After their well-received work on Tiny Titans and Itty Bitty Hellboy, Art Baltazar and Franco join forces to tell another all-ages tale in the Battlestar Galactica universe. Li’l Battlestar Galactica mixes elements of the original 1978 show, like the costumes, design for the Cylons, and opening narration, with a few elements of the 2004 show, like Starbuck being female. There are some callbacks to the show, but most of the humor comes from the art, character dialogue, and sound effects. However, Li’l Battlestar Galactica does an excellent job setting up a premise of the show and introducing new fans to these characters. It has a simple, action-packed plot mixed with plenty of laughs and is an entertaining read for diehard fans of the original show or kids who weren’t even born when the 2004 re-imagining came out. Art Baltazar’s crayon-inspired art is even more detailed than usual, especially in the battle between the Vipers and Cylon Raiders.
Even though Li’l Battlestar Galactica’s characters are often relegated to joke delivery devices, Baltazar and Franco have a knack for putting at least one good joke per page. This comic is a hybrid between a “gag a day” comic strip and a sci-fi adventure story. Baltazar and Franco utilize all the tools at their disposal, including dialogue, sound effects, and art, to maximize art while still telling a good action-adventure story. For example, there is a dialogue free page introducing the Cylons using sound effects and art while also alluding to a previous comment made by Apollo. The running jokes (like the Cylons saying “Woo Woo”) can get a little stale, but they move the plot along and may slowly endear readers to this well-developed fictional universe. And beneath the weird conversations and space battles, Li’l Battlestar Galactica has a real heart to it. The crew of the Galactica have a real familial bond, and Adama has real paternal warmth even when he is soothing “baby Cylons”. His interactions with his son Apollo and the other younger crew members are touching as well.
The art of Li’l Battlestar Galactica still looks like it is done in crayon and is cute and cartoonish just like Art Baltazar’s previous work. This style is perfect for introducing new fans to the Battlestar Galactica universe, and the characters’ facial expressions are usually funnier than the words coming out of their mouths. (Although every conversation between Apollo and Starbuck is comic gold.) However, Baltazar has a good eye for detail and captures the wonder of space as well as those tight, tacky uniforms everyone wore in the original Battlestar Galactica TV show. Both the Cylon Raider and Viper ships as well as the Battlestar Galactica itself have well-defined lines and a metallic sheen to contrast with the darkness of space. Li’l Battlestar Galactica may have a few plot inconsistencies (like the Cylon ships coming out of nowhere) and focus on humor and action at the expense of characterization, but it captures the essence of Battlestar Galactica and has some great jokes and a unique visual style.