Well, it has happened. We are now living in a time where Back to the Future II did not reach. It’s sad, humbling and kind of exciting, but that doesn’t mean Back to the Future‘s story is over! We weren’t totally blown away with issue #1, but how is #2? Is it good?
Back to the Future #2 (IDW Publishing)
This issue delivers two stories written by original Back to the Future writer Bob Gale. The first is titled The Doc Who Never Was which is co-written and drawn by John Barber. The second is Science Project drawn by Chris Madden.
Why does this comic book matter?
This is one of the most successful science fiction trilogies ever and it’s held up incredibly well. Because it has held up so well, there is a gold mine of stories to craft. It just requires the right finesse, and who better to tease new stories out than Bob Gale? These stories exist as quasi-alternate timelines (or are they?) type tales. Either way, we’re dealing with the Doc and Marty that we know and love.
Doc loves to have multiple TVs…learned it from a friend.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Doc in the old west who of course is from the future. He has two boys with him so one might assume this is post-Back to the Future III. From here he tells us a story of one of his first time travel inventions. The fact that Gale is delivering a story about the time travel device that precluded the Delorean is exciting stuff. Once again the government is involved in this story and it’s nice to see that Doc wasn’t always just a shut-in. Gale explains the time travel device very well and it’s fun to think about how this was one step in the right direction. This story also tackles the Cold War era in fun science fiction terms and there’s a nice payoff as far as the famous garage Marty eventually blows the speakers out on.
The second story is fun, but not as intertwined in the mythos. This one deals with Marty requiring a science experiment for school and he needs it today. Gale uses this story to review a number of failed inventions by Doc. It’s a light and fluffy story that ends with an important moment in Doc’s eventual creation of the time machine.
Both artists do a fantastic job in each story. Madden’s style is very cartoony and energetic which helps pump up the moment. The comedic aspects of this story surely would have fallen flat with a more detailed and less cartoony style. Meanwhile, Barber’s style is stricter when it comes to detail, especially with backgrounds. This aids the story as far as the historical implications of Doc’s events. I also quite like how Barber draws Doc as he is much younger looking.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Again, this series is focused more on smaller moments that aren’t necessarily groundbreaking to the films. In a lot of ways the series and this issue don’t seem to be taking big enough chances, but maybe that’s to avoid ruining the films.
Is It Good?
This issue certainly does a better job feeling more important to the films than the first issue did. It’s fun to read if you love the movies as tidbits are revealed that influence how we view the films. Recommended for diehard fans and science fiction fans alike!