Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train #1 Review

Written by: Bob Gale & John Barber

Art by: Megan Levens

Published by: IDW Publishing

Back to the Future fans are one of the few groups today that have had the pleasure of not only new content in recent years, but the luck that Hollywood hasn’t released a terrible reboot that misses the charm of the original. This tradition carries on with Tales from the Time Train, a new series from IDW that explores the adventures Doc and Clara went on after the events of the third film. Fans will recall that last shot with the steampunk time train floating by while Doc Brown gave another fun timey-wimey speech to Marty and introduced viewers to the idea that not only did he survive, but he embarked on a very new and exciting adventure: starting a family.

Oh, also sci-fi time travel adventure, but that’s all old hat by this point in his life.

This book opens with Doc taking his wife and kids on an educational trip to some steampunk future world and a bit of zany mayhem ensues when Roman soldiers explode through a wall and more junk happens. I say this only because it left me very unimpressed. The storytelling is messy as the dialog bubbles almost seem to be from a different story than the one being told through the artwork. Doc and his boys have mild debates of philosophy while Spartans chase them on horseback, trampling over robots, and while everything is explained at the end it’s not an easy read.

However, I will admit this seems like a deliberate choice for the first issue of the comic. The mess serves to introduce and tease at what may be coming in future issues in a more tangible form, and that does leave me wanting more. Especially with the issue’s cliffhanger as the family train arrives in the year 1939.

I won’t spoil specifics, but as lukewarm as this issue left me I am very much looking forward to #2 of Time Train. I don’t know that this issue is a must-read, even for fans, but depending on how well #2 stands on its own we’ll see.