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COMIC REVIEW: FTN reviews IDW’s Back To The Future #1

October 20th, 2015 by Phil Robinson Comments

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STORY BY: Bob Gale, John Barber, Erik Burnham
ART BY: Brent Schoonover, Dan Schoening
COVER BY: Brent Schoonover, Dan Schoening, Amy Mebberson
PUBLISHER: IDW

The date has been set for some time; Back To The Future fans may not be getting their hoverboards or 19th Jaws film this week, but we do get to see the brand new comic mini series from IDW advance the franchise’s potentially never-ending well of possibilities.

So here we are.

We find ourselves reflecting back on this big day, predicted in an 80s sci-fi classic. Are you annoyed that Pepsi only released those cool glasses as a limited edition cash grab? Good, us too, so let’s dive into some comics instead.

Back To The Future has remained a relevant cultural benchmark, even despite the fact that it has been around 15 years since the last time a new entry appeared on our cinema screens. That hasn’t stopped IDW though, with their brand new four part series getting kicked off at a rather fan-friendly time in 2015. We can only hope there’s enough plutonium in the tank to see us through.

This first run collects two stories together; “When Marty Met Emmett” – you don’t need a smartypants science degree to figure out what that one’s about – and “Looking For A Few Good Scientists.” In both cases Bob Gale oversees story duty, with Brent Schoonover (The Punisher, The Phantom) and Dan Schoening (Ghostbusters: Get Real) handling the art respectively.

We pick things up with Doc Brown finding himself in a nostalgic mood – aren’t we all at this point? – and the story is told; his story, that is, and how he came to the past, from the future, and seeks to go back… to the future…

Time travel makes my brain hurt, it really does.

(Continues after pic)

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Enter Marty into Doc’s story. The date is the 2nd of October, 1982. In relation to the date of the first film, (1985 for those that don’t want to fish out their DVDs.) this has some setting up to do, as McFly – while wailing on his guitar, as you’d expect – gets in deep with some bullies, and the repercussions find him heading to Doc’s place; all the boxes ticked so far, right?

It’s interesting to hear what other townsfolk have to say about The Doc when he’s not about, with even Marty knowing an urban legend or two about his antics. Though the kid is initially breaking into Doc’s house, his ingenuity soon finds him forgiven, and catchphrases a-plenty (you simply can’t read the words “GREAT SCOTT!” without hearing them in the iconic voice of Christopher Lloyd) sees the two obviously getting on like a house on fire. Einstein is introduced and it all seems like an origin story very by the books. As usual, Marty finds himself thrust into Doc’s antics, now being given the role of his assistant (best we don’t mention the fact that Marty was breaking in to steal something not two minutes prior).

Doc’s reflection on the events are certainly an interesting way to tell the story, though time moves on a little quick. If this had been a four part origin story (or even one filling the entirety of the first issue) then more interesting aspects could have been fleshed out. As it stands, we’re onto the next one, but we’re in the Back To The Future zone now.

The second tale, “Looking For A Few Good Scientists” is a change of pace. The year is 1943, And Doc Emmett is a young man (from his appearance and the setting of The California Institute of Technology, the chances are he’s pretty new to the Doc title). The good doctor has words with his superior; he’s suspicious of a “top-secret think tank” to do with the war effort and demands that he – and his dog, surely Einstein isn’t that old? – be involved at once. He may be young, but he’s as eccentric as we know him to be in his later years. Antics follow, as the Doc meets some military brass for an interview; again, you don’t need a time machine to tell that this won’t go well. But through sheer dumb luck – a staple in this series – he finds himself enlisted in The Manhattan Project; what could possibly go wrong?!

It’s hard to tell what’s next for The Doc here, or how it leads to his adventures with Marty, but a stand alone for him was probably the best solution, because outside of their initial meeting, just how many adventures can the two of them have before the first film kicks into gear?

The problem with having all of time to play around with is the possibility of a lack of focus. In the creators’ defence there isn’t any heresy in regards to the legacy of the films, this is just another story along the way for these characters, full of “Great Scott!” exclamations, hopefully delivering some genuine “Great Scott!” moments some time soon.

3 out of 5 Nerds

Check out the preview below…

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