Back to the Future #1 Review

Written by: Bob Gale, John Barber and Erik Burnham

Art by: Bret Shoonover and Dan Schoening

Publisher: IDW

Marty Mcfly has finally landed on October 21st 2015! We may have had to take the long way around, but we’re finally all here. Strangely though, Marty has decided to land not in the DeLorean, but a new comic series courtesy of IDW. It’s an amazing stroke of coincidental luck that the comic managed to land on such an iconic day for fans of the series, one they’ve been waiting 30 years for, but has it been worth the wait? The short answer is a huge yes. (I couldn’t work in a “Great Scott!” pun I’m afraid; jeez this is heavy.)

When returning to a franchise as complete as Back to the Future, there are some huge problems involved. Where so you go when all the plot threads are wrapped up? Do you continue with the main series (the cartoon adaption says no) or do a prequel? Can you match the quality of the original series? If not, why bother? Thankfully, the first issue of this new comic feels both authentic to the style of the original movies, helped in no small part by original screenwriter Bob Gale co-writing the book, while also telling a story worth telling. It’s funny, full of heart, and purely enjoyable.

The comic contains two stories, the first featuring Doc Brown recounting his and Marty’s first meeting (I can already hear the fans screaming with glee) and a back-up story focusing on Doc’s past and his work on the Manhattan Project (that screaming is getting deafening now). Like I said, were this handed off to just any writer, it’d feel insincere; however, the team assembled here really get the material and what makes it so good. There are the charming little references to the original movies, but the main heart of the book comes from how well it captures the wit and spirit of the trilogy. I audible laughed quite a few times and got quite involved with the story as it was unfolding. The main story is a really cleverly-spun tale which perfectly captures Marty and Doc’s characters; I could really hear their voices while I read it. It was the perfect start and let me know right away this was going to be something good. The meeting between two sci-fi legends is super well done and should satisfy all fans. There’s quite a nostalgic tone too; however, the writers never lean on it, instead choosing to make good story telling the key ingredient to their script.

It’s a terrific done-in-one story capturing the perfect recipe for a Back to the Future story.

The back-up story too features a lot of really cool mythos building, with young Doc Brown being pretty much exactly what you’d expect. While short, the story contains a lot of laughs at the eccentric character of Doc and his attempts to seem normal. The art is bursting with character; every bit of Doc’s youthful energy translates to the page and brings so much life to the short story. Unlike the main tale, this back-up story looks to continue throughout the mini-series, which should provide a strong reason to keep coming back every issue.

Really, my only issue with the book is the art in the main story. It’s by no means bad, though it is a little generic. While the back-up went for a stylized look, the main feature focuses more on capturing the look of the characters. Again, this isn’t much of a bad thing as it adds to the authentic presentation of the characters, though it’s a little disappointing that it doesn’t try to capture the same level of charm or humor the script has. Ironically, it even looks a little old fashioned to be set in the 1980s. I feel the art would be a perfect if it was depicting Hill Valley in the 50s, as it has a little bit of a golden/silver age style to it. It’s perfectly serviceable and not at all a turn off, but it wouldn’t have been my first choice.

Overall though, Back to the Future #1 is a love letter to fans of the series. It has all of the charm, wit, and heart of the original trilogy while fleshing out lots of cool details  that fans would love to see. If you’ve ever enjoyed the film series or been affected by it in anyway, then you need to check out this series. It’s the perfect way to travel back to the story of the original trilogy and feels like revisiting some old friends who haven’t changed a bit.