KARL KESEL talks BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: GODS & MONSTERS #4, on sale in February from Dynamite!

BYRON BREWER: Karl, everything has been building in a great crescendo toward the coming conclusion of this book in March. But in February, we have the penultimate issue #4 which sees chaos on a volcanic world. Can you help us set the table for this issue?

KARL KESEL: It’s never been fully explained how and where the Fleet gets its food. I imagine, simply out of practicality, they have a high-vegetable diet with limited meat. Still means they have to grow those vegetables, probably hydroponically. Still need nutrients. So during the course of this storyline, Galactica is “soil mining” a volcanic planetoid, primarily to gather nutrient-rich rock that can be processed for food production. Pretty dry stuff, except for the fact that it’s a VOLCANIC PLANETOID with rivers of lava and highly unstable, exploding terrain. It gives us a highly visual, highly dangerous setting for the penultimate issue.

BB: Of course, during our dialogue we have been talking about the amazing creation of Baltar’s Cylon Centurion. Is it a god or is it a monster? From the way the story has been going, will it be in this issue (#4) that we discover the truth of Baltar’s creation? Is it sitting in judgment? Can Starbuck and Apollo trust it?

KK: Not to be coy, but the question “can anyone trust Baltar’s Centurion?” is really central to the story, and I don’t want to tip my hand one way or the other.

BB: You have really done well with furthering the continuity of this re-imagined world of Battlestar Galactica, Karl. I know that five issues are not a lot for character development and detail. Is there any aspect of a supporting plot thread you would have liked to have fleshed out here? If so, what?

KK: Battlestar Galactica: Gods & Monsters is completely self-contained. There aren’t any elements introduced here that are left hanging— not that come to mind right now, at least. That said, I have a few ideas for OTHER storylines, should that opportunity present itself. One would even address a major hanging/forgotten/ignored plot thread from the show: the young boy war-orphan Boxey.

BB: If, in a next step to this re-imagining, you could take one of the characters from Gods & Monsters and spin him/her/it in an entirely new direction in the same “universe,” who would it be? Any idea for the series?

KK: The BSG universe is so tightly knit I can’t imagine any sort of spin-off. It certainly couldn’t include any of the major characters— their arcs and timelines are pretty much set in stone. It could be interesting to follow a ship that decides to leave the fleet— a group of people who try to survive without Galactica protecting them, and how they would deal with the Cylons. But that would only be a Battlestar Galactica story in that the complete absence of the Galactica would hang over the story like a shroud.

BB: It appears as if Alec Morgan has really captured the drama and desperation you were trying to instill in #4. How closely do you work with the artists on BSG: Gods & Monsters?

KK: I work as closely as possible. However, I’ll admit due to deadlines and other commitments, I’ve had less time to interact with Alec and Dan Schkade than I’d like. Dan is one of the nicest guys and most promising talents I’ve worked with in some time, and takes over full art duties on Gods and Monsters with issue #3. It’s wonderful to see him really stretch his skills in all directions.

BB: I know you are using the existing “world” of BSG for this series, but were there any other elements inspired by other properties you slid in for the storytelling? Such as, for example, the oft-pointed-out Frankenstein aspect of the Centurion. Any others?

KK: The only other touchstone I keep in the back of my mind is the Lost in Space Dr. Smith/Robot relationship. It informs the Baltar/Centurion relationship only in the very slightest— I’m pretty certain the Centurion has absolutely no respect or use for Baltar whatsoever— but I keep thinking if I ever have a chance for Baltar to call the Centurion “ you bevel-eyed boobie!” I’d do it!