October 21st, 2015 is the future date Marty McFly traveled to in the popular 1989 film, which is the perfect time to start publishing Back to the Future comics! This is a miniseries that tells stories of Marty and Doc as we remember them. It’s not quite a prequel nor is it a sequel, but is it good?
Back To The Future #1 (of 4) (IDW Publishing)
The first issue contains two stories set at different times. They are calling these “untold tales” although the afterword seems to suggest time travel has a way of erasing things and maybe these stories were erased too. The first story is about Marty meeting Doc for the first time years before the first film takes place, while the second is about Doc getting a job working for J. Robert Oppenheimer who would go on to make the atomic bomb.
Why does this comic book matter?
If you ever wanted to enjoy the characters as we remember them—not some quasi sequel where Marty hangs out with his younger self, but an honest to goodness story exploring and building on the two main characters, this is the comic for you. Who doesn’t want more stories with these characters that fleshes out who they are? Plus the film’s co-writer has written both stories and the script for one of them. Can’t go wrong there!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s fun to see both Marty in the first story and Doc in the second at a younger age. You get the sense that you are seeing events that made them who they are which helps you understand them a bit more.
Seeing Doc stressing out about getting a job, for instance, is a different look for the character who is almost always doing as he wishes when he wishes. Instead he’s young and needs some cash, which in turn makes him more relatable.
The Marty story reminds us he’s always been courageous, good hearted and the enemy of bullies everywhere. While this story only establishes the moment they met it is going to be continued in this series next month and it’ll be fun to see them get into sci-fi hijinx that don’t involve time machines.
Artists Brent Schoonover and Dan Schoening do a great job as well. Schoonover has a thicker line that gives the story a cartoony feel. The layouts are fun and feels like it’s a younger audience with an Archie feel. Schoening uses a thinner line that’s reminiscent of Rob Guillory’s work on Chew. While both are very different styles they are good in their own right and help separate the stories from each other.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Unfortunately the Marty-centric story is a bit too cute, written with some hokey dialogue. Some of the stuff he says is so obvious it’s laughable like, “Nobody calls me chicken” which we all know and love, but it comes off as forced.
Both stories in this issue adequately set things up, but there isn’t a lot to enjoy right off the bat. In the Marty story there’s a nice surprise at Doc’s house, but the next issue will most likely contain much more interesting elements. The Doc-centric story on the other hand is quite boring. It’s going somewhere, but it spends way too much time to get going.
Is It Good?
This is an okay start with the potential to be a great read.