in the days to come, but I do have some big ideas, should the opportunity present itself.

As always, I know I speak for everyone involved with this and the other Galactica books when I say "THANK YOU VERY FRAKKING MUCH" for your ongoing support of our work. So say we all!

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