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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Nostalgie de la Boue "Nostalgie De La Boue"
Battlestar Galactica: Eve of Destruction Prelude (Realm Press)
Written by J.C. Vaughn
Illustrated by Matt Busch
Cover by Matt Busch

An ancient evil reawakens.

Story Summary

As the story opens, a young man appears to have committed suicide by slitting his wrist. As he dies, Count Iblis' soul escapes the body, his memories of many lifetimes rushing back. He recalls Milton's quote "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." The name Baltar comes to him...but he doesn't know if it is the name of a person or a place. He sees visions of manipulating the Cylon leader and of war between the Cylons and humanity.

Finally, Count Iblis is returned to his former self after 7,000 yahrens cursed to live only in death, knowing his full power only during the fleeting moments between miserable, pain-filled lives. Now, he thinks, he is free to reap the harvest of his manipulation of the Cylons and force the humans to choose his will or be destroyed.


Didja Know? 

The BSG comic book in which this story is found, Battlestar Galactica: Eve of Destruction Prelude, was, as should be obvious from the name, intended to be the beginning of a mini-series that would have told the story leading up to the Cylon destruction of the 12 Colonies in "Annihilation". But Realm Press folded shortly after the publication of this issue and the story was never continued. Which is a shame, this prelude was a great set-up and I would love to see this story somehow completed (as well as the numerous other BSG storylines Realm left hanging when their titles disappeared from the new issues shelves of comic book stores!).

"Nostalgie de la boue" is a French phrase and roughly translates as "yearning for the mud". According to Merriam-Webster Online, it means "an attraction to what is unworthy, crude, or degrading."

Didja Notice? 

The story opens with the statement that it is the seventh millennium of mankind and that for most of the past 1,000 yahrens (years) the twelve Colonies of mankind have been at war with the Cylon Alliance.

The opening narrative also reveals that at about the same time the twelve Colonies were being settled by humanity, a malevolent being known as Count Iblis tricked the Cylon dictator, Sobekkta, into betraying his reptilian species and replacing them with soulless mechanical drones, dedicated to enforcing order on the galaxy. For his crime(s), the forces of Light cursed Iblis to live only in death, knowing his full power only during the fleeting moments between miserable, pain-filled lives.

A rectangular arch of negative verbs frames page 3, an indication of the freed soul's malevolence.

Page 3 seems to hint that Iblis has had glimpses of the future and also has a vague familiarity with Earth in his paraphrasing of Milton's quote, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." This is from the 17th century poet John Milton's epic blank verse poem Paradise Lost. Although Iblis know the name Milton, he is not even sure the being is a human.

On page 4, the name Baltar comes to Iblis, but he doesn't know if it is the name of a person or place. The man we know as Baltar fades in and out across the panels of the page and the background of the entire page seems to depict blood flowing across the cosmos.

Page 6 shows several familiar faces from the BSG universe and also two "hand" images: a human and reptilian hand reaching toward each other; and a human and robotic hand crossing flaming swords. Is this meant to suggest that humans and the original, reptilian Cylons were, at first, friends? And that later Iblis' influence on the Imperious Leader which led to the mechanization of the Cylons also brought the two galactic civilizations in conflict? How does the sword image relate to the fact that Cylon Centurions carry swords in addition to laser weapons? Why do the Cylons carry swords? They seem to like sharp implements; they also have a bayonet-like knife on the barrel of their laser rifles.

Page 7 gives us some glimpses of Cylon reptilian forms.
Cylon reptilian forms

On pages 7-9, Iblis is wearing a costume very similar to what we see him wearing in "War of the Gods".

Page 9 implies that Count Iblis has at last come to the end of his 7,000-yahren curse and been reborn as his former self. Iblis' thoughts further imply that he is now about to either start the human/Cylon conflict (1,000 yahrens in the past) or manipulate the Cylons into the false peace accord that leads into the attack that destroys the 12 Colonies in "Annihilation". Since the story suggests Iblis may have been reborn in different bodies over-and-over for millennia, possibly going forward and backward in time as well, it is hard to say exactly when it is that he has now been returned to his former self. 

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