Friday, April 24, 2020

Back to the Future #1 (2015) Review

But Marty,  Everyone Calls You Chicken!

Written by: Bob Gale, John Barber and Erik Burnham
Art by: Brent Schoonover, David Witt, Kelly Kirkpatrick, Dan Shoening and Luis Antonio Delgado
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Publisher: IDW Publishing

I'm continuing my 80's retro Just for the Hell of it Mondays with a comic book based on my favorite 80's movie of all-time, Back to the Future.  I am a bit upset that I missed doing this on Back to the Future Day (10-21-16) when it came out, but we are a DC Comics site and this is an IDW book.  So, I may be late to the party, but I brought cocktail weenies and everyone loves cocktail weenies!  This mini series is not the full blown sequel I thought it was going to be, but instead, a collection of stories that fill in some of the cracks in the movies.  If that's not exciting enough, they are written by Bob Gale who was a writer on all three films as well as co-producing them and the animated series.  Because of Gale's involvement,  I was hoping the two stories in this premier issue had the Back to the Furture magic I love.  Well, do they and does it translate into a good comic book?  Let's find out...

The first story, "When Marty Met Emmet" is told by Doc Brown himself.  Doc is still in the Old West and trying to return to the future and his sons are getting a little bit curious about their crazy father.  The story starts as a  "...time for the boys to learn about their father" premise before landing squarely on the meeting of the two main characters of the franchise.  While that can be looked at as a little bit odd, it's a means to an end to get to a story I really wated to hear about.

It turns out that it all came down to rock-n-roll music...well, actually guitars...more specifically amplifiers...okay, it has to do with an interocitor tube.  While Marty is practicing his hot licks in his garage, Needles asks to "borrow" Marty's interocitor tube for a gig that night and after a struggle, the tube ends up broken.  While the funniest part of this story is who played Needles in the movies and how that ties in here, it all sets into motion a series of events that lead to the big meeting that are also fun, but a little heavy on certain tropes of the Back to the Future franchise.

Whether it's the overuse of "McFly" or the story crutch that is "chicken", it all seemed a little too forced. Gale and co-writer, John Barber, show how smart Marty is along the way and their Doc Brown was pretty spot on, but the actual meeting felt a little rushed and actually has Marty doing a weird about face as far as working for Doc goes.  The story and art (by Brent Schoonover) made this one feel more like an animated series story, which is not a bad thing at all, but I thought I should mention it.

The second story, "Looking for a Few Good Scientists" was scripted by Erik Burnham and is just part one of a continuing tale that puts Doc right in the middle of 1943 and the Manhattan Project. This one is a little more serious, but with Doc Brown involved, there is still plenty of room for hilarity.  While I believe that Burnham is starting what will become a "be careful what you wish" story, here Emmet is eager to get involved, more for the recognition of his intelligence than anything else.   

Burnham and artist Dan Shoening give such a perfect young Doc Brown that most of the story just had me laughing even during the more serious bits.  It's funny just to think of Doc being involved in the Manhattan Project and I want to see if he bumbles his way into being fired before he decides it's not for him.  

This second story was my favorite of the two and while it's not a story I was begging to see, it had the magic I mentioned in my introduction.

Bits and Pieces:

While this comic wasn't perfect, it did capture a bit of that old Back to the Future magic that I love so much.  The second story dealing with a young Doc Brown and the Manhattan Project was my favorite here, but the first one showing Doc and Marty's first meeting was good and easily would have fit into the animated universe.  This mini is a celebration of everything Back to the Future and it's off to a good start.


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