Review – Back to the Future #2 (IDW Publishing)


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Publisher: IDW Entertainment
Released: 11th November, 2015


Following the pattern from the last one, this issue once again features two tales from Doc’s futurepastpresent that flesh out the main BttF timeline, framed by him ostensibly weaving the stories to his kids. It sounds corny, but it’s a genuinely cool story-telling device that makes you feel like there’s a point down the line where the series will start entering ‘sequel’ territory, which is a deliciously tantalising prospect.

As a whole, the most deeply satisfying part of this series thus far is quite how elegantly the stories are weaving themselves into the pre-existing story. Touching wood, there’ve not as yet been any moments where you’ll find yourself questioning your sanity as you attempt to shoehorn one in t’other in your headcanon, and that’s testament both to Bob Gale’s involvement in the series, as well as the lexicographic dexterity of Barber and Burnham. As for the two stories themselves…

The Doc That Never Was
Writers: Bob Gale, John Barber
Artists: Marcelo Ferreira, Diego Rodriguez

Now here’s a tale – one that we were promised from the get-go, and a burning question on many a fans’ mind: what on Earth happened to Doc’s house? It was always assumed that Doc burnt it down himself during one of his more ill-advised experiments, then – as you would if you were a mad scientist – moved into the out-building. Not so! Precisely why I’ll leave to your reading, but suffice to say this story reveals a long-suspected depth to Doc’s insanity.

The art from Ferreira and Rodriguez is decent enough – particularly the adaptation to the different time periods, as the story bounces energetically through them. But the real star of this particular show is Barber’s script – he absolutely nails Doc’s internal monologue, filled with rambling caveats and addendums, but always clambering towards a point. There’s also some authentic Russian in there – seriously, I ran it through Google Translate, and it’s not just grawlix…

Science Project
Writers: Bob Gale, Erik Burnham
Artist: Chris Madden

This second story is a bit of a lighter affair – not quite as insightful as The Doc That Never Was, but at the same time, it’s a snapshot of quite why Doc and Marty are friends, after issue one’s how of the same bent. It also tantalises us with quite how Doc came to select the Delorean – as opposed to, say, a Ferrari 308 GTS – as the vessel for the flux capcitor.

Burnham continues his stellar work with the script – as with Barber, when you read the dialogue, it sounds in the characters’ voices, nailing their respective verbal tics. Madden’s stylised art is breezy, effortlessly capturing the 1980s-ness of the series. Perhaps the only letdown is that the segment as a whole feels a little inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

Both the stories nail the aesthetics of the film – in terms of both look, and narrative feel – and it’s a real delight to welcome these characters back into active stories. Science Project’s fluffy nature sees it fundamentally being less interesting that the second segment of issue one, but given the quality on display, it feels incredibly harsh pointing this out. As a whole, this remains a must-read for anyone who calls themselves a fan of the films.

Rating: 4/5.

RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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