Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review - Back to the Future #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Great Scott..."

Very few outside of time-travelers have any need for a DeLorean with a Mr. Fusion attached to it. There are some who find such an apparatus useful and one of those is Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Back to the Future #1 from IDW Publishing shines the light on the doctor himself. "When Marty Met Emmett" is written by Bob Gale, illustrated by Brent Schoonover, inked by David Witt, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Shawn Lee. "Looking for a Few Good Scientists" is written by Erik Burnham, illustrated by Dan Schoening, colored by Luis Antonio Delgado and lettered by Lee.

Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc's involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project.

Back to the Future has maintained a prominence since it first debuted decades ago, largely owing to the comedic interactions amongst its characters. Both Gale and Burnham ensure those exchanges maintain that sense of humor in Back to the Future #1, as the book keeps dialogue that's familiar. The first story is a telling of how Marty and Doc Brown actually met, which is welcome considering the unlikeliness of their pairing in the first film. The second looks more at Doc Brown's history as a "mad scientist" of sorts, reaching back to his higher education days. The fascinating thing about the entire book is how Marty and Doc are presented as almost complete opposites. Gale characterizes Doc as somewhat of a feared mad scientist while Marty keeps up the down-on-his-luck schtick; Burnham gives Doc more in the way of sheer intelligence.

While the two tales keep a constant thread in terms of looking at Doc Brown, the two stories don't have many similarities in terms of art style. Schoonover's approach in "When Marty Met Emmett" is much more whimsical, with the characters demonstrating expressions that are blatantly over-the-top. Witt and Fitzpatrick accent the eccentric style with primary colors and bold outlines defining characters. Schoening's work in "Looking for a Few Good Scientists" by contrast is much cleaner and sleeker. Delgado's colors fill the world with a sense of intellect befitting of a group of scientists. Neither style really strays too far from the general lighthearted tone of the stories they're illustrating.

Back to the Future #1 keeps the tone of the films running strong. Both stories fit perfectly within the Back to the Future universe and fill in some of the gaps that none of the three movies really tapped into. Gale and Burnham do great jobs with both of their stories, each of which really give more attention to Doc Brown. The artwork across both stories is entertaining and continues the feel-good approach taken by the movies. Back to the Future #1 will be worth checking out for fans of the movies looking to delve more deeply into the mythology behind the time-traveling DeLorean.

Back to the Future #1 is in stores October 21.

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