Battlestar Galactica: Zarek 1

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Issue 1
Issue 1
An issue of the Dynamite series.
Issue No. 1
Writer(s) Brandon Jerwa
Penciller(s) Adriano Batista, Aries Mendosa
Inker(s)
Colorist(s)
Letterer(s) Simon Bowland
Editor(s)
Cover Artist(s) Stjepan Sejic, Adriano Batista, Dean White
Adaptation of
Published December 20, 2006
Collects
Collected in
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Publisher's summary

Just in time for the 2nd half of Season 3 airing on SCI FI Channel in October! Hot on the heels of the best-selling, all-new Battlestar Galactica comic book series from Dynamite Entertainment comes a new Battlestar Galactica mini-series starring Tom Zarek, the loyalty-testing revolutionary played by original series actor Richard Hatch.

Revealing content from Zarek's own novel "The Revolution Within," issue #1 tells the untold origin of Tom Zarek and the Sagittaron colony. Our four issue series shows Tom's beginnings as he grows up in a loving home amidst a slave state and alongside a Cylon work force -- all in the shadow of the First Cylon War. It's through these humble - and tragic - beginnings that he becomes the man we see in Battlestar Galactica today and this is where you'll learn all about him!

Plot summary

Sagittaron is a colony extremely rich with natural resources, but without much influence over the other Twelve Colonies. The ruling cabinet of the world decides to use its resources to change this. Over a period of generations, the government increases control of production, industry, and agriculture, driving up the materials it supplies to the other colonies but reducing its population to literal slavery. As a mild spirit of reform begins to emerge, the Sagittaron government introduces the first Cylons as the answer to its problems, emancipating the slave workers. However, outside of butlering for the rich, the Cylons make few inroads to the workforce, and the freed slaves are forced back to their own jobs, their situation the same in all but name.

Jerome Randall Zarek and Karen Sue Zarek are a young married couple working as nitrassium miners outside Sagittaron City. They were both slaves that were freed, only to be forced back into their old jobs despite the promise of Cylon liberation. Despite this, they manage to live relatively happy lives - until one day, their plans to spend an evening playing cards with friends are overturned by the mine foreman's announcement that Cylon rebels have declared war and attacked Caprica.

A year into the war, the government still refuses to admit it's a war, referring to it as "hostilities." The Colonial government launches a "re-population incentive program" where they will pay each couple that has children. Despite Karen's hesitation, the second anniversary of the war's start sees the birth of Thomas J. Zarek.

When Zarek is aged two, Karen develops a sickness due to nitrassium exposure and is unable to work. Jerome works twice as hard to support his family; his friends in the processing plant launch a labor strike to protest the government's brutality, but he is forced to abandon his friends effort to make enough money to keep his family alive.

Zarek's first memory comes at age three, when his family takes a day and goes on a visit to Sagittaron City - the same day Cylon forces invade the city but are driven away by Colonial Marines.

By the age of ten, the Cylon War is apparently over and Zarek is in school. When a military recruiter arrives, Zarek asks why anyone would want to join the service. The labor strikes during the war have served some good, as the miners only need to work four days a week. However, there is still a strict curfew in effect, and the government has refused to give Karen any more of the medicine she needs. Jerome desperately tries to steal some from a pharmacy after curfew, but is caught by a Colonial Marine and killed when the soldier mistakenly believes that he is reaching for a gun.

The Colonial Military admits "some degree of error" in the shooting, and Karen recieves a small pension and a lifetime supply of medicine. Combined with a surprise life insurance plan Jerome had negotiated, she and Tom are able to move out of Sagittaron City to a suburb, Perseus Village. Karen starts a small independent trade union, Citizens for Sagittaron Labor Reform, that gradually becomes a huge, world-famous organization that sends her into direct conflict with Devon Morehead, the Sagittaron Minister of Labor. Tom is enrolled in a private academy but expelled when, after becoming enraged at the revisionist history being taught, denounces his teacher and burns his history book, to the delight of his classmates. Karen tells him that he needs to choose his battles, and has him join her at the union.

Zarek takes an increasing interest in his mother's job and becomes her aide, taking on more and more of her responsibilities. Her health deteriorates, but she does not die natually; at a rally, Karen is assassinated by secuirty guards. At his parent's monument, Zarek vows that he will avenge them, and that his revolution has just begun.

Analysis

  • The Sagittarons depicted in this comic differs from Sagittarons depicted in "The Woman King". Sagittarons in the series canon are obstinately pacifistic to a fault (particularly on New Caprica which succumbs to Cylon rule) but are also against medical practices, including the use of drugs. With a few notable exceptions, such as Tom Zarek and Anastasia Dualla, the behavior of most Sagittarons fits in with other Colonials' view of them as a tribe. Sagittarons are also noted to be religious and believe in teachings and concepts derived from the Sacred Scrolls and Sagittaron itself is the poorer colonies in terms of wealth; wealth in the comic-version of Sagittaron is distributed among the Labor Ministry, local government, politicians, and other corporations while the workers live in near destitution on meager paychecks handed out by the Sagittaron Labor Ministry.

Noteworthy Dialogue

Tom Zarek: I couldn't keep you safe. I couldn't protect you the way you protected me. I'm so sorry for that. I promise you this: your deaths -- your lives -- will not be in vain. The system is corrupt. Someone needs to expose it. Someone needs to repair it. We need... we need a revolution. And that revolution starts now.

Notes

Official Statements

As for MY perception of Tom Zarek, I think that the character is really well-crafted because you have to sort of decide for yourself if he's a "good guy" or "bad guy", and not because it's necessarily a mystery. His actions and decisions are really polarizing and divisive, and I've tried to bring that to the book - there will be some people who agree with him and some who won't. At the end of the day, though, you are certain of ONE thing - Zarek believes he's right and he has that strength of conviction that makes him such a compelling character.[1]
  • Jerwa's response to a question regarding whether or not Zarek's backstory was inspired by a true person:
Well, Che Guevara comes to mind, and I went back to look at different 'revolutionaries' and 'terrorists' throughout history. I even spoke to David Weddle about the character, but ultimately decided that there wasn't one particular figure who embodied Zarek, and decided to blaze ahead without trying to subscribe to such a notion.[1]
I'm looking forward to learning more about my history and backstory. I'm amazed that they decided to do a story on my character and I'm truly humbled and appreciative.[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Live Q&A with Brandon Jerwa and Richard Hatch (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). (5 January 2007). Retrieved on 21 June 2007.
  2. Maida, Jerome (8 January 2007). She's just MARVEL-ous (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 1 July 2007.


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